"Love, Simon" Actor Clark Moore Talks Straight Leads And Diversity in Gay Films

While Love, Simon may not have performed wonderfully during its opening weekend, the film is still a great chapter in the saga of gay entertainment media. The reason being, it was backed and supported by a major film studio (20th Century Fox).

That said, some people consider the film to be a fantasy take on teen romance. That may be true, but it also takes on one fantastic portrayal of a gay teen, and we’re not talking about Nick Robinson as Simon.

The character we’re talking about is Ethan played by Clark Moore. While the movie follows Simon’s struggle towards self-acceptance due to everyone else’s expectations of him, Love, Simon also stars Ethan who’s openly gay and confident in himself.

Speaking to Teen Vogue, Ethan shared how excited and honored he was to play the part of Ethan.

“I love that I got to sort of act out my high school fantasy. Ethan is sort of who I wish I was in high school. He's way cooler than I ever was. He's also probably who I thought I was. He's what I was aiming for in high school, and now that I got to play him and I look back on my adolescent experience, I'm sort of like, ‘Wow, you are way off there, Clark.’”

Plus, Clark Moore also shared with Teen Vogue his thoughts on gay roles in Hollywood and the call for diversity in all forms.

“Historically, I think the reason why there haven't been more gay roles or more gay actors playing roles that have lots of layers to them and lots of depths to them is because for whatever reason, people think that the story is done. We've seen the gay character. We know what he says. We know what he thinks. We don't need to tell that story anymore.”

Moore goes on further to say that the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. After all, we’ve found ways to explore stories about straight white males for centuries now. That goes to show that there are many more ways we can explore stories involving and staring gay characters.

In addition, Clark Moore also took the time to share his thoughts on the whole straight actor for a gay role discussion.

TV: TV: In recent years, while there have been a handful of successful films in with a lead from the the LGBTQ community, most of those characters were played by straight men. As someone who openly gay who has played a gay teenager, does that bother you?

CM: For me, it's less about straight actors playing gay roles. My resentment towards it comes from the lack of diversity amongst gay roles. Like for instance Nick, our main actor who plays Simon is great and every time I've seen the movie, I just can't imagine anyone else doing it. He's just such a good and talented actor.

The thing that frustrates me is the way we view sexuality [and] masculinity within our culture. We're okay with straight guys playing gay, but it's very rare that you see gay men portraying straight roles. We, as a culture, don't forgive femininity in men. We can suspend our disbelief long enough to believe that this straight actor is gay for the hour and a half of this movie, but for whatever reason, we're still incapable of doing the reverse. I would like to see the reverse happening more. I just really want actors to be able to work in any roles — just give it to the best actor for the role.”

If you want to read more of Teen Vogue’s interview with Clark Moore, you can read it here.

"Love, Simon's" Opening Weekend Numbers Were Unimpressive

Unfortunately, it looks like Love, Simon’s opening weekend box office is… just ok.

We’ve been talking to you about Love, Simon for some time now. We raved with you over the fact that the film is the first teen rom-com to be backed by a major movie studio (20th Century Fox).

But while media sources like Instinct and tv interviewers like Ellen were happy to talk about Love, Simon, it seems like moviegoers weren’t as thrilled.

With an expected box office number of $12 million, the film wasn’t expected to earn big in the first place. That said, the movie sadly didn’t even earn that. After the film’s opening weekend, it looks like Love, Simon made around $11.5 million.

While this isn’t necessarily a washout, this isn’t a major success either. The film was produced with around $17 million, so 20th Century Fox didn’t lose much (if you consider $5.5 million not much).

In addition, the film also gained rave reviews and an A+ cinema score. As such, the film has a lot going for it, but sadly one of those things isn’t money in its wallet.

The question then becomes why more people didn’t go to see the movie.

While we on Instinct (readers and writers) would love for the film to succeed, there are also many who would like to see it fail.

The liberal-packed East and West coasts make up the majority of moviegoers, but the more conservative Middle America can still pack a punch when it needs to. Without conservative America’s support, this film needed the support of LGBTQ people and liberal viewers, which it seems to have not gotten.

Even the production company that created teen sensation The Fault in Our Stars, couldn't get teens (LGBTQ or otherwise) to race towards the film.

That said, Love, Simon could possibly continue to earn more within the coming weeks. That is, of course, before box office juggernaut Disney/Marvel comes up in late April.

We also have to consider the possible effects of this film’s performance for future projects.

While, I don’t think this will mean a halt to all future projects with gay leads or LGBTQ focuses, Love, Simon’s so-so box office numbers will be a tool for any executive wishing to push against such movies.

After all, Hollywood is a business industry focused on what makes them money. With a precedent like this, gay films of the future aren’t getting any help.

"The Wound's" Director And Producers Fight Back After Film's Censorship

Last month, the gay film The Inxeba/The Wound, was banned in South Africa, which happens to be its country of origin. Now, after complaints from the film’s creators/producers, the movie will return to South African theaters.

The film, which focuses on the coming-of-age ritual held privately by the men of the amaXhosa tribe, gained great praise overseas. Unfortunately, the film also caused great controversy in its native country.

After going around the globe and making its way in the indie film circuit, the Inxeba came back to South Africa for wide release in the country. Unfortunately, the Xhosa people (who are the second-largest ethnic group in South Africa) were waiting to take the movie down.

What followed the film’s release in the country was widespread pushback. The film’s cast were getting death threats, movie theaters were being stormed and threatened, and other people protested both online and on the street.

There continues to be disputes over what is the cause of all this controversy. The Xhosa people claim that its due to the film’s white director and Xhosa co-writer exploiting and sharing the secret tradition belonging to the amaXhosa tribe. Others say the Xhosa are purely being homophobic and using the heritage claim as an excuse.

No matter what the cause was, the country’s Film and Publication Board got involved and banned the film. Though part of their reasoning was that the film had created “increased tensions in society,” what ultimately led to the re-classifying of the film as X18 (pornography).

But, looks like that is no longer the case.

Due to the film not containing graphic depictions of sex or any closeups of genitals, the director and producers behind The Wound sued.

Now, word has reached our ears that the South African high court has decided to overturn the Film and Publication Board’s decision.

As Variety reports,

“A high court ruling Tuesday overturned the earlier decision by the Film and Publication Board’s Appeal Tribunal, giving the controversial film a pending 18-and-over restriction until the matter returns to court March 28.”

“Producer Cait Pansegrouw hailed the decision, which she called a ‘temporary victory.’

“It is still rated 18,” she said, citing the ‘unlawful reclassification’ of a film that was originally deemed suitable for audiences over the age of 16. “This is no longer a fight for [‘The Wound’]. This is a fight for the freedom and rights of all South African artists and filmmakers.”

This Gay Musical Short-Film Has A Surprising Production Story

How the Moon Fell from the Sky and Nobody Even Noticed is a film to watch out for.

How the Moon Fell from the Sky and Nobody Even Noticed is a musical short film about high schoolers, by high schools, and for the rest of the world.

The story follows two friends, Benji (played by Petere Carroll) and Ruben (played by Nick Trivisonno), who decide to make a film together for fun. That decision then starts them down a journey towards a messy love dynamic and a new perspective on life.

What’s even more great about the film is that it was created entirely by high school students.

Director Chirsitina Xing created this film with the help of many of her schoolmates. That means, the script was written by a high schooler (Jack Fossett), the dances were choreographed by a high schooler, the production's crew was made up of high schoolers, and even music was orchestrated by high schoolers.

What was originally a dream project by high school students later gained funding on Indiegogo, and now has the chance to reach our screens.

The 40-minute film by Interlochen Arts Academy students from Interlochen, Michigan will be released online on June 29th. In the meantime, check out the first trailer for the movie down below.

South Africa Banned This Gay Film And Labeled It Pornography

Last summer, we talked to you about how the Gay, South African film Inxeba was publicizing an African tribe’s secret practices without their permission.

Now, we have an update about that film.

Inxeba, or The Wound, follows a factory worker named Xolani who helps train the young men of his tribe (the amaXhosa) for their coming-of-age ritual. On top of that, the story depicts Xolani’s gay relationship with another tribe member.

While many Westerners were excited for the film, to the point that it almost received an Oscar nomination, locals and actual members of the amaXhosa tribe were not so happy.

The film was finally released in South Africa a few weeks ago and was instantly caught in controversy. Tribe members marched in movie theaters, cast members received death threats, and movie theater staff were threatened in person.

As such, the film was seriously derailed in its progress. Now, it’s been censored as pornography. The problem is, there’s no explicit sex or close-ups of genitals in the entire film.

The film has been banned in South Africa after a review board re-classified it as X18 on February 14. The Film and Publication Board decided there was no “artistic value” in the film and warned certain scenes could create “increased tensions in society.”

Many are suspecting there’s more at play in this ruling. As stated, many Xhosa people have expressed anger at the film showing intimate secrets about the tribe’s rite of passage into manhood. That said, others say nothing has been shared that wasn’t already known.

In addition, many are pointing fingers at the film’s white director, but then others point at the Black co-writer and the entire Xhosa cast.

What’s most likely the cause of all this unrest is the underlying homophobia coming from tribe members who idolize toxic masculinity.

Despite this censorship, Inxeba’s creators want to keep sharing the story. They are challenging the censorship in court since the film doesn’t contain explicit sex.

We’ll see how that progresses.

h/t: The Economist