We recently got to sit down with Becky Albertalli, author of Simons vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, to discuss its conversion to a film. Read below for thoughts on discrepancies between the book and film, navigating high school, and all things Simon!
Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out Simon was being adapted?
A: Well, I really didn’t expect this at all. I had been told by other authors that it’s often a book get optioned but not actually created. I feel like every bit of the process was a small wake-up call for me, as I really didn’t have a moment of realization that it was actually going to be done! I was grateful for each milestone that came with this journey: getting a script, a director and producer, a cast…I’ve seen the film five times now (and I’m definitely ready for my sixth go) and I think I’m still shell-shocked.
Q: When you first read the script, how did you feel seeing all the changes that came with having your book-baby being turned into a film?
A: I know for people who loved the book, it’s hard to face that there are a few differences between both mediums. What I’d like to tell them, though, is that they should still give this movie a chance. It’s so wonderfully done and it still has that Simon feel. Everything doesn’t transfer from book to film as smoothly as you may think, so the small changes made were something necessary, and it still rocks!
Q: What inspired you to create this story in the first place?
A: In 2013 when I first wrote Simon, I wasn’t necessarily writing for a purpose as much as I was for a chronicle of thoughts I kept having. This story takes so many elements from my own high school experience, and as a psychologist, I want to say I took a lot from experiences I’ve had with the LGBTQ community and their families. A thought I kept having when writing Simon was how much someone might need this story and how impactful it may be to the right person.
Q: That being said, what do you want viewers to take away from the film when they leave the theater?
A: As an author, I’m always hesitant to answer that sort of question, you know. Who am I to tell what to get out of a movie? What I can say is that this is a movie for everyone; it can be for the kid who’s afraid to come out, the kid who hasn’t found their place yet, the individuals who don’t know what they identify as…the list goes on. I just really hope this helps to boost understanding and acceptance, and we’ve tested in some pretty conservative states and I can say everyone’s reacted to it fairly well!
Q: People are excited about the idea of a mainstream movie featuring a gay lead, do you think this might pave the way for more movies centering LGBTQ individuals?
A: I loved this movie, and feel like it caters to a wide spectrum of people. I don’t want this movie to be the only one of it’s kind, I want it to inspire a broad range of movies featuring unique individuals, and I’m very hopeful of that.
Q: Are there any plans for a sequel to Simon?
A: Well, right now I’m prepping for the release of a sequel from Leah’s point of view, and I’m extremely excited that she’s going to be getting her moment in the spotlight! You’ll be able to find it on shelves April 24, 2018.
Be sure to catch Love, Simon in theaters this weekend!