Seattle native Nick Robinson stars in the sweet, funny, and arguably groundbreaking new movie Love, Simon.
Like all successful coming-of-age movies, it’s clever and easy to embrace.
But it's also unique, because of one major plot point: Simon is gay.
It’s the first wide-release teenage rom com about an LGBTQ character.
Robinson was drawn to the idea of telling the story in a broad way.
"Setting out with the goal of capturing a mainstream audience makes the film actually kind of subversive in its own way,” he said.
The movie focuses on a loving family and close group of friends who have no idea Simon is keeping a secret.
“I think that's something really nice that hopefully people can see - not just parents, but also friends of people who are going through something similar - that it doesn't change who you are,” said Alexandra Shipp, who plays Simon's friend Abby.
The film is full of universal themes most teens can relate to, like loneliness, unrequited love, and fear of change.
"I think that everybody has a coming out,” said director Greg Berlanti. “It doesn't have to be their sexuality, it could be maybe their faith or where they want to live or what job they want to take or something they're scared to share.”
Robinson agreed, adding, "It doesn't have to be some huge, insurmountable thing, either. It can be as simple as moving to a new city and having to sort of start over again."
Robinson lived on Queen Anne until high school, when he moved to Los Angeles to become a professional actor.
"I always thought I was a social chameleon,” he said. “I was able to go to different groups and kind of fit in."
All these years later, he’s helped make Love, Simon a teenage rom com for modern audiences, who see more similarities than differences in the human experience.
“I think regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or whatever, I hope people walk out feeling included and feel like they were a part of something,” Robinson said.
Love, Simon is now available on DVD.
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