|Articles: Talking Love, Simon: ‘It’s an important story to tell,’ says Keiynan Lonsdale|
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
The gay coming-of-age story’s been done, but “Love, Simon” has something fresh and funny to share about the tricky intricacies of love, and how they might keep someone in the closet.
A heartfelt love story and the first film from a major studio with a gay lead at the center, it chronicles the life of Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a 17-year-old closeted gay high school student struggling to reveal his sexuality to his family and classmates.
For 26 year-old Australian/Nigerian actor Keiynan Lonsdale, who plays Bram Greenfeld, one of Simon’s classmates, it was the perfect project.
“I’ve dealt with sexuality struggles my whole life. This was a great script and had awesome people attached to it. The fact that it had a gay director at the helm made sense for me to join the cast as I knew the subject would be handled with care.”
Directed by Greg Berlanti, who brilliantly confronts aspects of the gay struggle that are often overlooked on screen, “Love, Simon” was adapted from Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel Simon vs The Homo Sapien’s Agenda.
A high school romantic comedy about a kid who is going through the process that every gay individual goes through of figuring out his or her identity, it’s a relatable drama for Lonsdale who just two years ago revealed his own sexuality on social media. Admitting to the world that he is bisexual.
“It got to a point that I was concerned about everyone knowing my business, because I do have a presence on social media and I am in the public eye. That was the final step for me knowing that I wanted to put it out there so there is never a point where I am wondering if this person or that person knows,” explains the actor who was named GQ’s Breakthrough Actor Of The Year in 2016.
It’s a tad more complicated in film for Simon Spier, a lovable, embraceable character, who as he struggles whether to reveal his sexuality, starts a secret email flirtation with another closeted classmate, but ends up trying to appease a blackmailer when one of his emails falls into the wrong hands.
“It’s an important story to tell and that was the first thing that drew me to it,” adds Lonsdale who starred on the international hit CW series “The Flash,” and can be seen in “Divergent Series: Insurgent” and “The Finest Hours.”
“The fact that this is the first one of this nature from a major studio means that the representation is there for everyone who is afraid of coming out. The stronger this film performs, the better it is for the world. Everyone knows someone who is part of the LGBT and hopefully everyone walks away with a little bit more love about this kind of acceptance,” continues Lonsdale who is also an established musician and writes and records his own music. “I hope that people leave the film and feel that they can see themselves being heard.”
An authentic film, which traverses familiar coming-of-age territory, Nick Robinson as Simon, brilliantly slips inside the skin of a sensitive young man who’s having trouble finding his place in the world.
The film also stars Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel and Natasha Rothwell whose scenes as the no-nonsense drama teacher, Ms. Albright, are some of the funniest and most memorable.
Check out the trailer of “Love, Simon” which releases in theaters Friday March 16th