Billy Eichner’s new movie has an entirely LGBTQ+ cast

Bros will even feature queer actors playing — gasp — straight characters.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 27: Actor Billy Eichner speaks about his upcoming movie "Bros" during Univ...
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Culture

It’s long been a scourge of the LGBTQ+ community that for decades, straight actors have played a good deal of the queer roles offered in Hollywood. It’s the opposite of representation — and borders on erasure. While the entertainment industry wants to use queer narratives for nuance, it has been a hard won battle to let that demographic actually lend their talents to telling their own stories. It only adds insult to injury that many straight actors often receive major accolades and awards buzz for “playing gay.” (See: Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, and Cate Blanchett in Carol, just to name a few). But this week, Billy Eichner shattered that stale trope at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. On Wednesday, he announced his new project with Universal, Bros, which is the first major studio film to feature an entirely LGBTQ+ cast.

“Vegas! Are you ready to make history? It only took a century!” he yelled to the 3,000 industry insiders present at the conference put on by the National Association of Theatre Owners. Bros is a romantic comedy about two men (Eichner and Luke Macfarlane) who are having trouble committing to one another. Jim Rash, Harvey Fierstein, Monica Raymund, Amanda Bearse, Guillermo Diaz, Dot-Marie Jones, and Benito Skinner also star in the film.

Not only will Bros allow for authentic LGBTQ+ representation of queer characters, but queer actors will also be playing straight roles. Eichner took the opportunity to breathe levity into the notion, saying, “Look at all the things moviegoers believe — Star Wars, Spider-Man, and Transformers. You don’t think a gay man can play straight but you believe in Chewbacca?” (Don’t tell Aaron Sorkin, though; the filmmaker recently balked at the idea that representation in this fashion truly matters.)

Eichner noted that while they wanted to provide opportunities for LGBTQ+ actors, Bros won’t be following another upsetting stereotype in queer filmmaking: the obsession with tragedy. “I know it’s weird for me to say this about my movie, but it is unlike any comedy or romantic comedy that you have ever seen,” he said at CinemaCon. “It’s not about gay people suffering tragically. It’s about how hard it is to find another tolerable human being to go through life with.” It sounds a bit Schitt’s Creek-ian — a show that famously let queer people exist in a fictional universe without fetishizing them. Bros will certainly be a highly-anticipated fall blockbuster, debuting later this year on September 30.