At the beginning of the series, it was clear that Simon would be a significant part of the story from a distance, but the unexpected cameo was the icing on the cake for many fans of the original story, according to a report from Entertainment Tonight.
Love, Victor follows Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino), a sexually confused high school student looking for a fresh start after moving to a new city. He enrolled at Creekwood High and quickly captured the attention of the school’s most popular girl, Mia (Rachel Hilson). The two started dating, but the relationship didn’t feel quite right so Victor turned to Simon for advice. The two sent DMs back and forth until Victor decided to visit Simon in New York.
Unfortunately, Simon was out of town but he arranged for the teenager to meet his boyfriend and high school sweetheart, Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale). It was assumed that Simon wouldn’t appear in the series, but then he showed up. Showrunner Elizabeth Berger said this was done deliberately to keep Victor in focus.
“Nick Robinson was very excited to be part of this,” she said.
“[We] very much in agreement that this should be Victor’s story, so for the most part, the voiceover was the perfect level of Simon. You wanted to get a taste and you wanted him to feel built into the fabric of the series, but we all felt this should be Victor’s show.”
During the trip to New York, Victor was introduced to the many different ways someone could exist in the world as gay. He met Bram and Simon’s parade of flatmates, along with openly gay former pro-basketball player Jason Collins and drag queen Katya Zamolodchikova. Victor also went to his first gay club, which is where he ran into Simon after stepping outside for air.
Showrunner Isaac Aptaker, who worked with Berger on both projects, said it was an exciting scene to shoot. He said Robinson was already in New York at the time, which allowed them to fly Cimino to meet him there.
“Michael was just so, so excited to meet Nick,” Aptaker said. “He felt like he was taking a passing of the torch, and he was just buzzing the whole day. Then Nick got to set, and it was really cool for them to finally get to meet face to face.”
In a separate interview, Cimino reflected on meeting Robinson for the first time, saying the older actor was “unbelievably nice.”