In their new movie Love, Simon, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel play parents to a high school-aged teen struggling to tell his loved ones he’s gay. During a Q&A following a special preview screening of the film Friday the two actors, who are also parents, were asked how they would respond if their children came out as LGBTQ and both shared that they would be “gung-ho” with their support.
“I truly just want my kid to be happy and passionate about what it is that he loves,” Duhamel, 45, said of his son, Axl Jack, 4. “If he came out he was gay, so be it, if that makes him happy. I truly believe that’s what it would be and maybe it’s because I waited awhile before I became a parent.”
Garner, 45, noted that their kids are growing up in a different time and her children, Violet, 12, Seraphina, 9, and Samuel, 5, already speak open-mindedly about the possibility of marrying a man or a woman.
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“My kids are growing up saying, ‘Someday when I get married, I don’t know if I’ll marry a man or a woman,'” she said. “That door is open in a way that it never has been and they really do know, ‘Oh this is so and so and this is his husband,’ and ‘this is so and so and this is her wife,’ and that has completely been normalized, at least for my kids and hopefully will be for this next generation.”
Nick Robinson, who plays Simon in the film, said he hopes that people feel empowered to speak up after seeing the film.
“Take your power back,” he said. “It’s different for everyone, but just be bold. Be strong, loud, be happy and confident with what you are trying to say.”
Garner went on to say that if any of her children are gay, she hopes they choose to confide in her.
“I think it would be a conversation that somebody would be a part of, hopefully me, but somebody in their lives will be a part of from a much earlier stage, so that it wouldn’t be as involved with the teen angst,” she said. “But I certainly, my kids would know that I would be super gung-ho.”
“No matter what, you love your kid,” added Duhamel. “No matter what.”
The film, based on the popular novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, also stars Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse), and Tony Hale (Veep).
“It’s not the kind of thing that has been made,” Garner said of the film’s warm-hearted, unique and superhero-free storyline. “I think the power of [director] Greg Berlanti, his success is definitely the motor behind it, but the important thing is for people to go out and see it or it won’t happen again. We can live in a world of superheroes, they’re awesome and there’s a place for it, but we can also support the movies that we want to see more of. I hope this is one that people will go and sit in the theater as a group and enjoy it.”
Love, Simon opens in theaters March 16.