Love, Simon’s director Greg Berlanti has revealed why it would have been “harder” to make the inspiring film if it wasn’t for Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.
“The book really captured Simon being flawed,” Berlanti explained to me over the phone earlier this month. “That was helpful. If it was an original piece of material it would have been harder to get that stuff through.”
“Because the studios don’t overly like making characters flawed. The screenwriters did a superb job of bringing that aspect of making Simon flawed to the fore, because that made him more real and interesting.”
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Nick Robinson, who portrays the titular character of Simon in the film, later admitted to me that he wasn’t aware of the book before reading and auditioning for Berlandi.
He immediately made sure to do so once he did sign up, which allowed him to “color the characters and give life to the story.”
But Robinson is the first to admit that “Love, Simon” is different to “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.”
“I think the book is a great starting point, and we made some changes. Some for the better, and maybe others won’t work.”
“For example, Nick Eisner was a white Jewish kid in the book, but in the film he is played by Jorge Lendeborg. So we decided to give the film greater diversity, which was a great choice.”
“But I think the script really captures the spirit of the book. Becky wrote a great story, but she also had a unique perspective, because she was a school counselor. So she dealt with stuff like this on a daily basis.”
“She has a great eye and understanding for the difference between the way high schooler’s present themselves on the outside and how they are really feeling on the inside.”
“And how they bridge that inner life and outer life to the point where they feel comfortable enough to share themselves. I think she had a great insight into both of those sides. She also made a great supporting cast of characters and they all felt like individuals.”
You can meet these characters for yourself when “Love, Simon” is released into cinemas on March 16.