Nicholas Galitzine first gained attention when he played Prince Charming opposite Camilla Cabello in the 2021 film musical adaptation of “Cinderella.” The project launched a career that seems to have been going non-stop ever since.
In “Purple Hearts,” a romantic drama from Netflix, Galitzine played a troubled Marine who falls for an aspiring singer (Sofia Carson) after they marry in order to get military benefits. It became a bona fide hit, with Netflix claiming it was the streamer’s third-most watched film of 2022.
Now, Galitzine, 28, can be seen in Amazon Prime’s “Red, White & Royal Blue,” director Matthew López’s feature adaptation of the bestselling LGBTQ romance novel of the same name.
Galitzine stars in the movie as another prince — but this time it’s England’s Prince Henry, an heir to the throne who falls in love with Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez), the son of the U.S. president (Uma Thurman).
The movie features love, sex and political intrigue.
For the record, Galitzine identifies as straight. “I think it’s a very sensitive subject,” Galitzine says about authentic casting on this week’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast. “I think the important thing for me was to let Matthew know that I loved who Henry was as a person, and I empathized with him as a character, and I just wanted to try and deliver as honest a performance — never a caricature — as I could.”
López, who is gay, makes his directorial debut with the film (he also co-wrote the script) after winning multiple awards — including the Tony for best play — for his epic AIDS drama “The Inheritance.” “I think we were just always on the same page with trying to create a very textured, vulnerable-feeling person in this quite poppy and fun world that that ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ is at times,” Galitzine says. “But look, there’s always trepidation. I can only hope that fans really will appreciate my performance. I put a lot into Henry in trying to make him feel textured and real, and so that’s all I can really offer at the end of the day.”
The R-rated film doesn’t shy away from Henry and Alex’s sex life. An intimacy coordinator helped the leading men get as comfortable with each other as possible “because these people, they fall very in love, but then at times their appetite for each other is voracious and animalistic,” Galitzine says. “I think there’s nothing worse when you see people who you don’t feel are connecting.”
Galitzine was the first to be cast and says he had chemistry reads with a “bunch of different actors” but he knew “immediately” that Perez was the one. “I knew we were going to be mates,” Galitzine says. “I think we both have a very dry sense of humor. He’s very British in the way that he has a mocking sense of humor where he’s not afraid to take the piss, as we say, out of someone.”
Prince Henry is often compared to Prince Harry. Galitzine believes that’s because “other than Diana maybe, [Harry is] our only reference as this rogue monarch figure, especially in recent memory.” He adds, “I think it was just always more complex like that. We just wanted to create someone new, who felt like they could exist within the realm of the English monarchy but also the ever-changing landscape of sexual fluidity and sexual identity in the public eye. We’re seeing now more than ever people in the public eye feeling more confidence to come out.”
Sex is certainly at the center of “Mary & George,” the upcoming historical drama series starring Julianne Moore as Mary Villiers and Galitzine as her son, George. Based on a true story, Mary molds George into a Renaissance man who seduces King James I as well as other men and women to gain power and influence in the 1600s. “George was a fluid man and sex was his power,” Galitzine explains. “It was how he dominated people, it was how he pulled his family from the edge of poverty and oblivion into being one of the most powerful families in England.”
The work also came with pain: Galitzine broke his ankle while completing a stunt in 17th century style shoes. “I actually just had to run off out of camera shot, and these old buildings that we shot in because they’re so old, the grip on the floor is nonexistent. And in the shoe, the heel slipped to the side and my ankle went a full 90 degrees,” he recalls.
Before going to work on “Mary & George,” Galitzine wrapped “The Idea of You.” Based on a novel said to be inspired by Harry Styles fan fiction, Galitzine plays Hayes Campbell, a pop star who falls for an older single mom, played by Oscar winner Anne Hathaway. While Galitzine’s character is heavily tattooed like a certain real-life pop star, he says that he and director Michael Showalter were careful not to make him a full-fledged Styles impersonator. “We didn’t want it to just seem like some sort of shoddy façade, shoddy outline. … I don’t think we ever would have captured Harry’s essence because it’s so particular. I think we decided to steer in a different direction,” Galitzine says. “With Jackie Demeterio, who is the costume designer on the project, we definitely had that conversation where I came in and we tried on all of the bell-bottom jeans and everything and then decided to steer away. It was probably for the best.”
This interview was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike began. You can listen to it in its entirety on “Just for Variety” above or wherever your find your favorite podcasts.