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Billy Eichner expertly skewers Hollywood over its treatment of gay stories

Eichner's new film Bros is the first gay rom-com from a major studio and will feature an all-LGBTQ principal cast.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: YouTube/The Jimmy Kimmel Show

Billy Eichner dropped the mic in front of Hollywood on Wednesday (27 April), joking that we had to have two films about a talking hedgehog before we could get a gay rom-com. 

The comic expertly made his point while previewing his upcoming film, Bros, at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

Eichner has written and also starred in Bros, which will focus on two gay men (Eichner and Luke MacFarlane) with commitment issues attempting to start a relationship.

“You suspend disbelief for Chewbacca”

Addressing the audience at Universal’s event Eichner quipped: “I think it’s important that before we got one movie about a gay couple we got two movies about a talking hedgehog.”

He also poked fun at Hollywood’s history of casting straight men in queer roles but not vice versa, as reported by Indiewire.

“You don’t believe a gay man can play straight but you suspend disbelief for Chewbacca.”

He also clarified when talking about the first gay rom-com from a major studio that he wasn’t “talking about the new Buzz Lightyear movie” – a reference to Disney’s Lightyear, which recently had a same-sex kiss restored following a backlash over its removal.

Eichner showed off an exclusive clip at CinemaCon as well showing his character, a podcast host who is hired by a major studio to write a gay rom-com. 

“I don’t want any Hollywood bullshit, no scenes where two gay guys are about to hook up and all of a sudden the camera conveniently pulls away.” his character says. 

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A post shared by Billy Eichner (@billyeichner)

Bros, which is being produced by Universal, will feature an all LGBTQ principal cast including Eichner, MacFarlane, Drag Race’s Symone, Bowen Yang, and Harvey Fierstein.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about this Billy said it came in the film’s development.

“I always assumed that the powers that be were going to have — if I was playing one of the main roles, which I was obviously going to do because that was the whole idea — my love interest be played by a famous straight actor,” he told the industry bible.

“We all kind of made the decision at the same time, including Universal, that as the movie was developing, it didn’t make sense for the other lead actor to be played by a straight actor. That was going against everything the movie was trying to say.”

He goes on to say the film is making a “powerful statement” in its casting of even straight characters with queer actors, as well as showing normal queer relationships on the big screen. 

Mentioning films such as Pretty Woman, Annie Hall, and When Harry Met Sally Eichner says: “They were never about people like me. There are no stories about us falling in love, navigating love, dating, relationships, and you don’t realize what you haven’t gotten until you finally see it.

“This is an event. It’s the first of its kind. You can feel that in the theater when you’re watching it.”

Bros is set for release on 28 October in the UK.

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