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What To Know About Reese Gonzales, Star Of ‘Aristotle And Dante’

Gen Zers, we’ve got a new breakout star on our hands. The new romance film Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe, out in theaters on Sept. 8, stars Reese Gonzales in the lead role. Gonzales plays Dante, a Mexican-American, free-spirited teen who builds a close bond with Aristotle (Ari) Mendoza, played by Max Pelayo. While exploring their relationship, Dante helps Ari to see the world differently while on his road to self-discovery, making this the perfect coming-of-age film. Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe, which is written and directed by Aitch Alberto, is based on a novel of the same name by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Although the book came out in 2012, it recently grew in popularity on BookTok. 

While this film isn’t Gonzales’ first acting credit, it’s sure to skyrocket him to stardom. The romantic drama follows a summer of other popular on-screen LGBTQ+ romances, including Heartstopper and Red, White & Royal Blue. With Aristotle and Dante’s premiere finally here, fans are going to want to know more about the movie’s cast, especially Gonzales. Here are seven things to know about Gonzales that might just have you falling in love with him — if you haven’t already.

Just like his Aristotle and Dante co-star, Max Pelayo, Gonzales also plays the electric guitar.

In addition to being an actor, Gonzales is also a musician. He plays the keyboard, guitar, and drums. On Apr. 28, Gonzales posted a video of himself playing the guitar. He even gave Pelayo a shoutout for inspiring the post

Gonzales has two siblings and a dog named Teddy Bear.

Gonzales has a brother named Mason and a sister named Mya. He also has a dog named Teddy Bear, who’s clearly the main character in his family.

Gonzales is from Orange County, California.

Gonzales was born in Anaheim, California, and currently lives in Orange County with his parents, brother and sister, and their dog.

Gonzales was instantly “inspired by” his Aristotle and Dante character. 

In an interview with The Queer Review, Gonzales revealed that he instantly saw himself in Dante. 

“Dante is notoriously a free spirit and someone who truly, freely expresses himself. I’ve always been someone who yearns for that and who naturally is that way, but in a lot of ways that was snuffed out of me,” he said. “Growing up, I felt a lot like Ari, but when I first read the book and saw Dante, I was like, that’s how I want to be. I was so inspired by him, and I’m still inspired by him every day. Every day, I’m reminded to take a page out of his book and to just be myself.”

Gonzales created a playlist inspired by Dante.

In The Queer Review interview, Gonzales gave some insight into his off-screen relationship with Pelayo. 

“When Max and I first met after we found out that we got the roles, we instantly clicked. The chemistry was already very much there, so it was easy to translate that to the screen.” Gonzales and Pelayo also shared that they created music playlists inspired by their characters. “Well, Dante is very much into the oldies, but the oldies in ‘80s terms. So more like 1950s and ‘60s music,” Gonzales said. “He also likes some early ‘70s music, like The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie.”

Gonzales considers Dante his dream role.

“In 2018, I did a table read for a promotion for one of the early versions of the script. It was just a volunteer thing, there was no pay, no guarantee for a role,” he said on the pink carpet at Outfest Los Angeles 2023. “I read the book for it and I immediately fell in love with it and the character of Dante. It became my dream role from then on out.”

Gonzales knew he wanted to be an actor at a young age.

Gonzales realized his passion for acting when was cast in his elementary school’s production of Willy Wonka

“I was about 10 years old, in fifth grade at elementary school, and back then I didn’t really have a lot of close friends. Our school was putting on a production of Willy Wonka, and I thought, I’ll be Oompa Loompa just to occupy my time! But then I ended up getting one of the lead roles,” he told The Queer Review. “I remember a very distinct moment when I was standing up there and looking out into the audience, with all those lights on me. I thought, ‘I love this and I want to do more of this.’”

Bre is the Entertainment Editor at Her Campus. She oversees the entertainment verticals on the site, including celebrities, movies, television, and music coverage. During her college career, Bre was a contributing writer and Entertainment Editor for the Montclair State University chapter of Her Campus. After graduating in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in Communications and Media Arts, Bre worked as a full-time writer at Showbiz Cheat Sheet, where she pitched, edited, and wrote articles covering trending news, movies, television, and celebrities. Bre has also written and conducted interviews for the entertainment site Shadow and Act. When she's not writing, you can find Bre binging 'New Girl' or 'Modern Family' for the millionth time or listening to her assorted Spotify playlist. She also loves spending time with her family and keeping herself busy with a little retail therapy!