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.