Becky Albertalli hopes that Love, Simon will change Hollywood culture

Love, Simon could be changing Hollywood culture
Photo: By BRFZ1 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Call Me By Your Name was a success at this year’s Oscars and followed the story of a 17-year-old boy exploring his sexuality. Love, Simon follows the story of a boy who falls in love with a male classmate.

The difference? Love, Simon has got the backing of a major Hollywood movie studio in 20th Century Fox and hopefully signals a changing culture within the industry. Previously, these films have been independent of the major companies as they steer clear of a so-called “risky” film.

The author of the book, Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, with which the film is based on believes that it is truly great that we are now in a world where a film with a male protagonist can be backed by a major studio.

Becky Albertalli wrote Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and thinks that it is “kind of awful” that we have managed to go all the way through to 2018 without these types of books and films being a part of our culture.

She continued to say that “a lot of these kids (teenagers) are yet to see themselves reflected in mainstream media” which makes it pretty special.

According to GLAAD, a group that tracks LGBTQI trends in film and industry said that 23 of the 125 ‘major studio’ films released in the US in 2016 had LGBTQI characters in them. Ultimately, this is well behind where it needs to be with a far greater number of the population now a member of the LGBTQI community.

Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLAAD, said that if film was to stay relevant, movies like Love, Simon must become more common and movies need to “reflect the full diversity of the US”.

Albertalli began writing after a career in clinical psychology where she had worked regularly with teenagers. She describes her book as a “love letter” to teenagers that are really important to her.

However, this does not mean that the book has been free of controversy.

She said that there was a lot of backlash given that she was from outside the LGBTQI community and even more so because she was a woman.

Albertalli says that if she had the choice to write the book again she wouldn’t, knowing now that it doesn’t matter how much research you do, “you can’t strip away the privilege you have”.

In contrast to this though, Albertalli says that she has received many positive messages from the book and hopes that the releases of the movie will do the same.

Ultimately, Albertalli hopes that the film and book will “open doors…so that there will be more and more opportunities and more stories told”.