Crossing the pond! Nicholas Galitzine may be a Brit, but he plays soon-to-deploy marine Luke Morrow in the Netflix film Purple Hearts — a role he hopes will open people’s eyes to the true bravery of American soldiers.
“I think my hope is that they feel represented in the right way and that they feel like they’re humanized in the right way,” the England native said during an interview with Movie Guide in August 2022. “I think oftentimes, you can be very dismissive of the sacrifices, and just the sheer bravery it takes to kind of put yourself on the line, your life on the line, the ripple effect it has on your family, how difficult it must be to have loved ones constantly in danger, in harm’s way. I hope we provide them with a textured portrayal of their lives.”
The film — which was released by the streaming service in July 2022 — follows an aspiring musician and type 1 diabetic (Sofia Carson) as she agrees to a marriage of convenience with Luke (Galtizine) in order to help pay for her health insurance costs. While the two initially butt heads due to their opposing political beliefs, they eventually form a close-knit bond when Luke is sent home after being severely injured in battle.
While the romantic drama quickly became one of Netflix’s most-watched films in history, there was also significant viewer backlash in regards to potentially problematic themes woven throughout the story — especially in regards to misogynistic and racist undertones.
“The way Purple Hearts isn’t even subtle but blatantly anti arab anti hispanic racist misogynistic AND pro military propaganda but ppl are frothing at the mouth bc enemies to lovers,” one social media user tweeted of the plot. “YEAH THEY’RE ENEMIES BCS HE’S A PRO GUN CONSERVATIVE SOLDIER AND SHE’S A LATINA LIBERAL.”
For Galitzine, however, the heart of the film was about bringing two people from opposite viewpoints together and allowing them to find common ground in ways that help them grow as individuals.
“There is this socio-political message beneath it — especially in the U.S. which has sort of been this polarized place for the past few years,” the Cinderella actor explained during an interview with NBC News following the film’s release. “But I think stepping into the mindset of a marine, someone who is very entrenched in their beliefs who has a very strong moral compass, and meeting this young woman who allows him to kind of flourish and evolve as a person [is what the film’s about.]”
Carson, for her part, echoed the sentiment. “It’s two hearts, one red, one blue, two worlds apart, who are really raised to hate each other. Through the power of love, they learn to lead with empathy and compassion and love each other and turn into this beautiful shade of purple,” she said during an August interview with Variety.
While Galitzine has starred in a variety of films, including 2016’s High Strung and 2021’s Cinderella, Purple Hearts appealed to the actor because it “felt very different” than any role he’s played before. It was also an opportunity for catharsis after the loss of his grandmother.
“I was very close with her, but it was an incredible experience to pour all of that pain in,” he told People in August 2022. “It gave me access to be able to have these very poignant moments. That was a bit of a gift. A painful gift, in some ways.”
As far as a potential sequel for enemies to lovers romance goes, Galitzine revealed he isn’t shutting down the possibility.
“Privately we joke about what would happen and how to possibly continue the story, because the script would have to be good. It would have to make sense,” he told People. “It would have to work. There are many different ways it could go, and we’ll wait and see if it’s the right story. “
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