Billy Eichner Says 'Bros' is First Major Studio Gay Rom-Com

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday April 28, 2022
Originally published on April 28, 2022

Billy Eichner
Billy Eichner  (Source:AP)

Billy Eichner says his upcoming film is the first major studio release to be a gay rom-com... and says that yes, gay actors can play straight, IndieWire reports.

"The ever-amusing Eichner made an appearance in Las Vegas for Universal's presentation at CinemaCon," the article detailed. "The comic, who's being awarded Comedy Star of the Year at the industry showcase, is the mastermind behind 'Bros,' a rom-com set to be released September 30 that has a cast entirely featuring out LGBTQ actors."

And those actors play a host of straight roles. As previously reported at EDGE, "The film features an all-LGBTQ principal cast and will give LGBTQ representation a giant leap forward."

Though the controversy over straight and cisgender actors playing LGBTQ+ characters has heated up over the last few years, with everyone from out "Sex and the City" alum Mario Cantone to straight "Glee" alum Darren Criss, to Andrew Garfield and Benedict Cumberbatch weighing in, IndieWire offered some historical perspective.

"Straight actors have played gay characters many, many times across Hollywood history," the publication pointed out, noting that LGBTQ+ publication The Advocate "has even compiled a list of 60 times a straight actor has received an Academy Award nomination for playing a gay character."

The reverse, IndieWire noted, is "quite a bit more rare". Because "Bros" breaks the mold and flips the script in that regard, Eichner — who co-wrote the screenplay and also stars — expects the movie to "be a breakthrough for the LGBTQ community," the article added.

Eichner reiterated the point with a wisecrack, saying, "You don't believe a gay man can play straight but you suspend disbelief for Chewbacca."

While he was at it, Eichner made sure to set the record straight, underscoring that "Bros" will be the first gay rom-com from a studio, and not "the new Buzz Lightyear movie."

That film, which features a lesbian character, recently made headlines after Disney executives, responding to criticism from Pixar animation studio employees, ordered a previously-cut scene of the character and her girlfriend sharing a kiss to be restored to the film.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.