The Grab-and-Kiss in Red White & Royal Blue and Beyond

If the same stuff turned everyone on, then for one thing, the San Fernando Valley’s vibrant porn industry would be a lot less vibrant — as would the world in general. That said, there are maybe some commonalities across the human experience that most people would say, objectively, are pretty hot — as one example, that moment in a great romantic film when one person, overcome with passion, pulls another person towards them for a kiss that feels somehow inevitable, and yet also like a delicious surprise.

It’s a moment I’ve dubbed the “grab-and-kiss” over the years, as a fan of romantic movies in general and this trope in particular. It’s impossible to remember the first one I personally saw, but entire generations have been defined by these moments, whether it be the passion of An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)’s final smooch or The Notebook (2004) creating a devoted legion of Ryan Gosling fans. TV is also rich with these moments, from Jim and Pam on The Office and Logan and Veronica on Veronica Mars; it’s a trope where immediate examples might not come to mind, but you know it as soon as you see it.

And executing one, according to Red, White & Royal Blue director Matthew Lopez, isn’t as easy as you might think.

How a Grab-and-Kiss Is Made

The new Prime Video film Red, White & Royal Blue is an R-rated romantic comedy about an unlikely love affair between the First Son of the United States and a Prince of England. Based on the book by Casey McQuiston, the story begins with Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) being forced to do press together after an embarrassing international incident, in order to prove that they don’t hate each other. Of course, their enforced time together stokes a brimming cauldron of sexual tension that overflows during a big New Year’s party being hosted by Alex.

In the film, Henry ducks out of the party just after midnight, and Alex follows him to find out what’s bothering him. Eventually, Henry gives into long-suppressed temptation, and strides forward to embrace Alex with a grab-and-kiss — capturing the passion that’s been building between them, a textbook example of how powerful the maneuver can be in practice.

It was important for Henry to be the grab-and-kiss-er in this scenario, Lopez says, because “there’s something very striking about a character such as Henry, who has spent up to that point in the film being very buttoned down and seemingly in control of his urges in that moment, losing the ability to control his urges and give into the desire to kiss Alex.”