There are many reasons why you must watch the new gay blockbuster “Love, Simon”, but the main one is Clark Moore. “Love, Simon” is the new LGBT film that “normalises” (finally!) the teenage gay love experiences and promises to give you a boost of positivity and happiness, making you want to ask for more. However, the most memorable part of the movie is the role of Ethan played by Clark Moore. Clark not only elevates the spectacular movie, but he offers the most flamboyant gay femme character we have ever seen on the big screen.
YASS Magazine met Clark Moore just a few days before the official release of “Love, Simon” in Greece and here is the exclusive interview.
The character of Ethan is remarkably unforgettable and everybody says it is elevating “Love, Simon”. Could you foresee how memorable would this character be?
Thank you for saying that! I really hoped people would respond positively to the film—honestly, I was just hoping people would see it at all! I definitely did not expect people to say such wonderful things about Ethan and about my performance. I’m so grateful that his experiences have resonated with people in a meaningful way and I hope we get to see more stories like his.
This year there have been numerous successful LGBT movies and productions. How do you feel with the increase of diversity in the cinema and in Hollywood?
I’m encouraged by the great LGBT projects we’ve seen and the success of films starring people of colour and I’m also keenly aware of how far we have to go before we’ve made real progress. “Love, Simon” represents a much needed first step towards sharing a diverse collection of stories with a wide audience and that makes me very proud.
Did you expect the success of “Love, Simon”?
I really didn’t think anyone would see it! My expectations were truly exceeded by the film’s success. I hope it becomes someone’s go-to film to watch when they’re feeling down—it’s such a good boost of positivity and love! We had so much fun making it, though, that it doesn’t even feel real. The whole process really was a dream come true.
How was working with the other members of the cast? Was there a chemistry between you? Did you become friends after the movie?
I love our little family! I had the privilege of jumping in and out while some of the other actors really lived together for months but the energy was just so positive on set that I ended up making some friends that I really hope will be in my life forever.
How similar or different is Clark Moore to the fabulous and flamboyant femme character of Ethan in “Love, Simon”?
We definitely have a lot in common. I’ve experienced plenty of bullying and harassment throughout my life, but I never had the quick, witty comebacks that are Ethan’s signature. I also think I “fit in” a little more in high school than he did because I was lucky enough to go to a super accepting and open school. (I also think his grades are probably a little better than mine were.)
Did the fact that the character of Ethan was not on the original book give you more freedom to build the character the way you wanted?
I think it gave Greg Berlanti, our amazing director, the freedom to explore what this character could be and how he would fit into Simon’s world. I really followed his lead to service the narrative the best I could. He represents the end of the LGBT spectrum that Simon is not yet comfortable with and I’m glad everyone saw the importance of including his story.
What made you say “yes” to the role of Ethan? Do you identify with the character?
As soon as I read the script I knew I would do anything to be in this movie so when they offered me the part I didn’t even hesitate. I identify with all of the gay characters—the feelings of confusion in the early days of coming out of the closet, the isolation that comes along with holding on to a secret from your closest friends and family, and then the bullying that comes along with daring to be yourself in high school.
Have you experienced any bullying or homophobia while growing up or during your career?
I experience it all the time—even in Los Angeles. I think it’s so important to acknowledge that we have so far to go when it comes to the global acceptance of the LGBT+ community. I’m hoping that this story “normalizes” the gay experience for people who may need a comfortable entry point to a world that’s very colourful and intimidating to outsiders. Hopefully we’ve made a little dent in the stigma!
How do you feel with the fact that there is still misogyny in the LGBT community?
It speaks to the fact that we as a community still have a long way to go. Historically, we have not done enough to shine light on the issues Trans people are experiencing daily and there’s so much self-loathing that we, as gay men, have— which really just stems from our internalized misogyny—so I definitely think there’s work to be done.
What are the biggest issues Clark is dealing with?
I’m mostly trying to make sense of everything right now. I got swept away with the excitement surrounding the release of the film and now I’m just trying to figure out what’s next! Ultimately, I want to make art that affects people in the way “Love, Simon” has and I want to work hard to increase visibility for LGBT people of colour.
How did your career start?
My cousin encouraged my parents to send me to a sleep-away performing arts camp when I was 7 and ever since then I’ve wanted to be an actor.
What advice would you give to the new generation of gay teenagers that are afraid of coming out?
I would say there’s no need to rush it, everyone’s journey is unique and however you do it is the right way.
Who are your role models and inspirations?
Which is more dangerous? Femme-shaming or hyper-masculinity in the LGBT community?
I think they’re both dangerous and we should just accept each other and ourselves for who we are.
Tell us something about yourself that we do not know.
I’ve never been to Greece!
What are your next steps?
Hopefully a trip to Greece!
*all images are courtesy of Clark Moore