‘Young Royals’ on Netflix: Cast explains big Season 2 moments

Warning: The following contains spoilers from Young Royals Season 2.

Edvin Ryding and Omar Rudberg will never forget their first chemistry reading for Netflix’s Young Royals, the hit Swedish series about a crown prince who falls in love with another male student at their prestigious Hillerska boarding school.

After exchanging no more than pleasantries, Ryding and Rudberg were asked to act out a scene in which their respective characters, Prince William of Sweden and Simon Eriksson, hang out in the school library in the early stages of their courtship. At one point, Ryding decided to lie down on Rudberg’s lap; Rudberg instinctively began to run his fingers through Ryding’s hair. “We never really got to know each other as Edvin and Omar; We first met as our characters,” Ryding told the Times in a video interview.

The immediacy of their connection has made Young Royals, which returns Tuesday for its second season, a smashing success. In the debut season of the show, which made the Netflix top 10 list in 12 countries and recently won the top prize at Sweden’s Kristallen Awards, Prince Wilhelm navigated a forbidden romance with his working-class classmate Simon — and the pink one Veil of first love – in the shadow of his responsibilities to the crown after the tragic death of his older brother Erik (Ivar Forsling).

“Wilhelm grew up in an environment where there’s a lot of facades — portraying one thing and then living a pretty different life behind closed doors — and that affects your integrity,” says Ryding, who explains Wilhelm’s struggles with compares to those of Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) in the HBO series Succession. “Simon is very open and very transparent, yet has a very strong integrity. Wilhelm respects that very much, and that initially attracts him.”

In 2019, while working together on Swedish drama Sjukt, executive producer Lars Beckung pitched head writer Lisa Ambjörn an idea similar to “Riverdale” or “Élite” about a young, possibly queer prince who gets caught up in a murder. Ambjörn has reframed the premise, choosing to tell a queer coming-of-age story that is also an exploration of the social class structure and the enduring institutional power of the monarchy in Sweden.

“It was clear to us from the start that Wilhelm’s problem isn’t that he’s gay, it’s that he’s the prince of Sweden,” says Ambjörn, whose previous work has focused on the inner workings of the working and lower-middle classes . “His love for Simon makes him reconsider and reconsider every expectation that is placed on him.”

After Wilhelm’s Machiavellian second cousin August (Malte Gärdinger) leaked the couple’s sextape late last year and turned their lives upside down, the new season finds Wilhelm and Simon on different pages about the state of their relationship after the winter break. While Simon tries to move on with a charming family friend named Marcus (Tommy Wättring), a lovesick Wilhelm – who is beginning to deal with his mental health issues but still feels bound by the procedural nature of his royal duties – seems intent to take revenge on the relatives who drove a wedge between him and Simon.

But from the moment Wilhelm and Simon lock eyes at a New Year’s party, “they can’t let go and are madly in love,” says Rudberg. “And whatever they do, it won’t make them forget the love they have for each other and what they’ve been through together.”

“This is the first time Wilhelm has felt like, ‘I can be whoever I want to be with this guy,'” adds Ryding, who admits he had trouble understanding Wilhelm’s behavior this season until he realized how lonely he felt Hillerska. “Obviously that comes with complications, but he still feels, ‘When I’m with Simon, I feel free, and I’ve never felt that before,’ so I think he’s striving for that. It’s almost like an addiction, but so is love. It’s like the biggest addiction in the world.”

“Simon’s Song”

Last autumn, Ambjörn approached music director Magnus Palmborg to create a modern interpretation of the school’s traditional choral song, which Simon would write and perform on the show. Ambjörn and Palmborg wrote the song themselves, and Rudberg – a former member of boy band FO&O who has now launched a solo career – was immediately excited about the idea and even rearranged his schedule a couple of weeks ago to include an expanded version for release record .

For his part, Ryding first heard the song while filming the Valentine’s Ball in the fourth episode. He even asked the director if he could step back while she filmed other angles of the scene because he wanted Wilhelm’s reaction to be real. “It says a lot that Wilhelm doesn’t immediately realize it’s about him, because it’s the best way for Simon to express his feelings for Wilhelm,” explains Ryding. “Wilhelm is so obsessed with himself and his own problems that he doesn’t see the bigger picture.”

The fourth episode is an important turning point for Wilhelm and Simon; In a moment of weakness off the ball, they kiss for the first time since their split. “Even though Simon knows it’s wrong and he knows he’s with Marcus and he said no to Wilhelm, I just think it’s so nice that they just have to feel,” says Rudberg with a smile. “They’re still teenagers and they can’t think about what’s wrong or right.”

Two teenage friends stare intensely at each other.

“It’s a very ‘let’s start a revolution’ moment,” says Edvin Ryding, left, of Young Royals season two. With Omar Rudberg as Simon.

(Robert Eldrim/Netflix)

As in many of their scenes this season, Ryding and Rudberg were free to improvise the moments between kisses — their relieved smiles and laughter, the natural movement of their hands — which they say is a testament to their relationship and understanding the characters. “We feel a lot more secure with each other this season,” says Ryding, “and that creates an environment to have fun in.”

The season finale brings several conflicts to a head. Instead of going to the police to press charges against August, who is now second in line to the throne, which would further tear their families apart, Simon agrees to secretly date Wilhelm. But at the school’s centenary, Wilhelm deviates from the script and, to the dismay of the royal court, admits to being the other student in the intimate video with Simon.

Instead of giving a “coming out speech,” Ambjörn wanted to show that Wilhelm was “breaking the cycle of codependency” in his family. “But it’s not like a big, American, ‘Woo-hoo, you said it! All is well!’ He has this little moment with Simon, but then he turns around and takes in the space, and he’s like, ‘Oh s—’ like a teenager would,” she says.

“That [final] Blick says: “I’m in control. This is me. i am weird I’m in love with this guy and I’m ready to face what’s next.” It’s a very ‘let’s start a revolution’ moment,” Ryding says, laughing. “In my eyes, Wilhelm wants nothing more than to be able to face these things with Simon. … I think the big question is, can Wilhelm and Simon handle this together?”

Living a childhood dream

Since the debut of Young Royals 16 months ago, Ryding and Rudberg have risen to international prominence, amassing more than 4 million combined followers on Twitter and Instagram. Though the response has been overwhelmingly positive, the two have confided in each other about the importance of setting boundaries and not letting strangers define their self-image.

Although Rudberg, who has struggled with hateful online comments in the past, tuned into negativity, he and the rest of the cast were instead touched by the show’s ability to reach out to LGBTQ people of different cultures and generations. “I think it’s nice that we have ‘Young Royals,’ ‘Heartstopper,’ and a few other shows that are capable of showing beautiful queer love to a young audience today,” says Ryding, who recently introduced a queer man to the Sixties who tearfully watched the show and marveled at the significant advances in representation.

There are young viewers around the world who have come out or “found partners or a sense of community through our show,” but there are also older ones “who had these kinds of secret relationships in the ’70s, ’80s, even ’90s.” , Ambjörn recalls. “There was one person who wrote, ‘I had a love story that I never really got to explore. I never got the teenage dream and watching ‘Young Royals’ I felt like I got it.”

As for “Young Royals” next, from the future of Wilhelm and Simon’s relationship to the inevitable royal consequences of his break with tradition, Ambjörn insists “it’ll be up to the Netflix gods” if there’s a third season will give. “I can tell you that the final image for the entire story has been in my head for a very long time and I can’t tell if that’s the case [in] Season 2 or not,” she says shyly. “When you do character studies like this, when the plot doesn’t matter, I think there’s a lot more to tell. … It just feels like a constant creative flow, and unless you’re forced to stop it, you don’t stop.”

“Young Royals”

Where: Netflix

When: Any time

Valuation: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under 17)

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-11-01/young-royals-season-2-netflix-edvin-ryding-omar-rudberg ‘Young Royals’ on Netflix: Cast explains big Season 2 moments

Alley Einstein

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