Screening Room

Is America ready for Hollywood’s first big gay teen romance?

 

Love Simon

Superhero purveyor Greg Berlanti—the producer behind the CW hits Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl—makes a bid for a new kind of family romantic hero with what might just be the major Hollywood film featuring teen gay romance.

Berlanti has made a foray into similar territory in the past, writing and directing the lovely indie romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Club. Now regarded as something of a gay life classic, that film proved a breakout for now-famous actors Zach Braff, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Theroux and Andrew Keegan.

Berlanti, who, of late, has overseen production on Riverdale and announced his engagement to soccer star Robbie Rogers, returns to directing with Love, Simon, based upon Becky Albertalli’s 2015 novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. The story finds 16-year-old Simon falling for an online boyfriend only known as “Blue.” The film puts a queer twist on all those coming-of-age high school movie tropes in the vein of John Hughes: home parties, sports games, passed notes, secret crushes and locker-room drama.

Love, Simon features an A-list cast, including Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Nick Robinson (Jurassic World), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) and Alexandra Shipp (X-Men Apocalypse). More importantly though, Love, Simon marks another important milestone: the film will receive wide release from 20th Century Fox as big budget romantic comedy with a mainstream-sized marketing budget.

“In every other major studio film, it’s always the guy and the girl. And there was something so powerful about it being just a guy imagining himself with this other guy in a film again that was going to be marketed and sold as a mainstream romantic comedy,” Berlandi tells Entertainment Weekly.

Getting a big studio behind a gay teen film is an important step in mainstreaming out loves and relationships, considering that even great films like Brokeback Mountain receive limited releases. The pullers of the Hollywood purse strings always fear a flop. Naturally then, a film depicting teen same love strikes fear in studio bossesover setting off the audience’s “ick” factor, even in an era when Americans overwhelmingly approve marriage equality. With Love, Simon, has Hollywood finally mustered the courage–and the faith in the audience–to show queer love, let alone queer teen love, in a major motion picture?

The film won’t be screened for many months so it’s hard to say how bold it is. But we’re looking forward to finding out.

With a noted director, acclaimed source material, and a cast of up-and-coming actors, Love, Simon has all the making of a hit, and one that a mainstream audience will finally enjoy.

But you’ll have to hold your breath: Love, Simon hits theatres March 16, 2018.

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9 Comments

  • Josh447

    Not only are we ready, we’re dueling. Josh Duhemel? Hello! The perfect DILF for budding high school boys. I hope he gets down in this very cool looking show.

  • stevetalbert

    First big gay teen romance?? Did Blaine and that other guy on Glee mean nothing to you??!!! TV still isnt Hollywood. Sad.

    • chris_clb614

      The entire article, you did read it? Major studio, wide theatrical release, might not be Oscar bait (I threw that in).

  • Corey

    Steve Talbert, it’s the first gay teen romance movie with a major Hollywood studio producing it.

  • Bob LaBlah

    I do hope the stars of this movie have thought those over career wise. The reason is the poor twink in the 1990’s movie Trick (John Paul Pitoc) was offered nothing else but gay parts after starring in that movie. He refused to be stereotyped but he more or less has faded into a distant memory. Lets hope there is an uplifting storyline instead of continuous moping about being unaccepted by society and such. Thats why the majority of most gay movies fail.

  • g-sing

    are any of these actors lgbtq actors?

    • Josh447

      Of course, all of them. They’re just in the closet swatting moths. ;)

    • tommydee95

      Keiynan Lonsdale is bisexual. Not too sure about the rest.

  • Ksb1978

    Another book by a cis hetero author. Gay/queer authors have been saying and asking for YEARS “Why is straight the default?” and telling stories that may become an indie movie with barely any notice. A cis hetero author says the same thing and writes the same story (without the experience of being LGBTQ) and get the big studio deals and the accolades and all the promotion. As if the cis hetero author is opening the world to our issues as only a straight savior can.

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