By Gwen Aviles
A “Love, Simon” spinoff series is in the works at Disney+, the Walt Disney Company’s planned streaming video service.
Hailed by critics for its LGBTQ inclusivity, “Love, Simon” is a 2018 coming-of-age film about a closeted gay teen growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta. The film, which earned nearly $67 million worldwide, was based on Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.”
“As I’m sure you might have heard, we’re getting a Love, Simon spinoff series on the new Disney+ service!” Albertalli wrote on Twitter. “I’m extremely excited and I can’t say much.”
Though Albertalli did not share many details surrounding the project, she did confirm that the series will not be an adaptation of her book “Leah on the Offbeat” — the sequel to “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” — but rather a different story “set in the world of Simon.”
Directed by Greg Berlanti, “Love, Simon” won the prize for best feature film at last month’s GLAAD Media Awards event in Los Angeles. During his acceptance speech, Berlanti, who is gay, said he would have loved to have a movie like “Love, Simon” during his childhood.
“We made this film as a chance to give LGBTQ kids back — like I was — a piece of their childhood, an opportunity to go to a movie theater, get a popcorn with their family and their friends and not have to imagine if the lead character shared their sexuality or make the gay character sidekick bigger in their head, but to actually see themselves and their story up there on the big screen — and to remind audiences of all genders and sexualities that all love stories are just as entertaining and just as equal,” Berlanti said.
Berlanti will not be involved with the Disney+ television adaptation because of his contract with Warner Bros., according to Variety. However, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, writers of the “Love, Simon” screenplay, may be returning to the series as showrunners.
Rich Ferraro, a spokesperson for GLAAD, a national LGBTQ media advocacy organization, applauded Disney’s decision to create a “Love, Simon” spinoff series.
“’Love, Simon’ changed the game for the film industry by demonstrating that audiences today are eager for authentic stories of LGBTQ youth who find acceptance and even romance,” Ferraro said in a statement shared with NBC News. “Simon’s coming out resonated with so many LGBTQ young people, and the world of television will now bring it to new audiences and provide a platform for more of the students from the film, as well as new characters, to tell their own stories in the same touching and relatable way.”
The “Love, Simon” spinoff is one of many scripted originals slated to join Disney+, which launches in November. “High Fidelity,” “Diary of a Female President,” “Book of Enchantment” and a “High School Musical” remake will also be available on the streaming service.
Representatives from Disney+ did not immediately respond for a request for comment.
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