Home Entertainment Billy Eichner pushes Hollywood in new directions with the amazing romance Bros

Billy Eichner pushes Hollywood in new directions with the amazing romance Bros


Love is love. It was the rallying cry that prompted Australia to legalize same-sex marriage in 2017 after the coalition government led by Malcolm Turnbull conducted a national postal survey to gauge support from the electorate.

Knowing what we know now — ie. that the sky didn’t fall in and people didn’t get the right to marry donkeys—it’s fair to say that Betty Balg’s permission to publish her endorsement of equal treatment for LGBTQI+ people hasn’t gone out of date.

But the right result was reached, and this country overwhelmingly recognized that love between queer people is just as valid as love between those who identify as heterosexual.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking they are the same thing.

That’s the basic premise of Bros , a film that bills itself as the first gay rom-com from a major studio.

Conceived by American comedian Billy Eichner and written and directed by Nicholas Stoller (who created the 2008 hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Bros begins with Eichner’s character, Bobby, meeting a Hollywood studio executive.

In an amusing meta-nod to the audience, the well-intentioned performer asks Bobby, a popular New York podcast host, to write a script for a gay rom-com that will appeal to naturalistic audiences.

You know, something that will show this audience that love is love.

Bobby immediately dismisses the idea, asking if the studio would prefer an action movie with a gay man having sex with Jason “Aquaman” Momoa while dealing with a volcanic eruption.

To the Chief’s surprise, Bobby berates him for the very idea that love is love, explaining that queer love is quintessentially different because queer lives are different, and the pursuit of equality, while laudable, ignores the beauty and struggle inherent in those differences.

Having such a scene at the beginning of Bros is effectively a statement of intent, informing the audience that what follows does not strive for equality, but acts as an examination and celebration of what has come before and what may come next.

Whether or not straight audiences would like such a statement has been a topic of conversation since the film’s US release last month, when an underwhelming opening weekend prompted Eichner to express his thoughts on Twitter.

“Natural people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn’t show up for Bros,” the comedian tweeted. “And it’s disappointing, but it is what it is.”

Camera iconA scene from Bros. credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

It’s hard to argue with his assessment of what’s to blame for the film’s box office performance.

Bros opened in the US to a modest $7.7 million, despite critical acclaim, resulting in a Metacritic composite score of 77 out of 100.

Compare that to Ticket to Paradise , a thoroughly mediocre rom-com starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts that made $26 million in its opening weekend recently after hitting a Metacritic 50 .

Ticket to Paradise grossed over $150 million worldwide, far more than Bros could ever hope to achieve.

While this also speaks to the star’s appeal at the box office and the hindrances of its absence, it’s impossible to ignore the idea that mainstream audiences aren’t ready for Bros.

Perhaps Eichner should have actually cast Momoa.

“It’s going to be a sequel,” quips Eichner over the phone via PLAY. “If enough people watch Bros, maybe we’ll call Jason Momoa.

“As far as I know, I don’t believe that Jason Momoa is an LGBTQ person, so it was important to us that the film be filled with LGBTQ people, so it might not work for him, but we will keep him in mind.”

Casting naturalistic actors as queer characters is a Hollywood tradition, with notable recent examples including Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in “Broken Mountain,” Sean Penn as gay activist Harvey Milk in the 2008 film “Milk,” and Eddie Redmayne in the role of a trans woman in “Humpback Mountain”. Danish girl.

The Academy Awards can’t get enough of these performances: Over the past 20 years, more than 30 regular actors have received Oscar nominations for portraying queer characters.

What makes this especially offensive to the gay community is that in its 93-year history, the Academy has only awarded two Oscar nominations to an openly gay actor — and both went to Ian McKellen.

You better believe that fact is treated with biting satire in Bros.

“For years, the industry has been afraid to put an openly gay actor at the center of a major movie franchise, and frankly, that’s still extremely rare,” says Eichner.

Promotional images of Bros
Camera iconA scene from Bros. credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Then when you make a queer movie and people are worried about the box office, they say, ‘Well, we need a movie star to sell tickets,’ but guess what, there aren’t really that many gay stars to choose from.

“So financial and cultural fears lead to hiring a more famous person, and nine times out of 10 that person is going to be a naturalistic person because, you know, most movie stars are naturalistic because they didn’t allow a lot of the outspoken weirdos that people have to be movie stars, especially gay ones.”

Luke MacFarlane, one of Eichner’s co-stars and his love for the film, which came out in 2008 after playing a gay character on the TV series Brothers and Sisters, jumped at the chance to star in Brothers and Sisters.

“I’ve played a lot of normal characters in my career, and I haven’t had the opportunity to play so many characters that really deeply represent me personally,” McFarlane tells PLAY.

Both MacFarlane and Eichner are proud to tell queer stories that depart from traditional Hollywood tropes that have seen being gay as either something symbolic to grace the stage or traumatic to go through, the latter mostly used as Oscar bait. ” for straight actors.

“It’s important for gay people to see that we’re not just victims of our sexuality, I’ve never considered myself a victim, but I think historically we’ve been forced into that position,” Eichner says.

“Not that our lives aren’t complicated, but, you know, we’re joyful and happy people, and we go through the same things as everybody else.”

So, in that sense, maybe love is love after all.

Bros is in theaters now.


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