This experience was hosted by 20th Century Fox
That’s it LA was able to attend an early screening of Love, Simon with a cast Q&A after the incredible film, which spoke to everyone in the room–and yes, at many points, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The movie based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel follows seventeen-year-old Simon Spier whose love life is a little more complicated as he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Even in an evermore accepting world that still in so many ways needs to catch up, the stakes are always higher for Simon who longs to celebrate how he feels like any other teenager. Berlanti, who has a John Hughes-like touch in being able to speak to anyone who is or has been young and in love during their formative years, brings us a story that has needed much more inclusion and that will pave the way for more.
Nick Robinson (Simon) along with on-screen parents Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel chatted with the audience about how that is precisely why they all signed up to be a part of the film. Playing a family where there wasn’t necessarily the concern of the worst-case-scenario but broaching the subject in a way that many modern families might is what made the actors deeply invested in the character’s they played. Robinson noted that his favorite part of shooting was working with his co-star parents. “The scenes between Josh and Jen, just because they were so beautifully written and I felt like kind of necessary for this whole journey that this Simon character goes on.”
Jennifer Garner agreed, “I thought the scene between Emily and her son is just like a template for how moms could handle a moment like this. And selfishly, I wanted to be the one to say it.” Garner also shared that before she said yes to the role, that she had discussed it with loved ones and one person made her realize that she had to do it. “I was talking to a friend of mine as I was trying to decide do I try to do this? Is this movie going to work? And he said, ‘you know; this movie would have been helpful for me when I was growing up- this would have been a big deal for me.’ And I just said, okay, I’m in. I’m doing it. You’ve got it.”
Josh Duhamel, whose character does project a lot of masculine activities on his son, talked about how it might not be as easy for those who aren’t outwardly bigotted. “I think that this character represents maybe a lot of fathers out there who have found out that their sons were gay or their daughters. He wasn’t necessarily homophobic, but he was, like you said, tone deaf to a lot of things, and probably wasn’t as tuned in as he should have been, and learns through the reveal that, you know what? It doesn’t matter. I love you no matter what. And I think that there’s something powerful in that.” He remarked about how the role did make him reflect on how he’d react if his son came out someday. “I truly just want my kid to be happy and be passionate about whatever it is that he loves. And if he came out as he was gay, so be it, you know, if that makes him happy. I just want everybody to live and be their highest self, you know? And if that’s what it is, that’s what it is. It doesn’t bother me.”
As a fellow parent, Garner added onto the sentiment, “Our kids are growing up in such a different time where my kids are growing up saying, Oh, someday when I get married, I don’t know if I’ll marry a man or a woman. That door is open in a way that it has never been. And they do know: Oh, this is so and so and this is his husband, and this is so, and so and this is her wife. And that has completely been normalized for at least for my kids and hopefully will be for this whole next generation.”
What’s great about the film, it doesn’t talk down to teens going through the same thing, and it doesn’t play Simon’s journey as an after-school special. “I think that everyone, myself included, can relate to Simon and his sort of journey in just trying to find yourself and come to terms with yourself in a way that feels comfortable to not just you, but all the people around you as well.” Robinson explained, “And I feel that Simon, his journey, for a lot of it is about him tamping himself down, which I think people can relate to. It’s like, what kind of person are you when you’re constantly trying to please other people and, like, tamp down your personality? And I think that that’s something that, the film deals with really beautifully. I think everyone has secrets and they’re just a weight that you can carry around. And the more you talk about it, the better it gets. Take your power back. And, I mean, it’s different for everyone, I think. But just be bold, be strong and loud, and be happy with what you know, be confident in what you’re trying to say.”
Simon and his story are shown as real and identifiable which makes it so accessible for others to empathize with an experience they may not have to endure while also showing that no one has to take the fear of being themselves–loving who they love.
Robinson likened it to feeling like you’re holding your breath, steadying to make the jump but that it’s different for every individual, “I think, this idea of, coming out with your secrets is letting the air in and feeling like you can breath out like anyone else.
Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. Directed by Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, The Flash, Supergirl), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, LOVE, SIMON is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.
Cast: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Tony Hale
Tickets for LOVE, SIMON are now on sale! Get yours here: https://www.lovesimontickets.