21CF Colleague Network and Resource Group Pride hosts ‘Love, Simon’ screening and Q&A

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Director Greg Berlanti joined colleagues on the Fox Lot for the special screening

Pride, a 21st Century Fox Colleague Network and Resource Group (CNRG) supporting causes important to the LGBTQ community, hosted a special screening on the Fox Lot of “Love, Simon,” 20th Century Fox’s coming-of-age drama following teenager Simon Spier as he comes out and finds love. Director Greg Berlanti spoke at the event with 21CF SVP, Labor Relations Counsel Russell Wetanson and fielded questions from the audience about the making of the film, the dearth of mainstream LGBTQ content and the importance of diverse representation on screen.

“I gradually learned along the way how necessary a movie like this was,” Greg said while discussing how the movie has prompted people to share their own coming out stories on social media. “To be involved in any way with a movie that’s making people laugh and cry; and feel connected to each other and feel connected to society; and feel better about themselves and maybe have a conversation they haven’t had with a family member… it’s the most rewarding thing.”

“Love, Simon” explores how difficult it is for Simon (Nick Robinson) to come out as gay to his friends and family, whom he fears will reject him if they know who he really is. For Greg, this was one of the movie’s most interesting and relatable elements.

“I think everyone can identify with it, but maybe LGBT people in particular can identify with the process of Simon trying to hide himself,” he said. “I think it’s interesting that his friends are angry with him about that. It almost has nothing to do with him being gay. It’s the thing he’s most afraid of them finding out, but it turns out they’re just pissed off because he wasn’t telling them the truth.”

During the audience Q&A, multiple colleagues commented on how accessible the story of “Love, Simon” was and how exciting it is to see a gay coming-of-age story in a mainstream studio movie. “My parents might watch this and maybe even understand me a little better,” one colleague said. “Did you find that the world was receptive to this kind of story?”

“There’s so little content in the mainstream space that’s LGBTQ,” Greg responded. “With anything like this, you’re going to have people on the left saying, ‘This isn’t my experience; the movie’s not gay enough’; and then you have other people who are still closed minded and not as accepting saying, ‘Why are you shoving this in my face?’…  Not every kid is going to look and feel like Simon, but at the same time, you’re going to find people who are super grateful to see this story.”

Check out Greg and Russell’s full conversation in the video below. “Love, Simon” arrives on Blu-ray and digital download on June 12.