It was a fond piece of director Greg Berlanti’s own coming out journey that influenced the pivotal coming out scene in Love, Simon. On tonight’s episode of ABC News’ Nightline, out Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy interviews some of the cast along with Berlanti, gaining insight on how their personal experiences fed into those of their characters in the landmark film.
“There were two things that I really wanted to hear and that were so effective every time I heard them,” Berlanti says. “One was when someone said to me, ‘I still love you,’ and the other was that ‘you deserve love.’” After speaking with the writers, they decided to tap into the spirit of Berlanti’s story for the scene when Simon (Nick Robinson) comes out to his mom (Jennifer Garner).
“I started crying because those words are kind of universal,” says Robinson. “Regardless of your orientation, or who you are, your life experience, just hearing those words is really powerful.”
For one reason or another it’s often fathers who struggle to accept their gay sons. For his part, Josh Duhamel, who plays Simon’s father, Jack, looked to his own family for guidance. “My step nephew, who I’ve known since he was just a baby, came out several years ago,” he tells Kenworthy. “His dad was, at first, didn’t know how to deal with it because, you know, we come from a very conservative place. And at the end of the day he was happy and you know, full of tears for his son as anybody would be for their kid. That for me was a good example of how you’re supposed to handle something like this.” Love, Simon is out today. Watch, below.