Billy Eichner Hopes Gay Romcom Bros Will Act As ‘A Statement To Evil, Homophobic Motherf––kers’ – Exclusive Image

Bros – exclusive

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Shocking as it seems, Bros marks a major first in Hollywood. It’s not just the long-awaited first leading role for Billy Eichner, the comedian who made a name for himself in hilarious internet comedy series Billy On The Street and livened up many a supporting part in recent years. It’s not just the first live-action film from Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller since 2016’s (underrated) Bad Neighbours 2. No, somehow, it’s the first cinematically-released gay romcom from a major mainstream movie studio… ever. Produced by Judd Apatow – and arriving in the vein of movies he’s helped usher to the screen like Trainwreck, Bridesmaids, and The Big Sick – it’s a huge step forward, featuring a near-entire LGBTQ+ cast, and unfolding a love story between Eichner’s podcaster Bobby and Luke Macfarlane’s Aaron.

For Eichner, who co-wrote the movie with Stoller, its arrival feels even more vital in a year where Roe v. Wade has been overturned and the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the US feel like they could be under threat. Not that it was intended as a political missive. “I never imagined how politically relevant it would be,” says Eichner. If Bros hits big at the box office as a piece of mainstream entertainment telling an authentic gay love story, he hopes it’ll “send a statement to all these evil, homophobic motherfuckers who want to drag us back to a time when we were scared to be ourselves.”

It’s a far cry from Eichner’s early days in the business, where his expectations were severely tempered. “As I started to make the rounds in Hollywood, the message I was getting was that the biggest thing I could aspire to be was maybe the wacky neighbour on a bad sitcom,” he says. “I only encountered homophobia for the first time in my life as an adult in Hollywood. All those dreams I had as a kid, when I didn’t know any better, they now felt impossible.” As leading man and co-writer, he got to shape the direction of Bros along with Stoller – a director who isn’t part of the LGBTQ+ community, but who was keen to get this one right. “The film was Nick’s idea,” Eichner explains. “He brought it to me. And there aren’t a ton of openly gay directors who’ve made as many studio comedies as Nick and Judd. This is a new process for me; I needed someone with a lot of experience.”

For Stoller, part of his role was keeping Eichner’s faith alive after years of the studios declining to focus on LGBTQ+ narratives. “I don’t think he ever believed me when I told him [Universal] would want to do this,” says the director. “It’s like PTSD or something. It’s horrible. I think he’s been told ‘no’ so many times that he didn’t believe they’d let us do this. I don’t think he believed me until the movie was locked.” And locked the movie is – loaded, too, for a big, beautiful cinematic launch in a few weeks time, and about to send a statement to those evil, homophobic… well, you get the picture.

Empire – October 2022 cover

Read Empire’s full Bros feature – talking to Eichner, Stoller, Apatow and Macfarlane about their milestone romcom – in the Glass Onion issue, on sale now and available to order online here. Bros hits UK cinemas from 28 October.

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