Let’s start with a confession: I love book-to-movie adaptations. I really do.
To be clear: I do usually still prefer the books. They just allow me to immerse myself into the world better and fall in love with the characters more. Most movies lack the time for me to really reach the same level of investment. They have to cut certain scenes, dialogues or even characters (even though I believe most book lovers would gladly watch a 4-hour adaptation containing every single scene of the book) and while it can be done and be done well, it can hardly ever hold a candle to the book.
Nevertheless, I can still really enjoy a good book-to-movie adaptation. I’m ok with them changing or cutting certain things as long as they stay true to the spirit of the book. I just love that this story that I love and adore gets brought to life in a different way. I love how it is able to reach more people and make other people fall in love with the characters that already have a place in my heart. I love getting excited for it, keeping an eye out for casting news, watching the trailer a hundred times over again and finally getting to actually see the movie on the big screen with a giddy heart.
But before I finally see the movie, I also love speculating about it. And that’s the reason for this post, which may eventually become a series.
Today I’d love to talk about the upcoming Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda movie.
Simon is one of my all-time favorite books: it’s cute, adorable, real, diverse and relatable. So of course I am super excited about the movie adaptation, which has recently started filming. There’s already quite a bit of information on casting and such, which can be found on Becky Albertalli’s tumblr.
So here is pretty much my wishlist for the movie, ranging from the general and important to the specific but smaller details:
Warning: May contain some spoilers for the book. Nothing on the identity of Blue though.
First – What’s The story about?
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
my movie wishlist:
1. lovable simon
“It’s strange because in reality, I’m not the leading guy. Maybe I’m the best friend. I guess I didn’t think of myself as interesting until I was interesting to Blue.”
Obviously, Simon is the heart of this story. He is one of my all-time favorite protagonists ever, so naturally I have very high expectations for him. He needs to be the perfect mix of adorkably nerdy, smart and witty with a bit of naivety. He is a character who feels unbelievably real and like an actual teenage boy. This is of course a lot of pressure to fall on the shoulders of Nick Robinson, who will be playing Simon, but I have faith that he will be a perfect Simon (if only because Becky Albertalli already assured fans he is). Looks wise, we don’t have any pictures yet and we only know he won’t be wearing glasses (due to lighting issues), but I’m sure he’ll look great.
2. real and important Friendships
— Becky Albertalli (@beckyalbertalli) March 4, 2017
“Did you just tell us you’re gay?” Asks Nick
“Okay,” he says. Abby swats him. “What?”
“That’s all you’re going to say? Okay?”
“He said not to make a big deal out of it,” Nick says. “What am I supposed to say?”
“Say something supportive. I don’t know. Or awkwardly hold his hand like I did. Anything”
Nick and I look at each other.
“I’m not holding your hand,” I tell him, smiling a little.
“All right”–he nods–“but know that I would.”
I LOVED how the friendships and high-school dynamics were portrayed in this book. I know I haven’t been in high-school for a while now, but it just felt so real. I also very much appreciated the dynamics between Simon and Abby, Nick and Leah. They have their issues and they fight, but they ultimately do care about eachother and find their way back. And I sincerely hope this will be a main focus in the movie as well.
3. relatable Leah
“You have to understand that no one has mastered the art of deadpan delivery like Leah.”
I also really loved and related with the character of Leah. Her insecurity about being the friend that’s left out or replaced by a shiny new friend just felt so relatable and true to the high-school experience. Sure, as an adult you are better able to place all those feelings and deal with them, but for a teenager her thoughts felt pretty real and relatable to me. So of course I’m hoping to get plenty of Leah scenes (maybe once we get the Leah-centric books, there can also be a movie spin-off?)
4. e-mails so adorable you can’t stop smiling
“I HAVE TO MEET HIM.
I don’t think I can keep this up. I don’t care if it ruins everything. I’m this close to making out with my laptop screen.”
The e-mail relationship between Simon and his mystery penpal Blue is the single most adorable relationship I’ve ever read about. I was looking forward to reading all their e-mails and I loved seeing them slowly go from friendly to flirty. The e-mails never failed to put the hugest smile on my face and made Simon (and me) fall completely in love with the character of Blue without knowing who he is. And I just really need the movie e-mails to have the same impact. I’m hoping this movie will have me smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. I’m not sure how they will do this visually and they’ll probably have to cut a lot of the e-mails, but I do hope the heart and spirit of them will stay.
5. an unpredictable penpal mystery
“I’m not going to pretend I know how this ends, and I don’t have a freaking clue if it’s possible to fall in love over email. But I would really like to meet you, Blue. I want to try this. And I can’t imagine a scenario where I don’t want to kiss your face off as soon as I see you.”
Concerning the mystery of Blue, I’m a bit conflicted. On the one hand, I want his identity to remain a mystery as long as possible. I want moviegoers to be equally surprised and (hopefully) pleased when learning his identity as the book readers. Half the fun is in the guessing, isn’t it? But on the other hand, I would also love to have a few scenes from the POV of Blue, because his POV has always intrigued me and I’d love to get his take on certain events – which would be possible in the movie. But that would completely ruin the surprise. So I’m a bit torn, but if I have to choose, I’d go with keeping the mystery!
6. Martin as a complex, grey antagonist
“And you know what? You don’t get to say it’s not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be—this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.”
Martin is an interesting antagonist. What he’s doing to Simon is in no way ok, but I still appreciated how he was written. I liked how even Simon himself was a bit conflicted about him and both hated him and liked him at the same time. I want this conflict to be in the movie as well. I want the moviegoer to be conflicted about him and switch emotions about him. And I want him to feel guilty about what he did, I want Simon to call him out, and I want the overarching message to be that what he did was not in any way ok. Basically, I need his character to be 100% in line with the book, because I think the book handled this perfectly.
7. a present and supportive family
“It’s like—you have this baby, and eventually, he starts doing stuff. And I used to be able to see every tiny change, and it was so fascinating.” She smiles sadly. “And now I’m missing stuff. The little things. And it’s hard to let go of that.”
This book has some of the best family dynamics. I loved this family and they are on my list of fictional families I wouldn’t mind being adopted by. First of all, they are present. They are actually there and playing a part in Simon’s life. Which is not a thing you see all that often in YA. Simon’s parents may not be perfect, but they try and they care. The same goes for his sisters. They are not there to be background characters who are completely interchangeable. They each have their distinct personality and relationship with Simon.
So naturally, I need this to be present in the movie as well. And seeing as Jennifer Garner has been casted as Simon’s mom, I think it will definitely be present. I haven’t seen any casting news for Simon’s dad yet, but I hope he will be in it because of his awkward, cringe-worthy jokes. And of course, I need Nora to be there and I need the have some scenes of them watching and discussing reality tv or playing Facebook scavenger hunt. I might be ok if they don’t have Simon’s older sister Alice in the movie, because she wasn’t in it the book that much.
8. the amazing, ready-made soundtrack
“He tells me to pick the music. I’m not sure if he knows that handing me his iPod is like handing me the window to his soul.”
Seeing as how music plays a big part in Simon’s life (he does believe that your playlist is a window to your soul) and how the book pretty much already came with its’ own soundtrack, I am so hoping they will honor that soundtrack in the movie. I need Elliott Smith references throughout the entire movie and I need his music to play during key scenes. And of course I’m also hoping for some Tegan and Sara, Rilo Kiley and of course Otis Redding, among others.
You can check out the entire book soundtrack below. Here’s also a post where Becky Albertalli describes the importance of each song. What more could you need?
9. a never-ending ode to oreos
“I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re not 100% committed to your Oreo diet.”
Ok, this may be a detail, and yet it feels so important to me. The book actually convinced me to try Oreos, because Simon loves them so much. In my mind Simon and Oreos have become unmistakeably linked, so I just can’t see how they could have a movie without a single Oreo reference.
10. the absolutely necessary ending scenes
“Then he smiles and I smile. And then I blush and he lowers his eyes, and it’s like this entire pantomime of nervous gestures.”
Part of me fears that the movie will go with the typical Hollywood ending where the tension rises until we get the dramatic reveal of Blue’s identity and then… fade to credits. And that is a big NO for me because the scenes after this reveal are some of my favorite ones in the book. I am dying to see a particular lunch moment come to life especially. So please producers, give me some of the book ending scenes.
A few random scenes I’m hoping to see
- All the theatre scenes
- Mrs. Albright, the badass teacher crusading against homophobes
- The entire drunk Simon scene (I just heard Colton Haynes will play the college guy Simon meets in this scene, so OMG I can’t wait to see this)
- Oreo lunch date
- Eyeliner Simon
- The talent show
- The carnival (duh)
- Pretty much the entire book, okay?