Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram @billyeichner and Wiki
Billy Eicher has called out The West Wing director, Aaron Sorkin for his "completely ignorant" comments regarding the debate about who should play queer roles in Hollywood.
During a recent interview, Sorkin shared his thoughts on the debate saying that gay or straight weren't "actable" characteristics. It came in response to criticism of Spanish actor Javier Bardem playing the Cuban actor Desi Arnaz in Sorkin's film Being the Ricardos.
Eichner has recently wrapped filming on his film Bros, which is Hollywood's first-ever studio-produced gay rom-com and features an entirely LGBTQ principal cast.
Taking to Twitter Eichner said Sorkin's comments were, "Completely ignorant of how Hollywood has treated its openly LGBTQ+ actors for a century."
Continuing he said, "Talking about s*** he doesn’t fully comprehend. [Sorkin is] Scared that Hollywood isn’t (entirely) ruled by straight men anymore."
Referring to a familiar filming trope used in Sorkin's work Eichner added: "Go write yourself a “walk and talk” back into the past. Merry Christmas!"
Completely ignorant of how Hollywood has treated its openly LGBTQ+ actors for a century. Talking about shit he doesn’t fully comprehend. Scared that Hollywood isn’t (entirely) ruled by straight men anymore. Go write yourself a “walk and talk” back into the past. Merry Christmas! https://t.co/PMpO36ULMs— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 20, 2021
Speaking to Deadline in 2020 on the debate around who should play queer roles Eichner, who wrote, produced, and stars in Bros says he's been in situations where there were straight actors being considered for gay roles, but not the other way around - even for his own film.
"Before I raised my voice, for the straight characters in the movie, there were never gay actors on the lists for those roles. I saw it with my own eyes. It’s not a two-way street."
He told the publication that it was important for gay actors to tell their own stories and lived experiences adding: "I think we need to stop undervaluing [...] the feeling that if a gay person plays a gay person it’s not acting but if a straight person plays a gay person, we give them an Oscar."
He clarified that there doesn't need to be "a rule, like straight actors can never play gay," but that things are "lopsided".
Bros, which will focus on two men with commitment issues attempting to start a relationship, is expected to hit cinemas in August 2022.