“This is what I set out to do, just play with puppies all the time!”
A coming-of-age story layered with a heart-warming coming-out story, Love, Simon is already a runaway success just days after its opening, connecting with audiences across the country.
In celebration of the milestone movie, the stars of the film, Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford, sat down with BuzzFeed to answer everything you wanted to know about the flick while hanging out with some seriously cute rescue puppies. TBH, it was the best thing since Halloween Oreos:
Nicole Ench / BuzzFeed
What inspired the both of you to pursue a career in acting?
Nick Robinson: Just stuff like this [playing with puppies]. This is what I set out to do, just play with puppies all the time! I think the great thing about acting is that you can step into someone else's shoes without suffering the consequences.
Katherine Langford: I was a swimmer but I also really loved art and I trained classically as a vocalist for ten years. I watched a Gaga concert and I started writing music, then at the end of that year I auditioned for drama school and I didn't get in. So, I decided to do a diploma of musical theatre and then from that, I figured I liked the acting thing. Anyways, now I'm here!
In the movie, Simon mentions BuzzFeed’s quizzes. If you were a BuzzFeed writer, what’s a quiz that you’d write?
KL: “What's Your Drag Name?” 'Cause it's hard, man!
NR: I'd get onboard with that, “Drag Name!” “What Breed Of Dog Are You?” — I feel like that's a simple one!
KL: I have a temporary drag name but…
NR: What's your temporary drag name?
KL: I don't know if I can swear on BuzzFeed, so…
How do you hope Love, Simon will affect LGBTQ teens?
NR: I hope that this movie just furthers the conversation of representation and inclusiveness and tolerance. To see your story represented on a screen is a really powerful thing!
KL: I think representation is crucial. It's so important to see people who look like you, who act like you, and to see stories that you can relate to because it's what makes you feel not crazy or not alone. This is a story that's overdue but I hope that it normalizes those feelings because I think it's so underrepresented in the media. If you don't see those stories, you don't understand them, and then it makes it weird to be that. I just think it takes so much courage to come out and hopefully, this film can be a talking point to ease it.
What advice can you give to young people who are struggling to accept themselves or their sexuality?
NR: Now, more than ever, is a time where you can find a community. Whether it's online, you can find people with like-minded views. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.
KL: I can't give personal advice because everyone's story is different and I've never had to go through coming out, or anything like that. Knowing that you're not alone and your friends — if they're real friends — will accept you and love you.
If you could go back in time and give your high school self any advice, what would it be?
NR: Don't try to fit in as hard, don't be afraid to be vulnerable, and trust your instincts a little bit more. High school's a time when you're trying really hard to express yourself but you don't always have the emotional tools to do that. Just pet puppies.
KL: My advice would be keep doing what you're doing because I feel like I wouldn't change anything!
Did the both of you read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda to prepare for your role? If so, how did the book help?
KL: I read it, did you read it?
KL: I was such a fangirl of the book. I reached out to Becky [Albertalli] on Instagram and just fanned. Adapting a novel for a film is tricky because there's all this backstory you have to include in an hour-and-a-half. If you want a little backstory, the novel is great. In the book, they go much more into Leah and her insecurities and I think that's a really large part what's going on with her. Not only the whole emotional journey but also how she feels about herself.
NR: I got to read the book and it just added a lot of depth to these characters. Maybe it's because of her [Becky's] background — she used to be a school counselor — but she's really good at making these characters three dimensional and showing their journey. I think we did justice to it [the book]. I hope that if you liked the book, you'll like the movie. And if you never read the book, I highly recommend you checking it out!
What was your favorite behind-the-scenes moment on set with the cast?
KL: We went to Savannah, which was cool, except for the ghost tour — I did not enjoy that.
NR: Oh yeah. Savannah was actually the best part about that.
KL: You also taught me how to drive…
NR: You knew how to drive. You drove on the other side of the road, right?
NR: You've driven a car before, right?
KL: Yeah, no, no, no. Let's specify, he didn't teach me how to drive but…
Both 13 Reasons Why and Love, Simon take on big and important themes that younger generations face today. If you could direct a movie, what themes would it include?
NR: I'm definitely not ready to direct a movie. If I was to direct a film, I like movies that are hard to pin down. I like Donnie Darko. Something along those lines, in that vein.
KL: You remind me of a young Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie. When I watched it, I was like, “That's Nick.”
NR: Oh! Actually, I don't know if that's a compliment but I'm gonna take it as a compliment.
KL: I also don't feel ready to direct something. I'd like to direct, but if I did it, I would wanna be ready to do it. I really like the idea of capturing parts of yourself that you keep to yourself and you don't show to people, I think that's really cool. Actually, I had this idea to tell when you fall in love with someone but from a girl's perspective for another girl. I had a friend who taught me about that and she just had a really beautiful story.
Where do you see yourself in five to ten years from now?
NR: Oh, god! I can barely think about what I'm doing tomorrow! I can't think about five to ten years.
KL: I'd like to do more acting but I'd also like to do some music. I came from a music background and the last two years for me I did 13 Reasons and I did this [Love, Simon], and they're just coming out now, but I think music is still at my core. So, I don't know, maybe put some music out. My friends desperately want me to do that because they've known me since I started writing. We'll see!
Can’t get enough of these two? Make sure to catch Nick and Katherine in Love, Simon, in theaters now!