It’s not often you’ll hear the author of a bestselling novel declaring that the movie adaptation did it better than the book. But in Becky Albertalli’s case, there are a couple of things from the film she wishes she had included in her novel, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, upon which Love, Simon is based. Namely, the characters of Vice Principal Worth and Ethan.
For Albertalli, both characters add plenty to the story. She tells FANDOM: “Ethan is somebody that I’ve thought about a lot. I think his role is especially important because he shows another side of the story.”
In the film, Ethan, like school friend Simon, is gay. Unlike Simon, however, he is already out.
“He has his own story of what it’s like for him being gay in high school. For him, he’s gay and black and he is out a little sooner than Simon,” says Albertalli. “He’s also more identifiably gay to his peer group and he’s less conventionally masculine, and so there are these differences, and his experience, that I think are really important to unpack.
“There’s that awesome scene between him and Simon where they kind of talk through that a little bit, and that makes a really important counterpoint to Simon’s story, which is really just one character’s story. And Ethan is one of the characters who, hopefully, when you’re watching the film and you start to think Simon’s experience is the gay experience, can check that impulse a little bit. He’s just such a cool, compelling character. I love Ethan so much.”
Worth A Lot
Although Tony Hale’s comedic performance certainly works very well on screen in terms of entertainment, Vice Principal Worth brings more than just comic relief. Albertalli values the character for far more than simply bolstering the film’s sense of humour.
“I think Mr Worth, for one thing, is incredibly funny, but one of the roles that he plays in the movie is [of the] well-intentioned ally,” she says. “But he’s really clumsy about it in a way that I know a lot of LGBT kids watching the film and talking about it online found really relatable. For example, the way he just assumes Simon and Ethan are a couple because they’re the only two gay guys he knows about in the school. So, of course, they’re dating. In a way, he stands for the well-intentioned ally who sometimes does more harm than he realises. But, of course, he’s also a loveable human character too.”
While the film did away with some characters from the book, it also created a couple of others that Becky feels bring a lot to the film, and who might even have improved her original novel.
She says, “These characters that they added, like Mr Worth and Ethan — and Lyle and even Martin’s friend Suraj – I love them so much, I wish I had written about them in my book. I wish they were mine, you know?”
Perhaps she’s found a place for them in her sequel novel, Leah on the Offbeat, which comes out later this month.
Love, Simon is out now in the US and Australia, and hits UK screens on April 6.