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Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux’s Chemistry in ‘Upgraded’ Has Us Falling in Love With Rom-Coms Again (Exclusive)

Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux are reinvigorating the rom-com genre with their Prime Video movie Upgraded.

During an exclusive interview with Us Weekly, Mendes, 29, and Renaux, 26, opened up about how they worked together to bring a love story to life.

“I think it’s all about chemistry. That’s why we loved those rom-coms in the ’90s. There was a time when people actually [did] chemistry reading, and I think that still happens,” Mendes told Us. “[But] I haven’t been in one in a long time.”

Mendes formed a strong connection with Renaux over text messages before they met IRL, thanks to a connection through their shared manager. “Just so that by the time we started filming, there was already a good dynamic between us and a rapport that we could lean into,” she explained.

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According to Renaux, those virtual chats helped the duo find their groove together once filming started.

Camila Mendes Archie Renaux Have Us in Love With Rom-Coms Again
Courtesy of Prime

“Me personally — to make myself feel comfortable — I always end up being a bit silly, right? It breaks the ice a little bit,” he shared. “And I think that pushing each other’s buttons a little bit and teasing and stuff, this helps break down all the barriers. You know where you stand with each other, and I think it’s the quickest way into knowing someone.”

Mendes called it “such a relief” to work with someone like Renaux, adding, “[We are] very similar in that way where I love to tease people and poke fun at people. So when I realized that Archie is the same, I was like, ‘OK, this is perfect.’ Because then it shows in the characters.”

Upgraded follows an art intern named Ana (Mendes) who is invited on a last-minute work trip to London by her intimidating boss (Marisa Tomei). On the flight, Ana meets a handsome stranger named William (Renaux), and the duo kick off a transcontinental romance.

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In addition to starring in the film, Mendes was also an executive producer. The milestone moment in her professional life was years in the making following Mendes’ rise to stardom in projects such as Riverdale, Palm Springs and Do Revenge.

Camila Mendes Archie Renaux Have Us in Love With Rom-Coms Again
Paul Stephenson/Amazon MGM Studios

“Being on Riverdale for as long as I was really contributed to my skill set as a producer in ways that I didn’t expect,” Mendes told Us. “I didn’t go into it thinking that my creative input was really that valued. I didn’t even know if I could value it myself.

Mendes soon learned that she enjoyed working behind the camera as well. “I was like, ‘Oh, this goes deeper than just developing a script,’” she said. “What really made me realize I love producing was being on set as a producer and enjoying the process of solving problems. That’s something actually I get high off of. I’m like, ‘Oh, I actually really enjoy chaos.'”

Fans familiar with Mendes’ filmography may have recently seen her in another rom-com, The Perfect Date, and she’ll soon star in the upcoming Prime Video film Música. Mendes didn’t plan for this phase of her career to be her rom-com era — it just happened.

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“It definitely wasn’t intentional for me. I don’t really think about genres too specifically. I think more about, ‘Is this a good script and do I want to do this?’ Or, ‘Am I excited by this opportunity?’” she detailed. “Upgraded for me is very much a rom-com. But it also has elements of workplace drama, a little bit of coming-of-age. It also has genuine comedic moments. So for me, it’s a bunch of genres combined into one. And I think that’s why I gravitated toward it. I like it when a rom-com has a little bit of other genres.”

Mendes is excited for romance fans to see her stretch her acting muscles further in Música.

Música — which is coming out in April — I never even perceived that as a rom-com even though there is a lot of romance in it,” she explained. “And when that movie comes out, I guess you’ll see for yourself. But it’s not necessarily a straightforward rom-com. There’s so much more about it that is entirely unique to that movie.”

While looking back on their time filming Upgraded, Mendes and Renaux had nothing but praise for the cast and crew. In particular, the duo gushed over their collaborative process with director Carlson Young.

“She’s an actor as well, so instantly you just kind of feel like everyone’s on the same level,” Renaux told Us. “We’re all on the same page and it just makes for a very comfortable working environment. There’s nothing that’s off limits in terms of a problem or if you don’t really like something. It was just a very nice collaboration and easygoing.”

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The Upgraded set created enough freedom for the cast to be able to do their best work.

“It’s really nice when you’re also kind of working with people in a similar age group. Sometimes it feels like you’re just making a movie with your friends. It doesn’t feel as authoritative and kind of this hierarchy,” Mendes said. “It’s just like, ‘Oh, we’re all on the same page, we’re all on the same level and we’re all just trying to make a good movie.’ There was a nice camaraderie in that.”

Mendes was also proud of the “authentic” performances that came across on screen.

“Fortunately, a lot of the actors in our movie have great comedic timing and have a certain rhythm,” she told Us. “They all brought amazing, nuanced choices to their roles. And I think you can only do so much on the page. I definitely believe in having a rock-solid, really strong script, but there’s only so far that that can go. It’s like once you get it on its feet and you have all the actors in the room, you got to let people do their thing and make it their own.”

Upgraded is streaming on Prime Video now.

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