Love, Simon is so refreshing and so inspiring that you can’t help but jump to the conclusion that the gay coming of age romantic comedy should have been made years ago.
Set around the high school exploits of closeted teenager Simon, the film is funny, emotional and will genuinely impact lives.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Nick Robinson, who plays Simon, and director Greg Berlanti about “Love, Simon,” their hopes for it and why the backing of 20th Century Fox was so important. Here’s what they told me.
What did you want to achieve with Love, Simon?
Greg Berlanti: I wanted to evoke the kind of movies that I grew up with and do it from a new perspective. Make the missing film that wasn’t there when I was a kid, the coming of age film that was told in a big fun mainstream way that had a gay person front and center.
Nick Robinson: It was a story that I didn’t even realize was missing. It was a point of view that I hadn’t even considered. Trying to figure out why that was the case made it so interesting. Because it became very clear as we were making it that a story like this is long overdue. People are looking for this kind of movie. They are looking for representation and a voice, and they are hungry for it. I think that this film opens a door that maybe wasn’t there before.
Why was the backing of 20th Century Fox so important?
GB: It was everything. They were determined to make it. I was the first openly gay person to come onboard. And their support and the fact they were such allies more than got the ball rolling without me.
NR: It is broad, not trying to hide anything, and it is purposefully mainstream, and acceptable, and I think in that way it is quietly subversive and is an exciting concept. I don’t think that this story is exclusively an LGBTQ story. I think there are messages in there for everyone and that is kind of the point.
Could this film have been made 5 years ago?
NR: Greg and I were talking about how, if it had come out at a different time, people might not have been ready or cared about this character or story. Now it feels as though we are in the midst of a cultural moment. This story and journey is moving to the mainstream.
GB: I definitely think studios are more open to these stories, but I think television has been a big part of that. TV has been very progressive, especially broadcast television, and art house and indie cinema. I feel like studios are now trying to catch up.
What do you want “Love, Simon” to achieve?
NR: We have been doing a lot of screenings and it feels as though the movie is about to take on a life of its own, beyond what we imagined. I hope that it can start some conversations, some difficult conversations, jump start ones that have stalled, and create a dialogue that wasn’t there before. More so on a person to person basis. Hopefully you can change some people’s minds, create some awareness.
GB: I hope that it stays with people their whole lives. I hope that whenever they watch the film again in the future, even if it is in 10 years, that it takes them back, and they remember it like an old friend.
“Love, Simon” is in cinemas on March 16