A warm and beautiful story of friendship, loss, and the innate desire to love and be loved, Greg Berlanti’s groundbreaking Love, Simon is not just a love story for the LGBTQ community — but one for humanity in a time when we seem to be losing touch with one another. The film follows seventeen-year-old Simon Spier (portrayed by Nick Robinson), a typical teenager just trying to get through his last year in high school. However, since he as yet to tell his friends and family that he’s gay, managing his friendships, familial relationships, and a new love becomes stifling.
The Flash star Keiynan Lonsdale stars in the film, as Bram, a classmate of Simon’s who seems to move through high school effortlessly, not held down by the all-consuming confusion Simon is battling. Ahead of the Love, Simon premiere, I sat down to talk with Lonsdale about his role, why young people are going to change the world, and why this film spoke to his spirit.
Though the film is based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 award-winning YA novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Lonsdale picked up the script without knowing anything about the story. “I hadn’t read about the book prior to hearing about the film project, so it was all sort of a surprise,” he revealed. “It was a whole new look into an awesome story — one that is very much needed. So it was really exciting. Once I read the script I just kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe this movie hasn’t been made already.’ I think that was a good sign to say that it’s really time.”
With a plethora of YA films dominating the box office in recent years from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games and more recently, The Fault in Our Stars and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it seems astounding that Love, Simon is the first teen LGBTQ romance from a major studio. “I think perhaps everything has changed in the past 12 months,” Lonsdale reflected. “A year ago I would have been surprised by a lot of these things — surprised by all these firsts, but now the way that I look at things is I should have realized how young we are as a society. As much as progress seems really slow, there are also changes that happen really really quickly. Five years ago honestly, I don’t know if people would have been warm and openly as accepting of this kind of project —Hollywood especially. Social media has really helped because now people can see that they’re not alone, and more people have started to speak up. I think it’s a combination of things, but I do think that we’re shifting a lot, so that’s why these firsts are coming out.”
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