By Rebecca White

From the small screen to the big screen, actor Blake Cooper Griffin has garnered success through diverse roles in shows like 90210 and JESSIE and Hollywood films including Ride and Life of a King. His new film Love Is All You Need challenges societal norms and showcases a world where homosexuality is accepted and heterosexuality is bullied. In our exclusive celebrity interview, the energetic and charming actor talks about his new film, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and his best relationship advice.

Blake Cooper Griffin Opens Up About New Movie

The modern day Romeo and Juliet, Love Is All You Need is a tale of star-crossed lovers, Ryan and Jude, who fall in love in a world where being gay is the norm and being straight, like they are, is looked down upon. Although Griffin plays the antagonist and is not the most likable character, he says the script was innovative and featured a fascinating concept that he had never seen before. “When you take the universal story of falling in love, on top of the flipping of the worlds, and combine all of the talented people I worked with, it turns into a dynamite movie,” he says.

The film is inspired by true events, and each person involved with the movie had a mission to tell a story that would change people’s lives. In order to prepare for a dynamic and complex role like Bill Bradley, Griffin did a lot of research including reading articles and watching videos. “I didn’t want to play a stereotype or archetype of a bully,” he explains. “I wanted to play it truthfully and figure out why somebody would have these hateful feelings for another person.”

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But it wasn’t entirely imagination that helped the actor prepare for his role. “I certainly, like most people, have had situations in my life where I was excluded,” he shares. As a child, his family moved around a lot, and he was often “the new kid” in school. “I knew what it was like to be cast out and not have someone to sit with at lunch,” he reveals in our celebrity interview. So when he saw someone being bullied, he would always try to stick up for the other kids. “I would encourage people to do the same because instances of bullying goes down when people say something,” he adds.

Although he plays the bad guy, Griffin says that he does share similarities with his character. “He’s very passionate; he’s a perfectionist; and he has a lot of energy,” the star says. “Unfortunately, Bill is putting all of his energy behind something I wouldn’t, but I connected with him on those levels, which is important.” The actor says he never judges where a character is coming from; instead, he focuses on finding the truth. The antagonist of a film is usually coming from a complex place because there is some conflict within that is leading them to take another route. “It is essential for the story that the character be played truthfully so people can learn from it,” he says. “We have to ask ourselves why Bill Bradley is taking the action he’s taking. He is told by some extreme forces in the world about intolerance and hate, and those forces exist in our world too.”

Love Is All You Need shows people how to resist that negativity and recognize that everyone wants to live their life being who they are without persecution. “If love is your guide, you can’t go wrong,” he says. “When we divide each other, that’s when we fail. But when we come together, that’s when we do great things.”

While the movie tackles some serious societal issues, that doesn’t mean the cast and crew didn’t have a blast making the film. Griffin and co-star Emily Osment had Pop Tart eating competitions, while he and Briana Evigan would play basketball during the night shoots. “I’m closer to this cast than I have been with any other cast I’ve worked with,” Griffin says. “We all became a family.”

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Love Is All You Need directly addresses current controversies of discrimination and diversity. Recently, Hollywood has been under scrutiny since #OscarsSoWhite started trending. In 2016, only white actors and actresses were among the chosen few in the top four categories, for the second year in a row. Griffin believes that Hollywood directors need to seek out a diverse cast in their films. “We’re telling stories about the world, and the world is diverse, so the stories we tell should be just as diverse,” he says.

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This message of diversity and the apparent discrimination is showcased in the new film as well. “No matter the difference, we’re all human beings, and we’re all a part of the same human story,” the actor shares. “We can all connect on that. There’s no need to say us versus them.”

Whether it be sexuality, race, or even religion, the film promotes tolerance, love, and respect. “Extremism in any form can be harmful,” Griffin says. “The movies calls out the misuse of religion to divide people.” It’s also important to note that the film displays characters finding refuge in their faith, which leaves the audience to ask themselves which is more appropriate and which is the more loving way to approach faith.

Love Is All You Need Star Shares Relationship Advice

Of course, the main theme of the new film is love, and the star says there’s something to be learned from watching fictional characters on-screen. “The message of any love story you watch is that we all want love,” he says. “People need to take that seriously and not be reckless with other people’s hearts. Everyone has a desire to be loved, and we should treat that with respect.” In particular, with Love Is All You Need, viewers witness a couple deal with the heartache of not being accepted by their parents and peers. If this happens to you, Griffins love advice is to have courage. “You deserve to love whomever you choose, and if anyone tells you differently, that comes from their own fear and their own problems,” he says.

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In his personal life, the famous actor avoids relationship problems by seeking out someone who is loyal, has a sense of humor, and is trustworthy. “I have a rule for myself,” Griffin says. “I try to control what I can and let the rest go.” Although love isn’t easy, at the end of our lives, we will remember those we love over anything else. “I would encourage people to hold that idea in mind and know that the experience of loving another person is one of the greatest experiences one can have.”

Now that Love Is All You Need continues to be released in select film festivals and theatres, the busy actor is finishing up his next project, romantic comedy Before You Say I Do. You can also catch him on an upcoming episode of House of Lies on Showtime.

For more information about Blake Cooper Griffin or Love Is All You Need, check out Twitter.