Ahead of the launch of the second season of the GLAAD Media Award-nominated, hit LGBTQ series Love, Victor on Hulu today, Friday June 11th, The Queer Review’s editor James Kleinmann spoke with its lead cast—Michael Cimino, Rachel Hilson, Anthony Turpel, Bebe Wood, Mason Gooding, George Sear, and Isabella Ferreira—in a series of exclusive interviews.
The television spinoff of Greg Berlanti’s 2018 movie Love, Simon starring Nick Robinson, based on Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, is set in the same world as the book and the film, but focuses on the coming out journey of teenager Victor (Michael Cimino) and his burgeoning relationship with his boyfriend Benji (George Sear). Having just told his religious parents that he’s gay at the end of the first season, season two picks up where things left off with Victor navigating their differing reactions to the news, as well of those of his younger sister Pilar (Isabella Ferreira), his ex-girlfriend Mia (Rachel Hilson), his high school basketball teammate Andrew (Mason Gooding), and his best friend Felix (Anthony Turpel) and his girlfriend Lake (Bebe Wood). Meanwhile, as the newly out Victor is learning to embrace his sexuality, he becomes less reliant on turning to Simon for advice and in fact as the season progresses he finds himself serving as a mentor figure to a fellow gay student, and Pilar’s new bff, Rahim (Anthony Keyvan).
As we see Victor and Benji become more intimate with one another in the second season, Michael Cimino was determined to represent their sexual relationship “very accurately” as he told The Queer Review. “There are so many sex scenes in movies and television between straight couples all the time, so why isn’t there that for LGBT people?”
“I remember my sexual awakening as a kid watching a movie and there was this naked woman that jumped into a pool, I was like, ‘Wow, this is so crazy!’ So why isn’t there that for the LGBT community? George Sear and I really wanted to make sure that it felt explorative and fresh and new and exciting. George and I actually opted out of using an intimacy coach because we felt very comfortable with one another.”
“Ultimately, me and Michael, when we’re working together and doing these scenes, want to really honor the writing”, George Sear told us. “We have a lot of great writers who are LGBTQ and bring their truth to these stories and authenticity to them. Michael’s a great actor to work with and we’re both very dedicated to wanting to do our best to honor that.”
Sear continues, addressing the feedback from fans of the series that he regularly receives, “I get messages, probably on daily basis at the moment, and they’re always so positive, particularly from LGBT youth that are seeing the show and it’s making them feel seen and heard. It really is an honor to be a part of a project that’s having an impact. Some of my older friends who are gay who watch the show usually say, ‘wow, I wish I had a show like that growing up.’ That also means a lot. I hope it means that there is a demand for stories like this and hopefully that we continue to go in that direction.”
As the group of friends head out of town for the weekend to Benji’s country cabin (actually more of a mansion) in the woods, Anthony Turpel and Bebe Wood’s characters Felix and Lake also begin to talk about sex.
“I really like the fact that there were so many conversations that were had before anyone had sex”, Bebe Wood told us, “which I think is so beneficial, because that’s healthy, that’s what should be happening, right? You should be able to have open, honest conversations with your partner about that. To show that these are teenagers having those conversations, I think that’s so healthy and so wonderful, and it should never be something that is viewed as taboo.” Her co-star Anthony Turpel concurs, “communication is a huge part of any relationship and I 100% agree that there was so much communication prior, and I think that sets a really good example of how things should be handled.”
Faced with homophobia from some of his basketball teammates after coming out at Creekwood High, with them no longer wanting him to use the communal showers, a frustrated Victor says to Andrew at one point, “watching Queer Eye doesn’t make you an ally”. It was a line that resonated with Mason Gooding: “That line to me was so powerful as well as it is very funny”, he told The Queer Review. “The idea that I think a lot of people find comfort in, specifically in the ally atmosphere, is that ‘Oh, because I’ve consumed the media, that means I’m inherently an ally, and helping’. Well, there are two parts to that. You can consume the media, but it’s about how you interact with that internally, and then by process externally thereafter, that actually counts and makes that meaningful impact.”
“For example, I could watch as much Queer Eye as I do, which is a fair amount—or the line was originally I believe, Call Me By Your Name, which was another big moment when I think people felt more close to the community than they were actually willing to demonstrate—but I would challenge an audience listening to that, to think about how that media and those stories affect them and how they can apply the lessons learned to their own lives, or their own understanding of the people who they know. That’s what you hope for at least. You have to wait and see if people actually do that.”
Considering what it means to be a valuable LGBTQ+ ally, Rachel Hilson adds, “I think allyship is not always easy or glamorous. We have these really awesome shows that represent the LGBTQ+ community, but I think some of the smaller acts, or the seemingly smaller acts, are sometimes the most impactful ones. I think it’s about being mindful every day about how you can be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and to all communities too.”
For Isabella Ferreira, she feels “grateful to be a part of a show like this. I’m constantly learning new things and learning what it means to be a good human being in general. I think the show is amazing”, she told The Queer Review.
Season 2 of Love, Victor is streaming on Hulu from Friday June 14th 2021.