Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram @billyeichner and @the_symone
Billy Eichner’s gay rom-com Bros will star RuPaul's Drag Race season 13 winner, Symone, as part of an all LGBTQ cast - a first in an industry grappling with a debate over who should play queer roles.
The American Horror Story actor, 43, who is gay, is writing, producing, and starring in the film - and is the first to do so as well as this being the first film of its kind from a major Hollywood studio - which will centre on two gay men with commitment issues attempting to start a relationship.
In August it was announced that openly gay actor Luke MacFarlane (Brothers and Sisters) had been cast as his love interest. Now we’ve had news that the entire principal cast, including those playing heterosexual characters, is openly LGBTQ.
"It is a long overdue dream come true"
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Eichner and MacFarlane will be joined not only by Drag Race's Ebony Enchantress, but TS Madison, the author, activist, and occasional Drag Race guest judge, who is trans.
Miss Lawrence, a gender non-conforming entertainer (The United States vs. Billie Holiday); Guillermo Diaz (Weeds) and Guy Branum, who has in the past written for Eichner’s Billy on the Street, round off the cast.
Eichner told THR: “I could not be more proud or excited about the historic nature of the all openly LGBTQ+ cast of Bros. After queer actors have spent decades watching straight actors capitalize both artistically and professionally by playing LGBTQ+ characters, it is a long overdue dream come true to be able to assemble this remarkable, hilarious cast.
“And while Bros may be the first of its kind in several ways, my real hope is that it is only the first of many opportunities for openly LGBTQ+ ensembles to shine and show the world all we are capable of as actors, beyond just being the wacky sidekick, token queer or a straight movie star’s ‘gay best friend.’ And beyond all of that, this cast is fucking hysterical and you’re going to love them.”
On Twitter, the actor posted: "I could not possibly be more excited to tell you the ENTIRE main cast for my rom com BROS will be ALL openly LGBTQ+ actors!!!"
This is the best thing EVER! I could not possibly be more excited to tell you the ENTIRE main cast for my rom com BROS will be ALL openly LGBTQ+ actors!!! Yes, even in all the straight roles! This is a first for a major studio film. LET’S MAKE HISTORY!!! https://t.co/foLNecGlUU— billy eichner (@billyeichner) September 23, 2021
The debate about who should play queer roles has gripped Hollywood for the last few years with many taking complaint at straight actors taking queer roles, with queer actors often not getting a look in or equal consideration for straight roles.
Eichner addressed this previously while speaking to Deadline in 2020. He criticised the fact that it's not a "two-way street" after seeing casting lists for Bros' straight characters which featured no queer actors, but plenty of straight actors on lists for queer roles.
Bros is being directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) is co-producing.
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