queer bros before bros

Billy Eichner on gay-for-pay actors and what you won’t see in his new movie ‘Bros’

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Apparently we’re living in a renaissance of gay rom-coms, and you’ll be hearing no complaints here!

Hot on the heels of our warm welcome to Fire Island, the buzz is ramping up for Billy Eichner‘s Bros, which is set to debut in theaters on September 30. In an exclusive interview with Empire Magazine, the Billy On The Street star shed some light on his film’s gag-worthy cast, a proper “Who’s Who?” of queer talent. As has been previously reported, many of these actors will be playing straight characters—in fact, Eichner confirms that every single principal member of the cast is from the LGBTQ community.

“It felt like the right thing to do ethically, and creatively it adds something that’s hard to articulate,” the actor—who co-wrote the movie with its director, Nicholas Stoller, shares. “To look around and know we’re making this historic movie and that all of us are representing the entire community… it was really f*cking magical.”

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

The debate over whether or not straight actors should be able to play queer characters has been raging for years now, but Bros‘ queer casting coup throws an interesting wrench in things. What about when the tables are turned? Eichner gives his two cents: “In theory, I have no problem with straight actors playing gay if they’re worthy of the role. But shouldn’t gay actors get to play our own characters? Can anybody flesh out an LGBTQ+ character like an LGBTQ+ actor?”

Amen!

As a light refresher, here are just a few of the gays we’ll be seeing on the big screen in Bros: Luke Macfarlane (Brothers And Sisters), theater legend Harvey Fierstein, Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live), Guillermo Díaz (Scandal), icon Ts Madison, Dot-Maries Jones (Glee), Jim Rash (Community), Monica Raymund (Chicago Fire)—*deep breath*—comedian Guy Branum, RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14 crowned queen Symone, Amanda Bearse (Married… With Children), Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye For The Straight Guy), Eve Lindley (Dispatches From Elsewhere), Brock Ciarlelli (The Middle), Miss Lawrence (The United States Vs. Billie Holiday), and many more. Phew!

Related: 13 cheesy queer comedies from the ’90s for your binging pleasure

For Eichner, it’s all about putting queer voices front and center, and depicting the lives of those in the LGBTQ community as accurately as possible. He knows it’s not as easy as taking a straight rom-com, replacing the woman with a man, and then calling it a day. To quote the infamous homophobic phrase: “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” and perhaps, as Eichner posits, that’s a good thing—we should be making more space for our own original stories.

“As much as I love When Harry Met Sally, you can’t make When Harry Met Sally that just happens to star two men. Because gay dating is not the same,” Eichner reiterates. “We have our own rules and types of relationship, which can be very quote-unquote ‘heteronormative’ or they can be very unconventional… It has to be as warm and funny as those classic romantic comedies, but it has to be authentic to the gay experience.”

So, is Bros destined to be a new rom-com classic? We’ll have to wait ’til September 30 to find out. In the meantime, you can revisit its raunchy, “Red Band” trailer below.