Homoerotic frat boys are the stuff of gay erotic fantasy. And actually, come to think of it, so apparently is Dave Franco. So it makes a kind of roundabout sense that — spoiler alert — Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising finds Franco’s character in a relationship with another man.
As director Nicholas Stoller recently explained to Yahoo! Movies, the decision to have the character come out not only came from the first film’s homoerotic undertones, but from a journalist questioning why the director had never included a gay character in any of his previous movies. “I was like, ‘I don’t know why. I literally don’t know. I have no good answer for that,’” Stoller said. “So this seemed like an organic way to have that happen.”
(Oh, Nicholas. I’m sure there’s someone else who has time to explain the ways in which Hollywood has either ignored or misrepresented the LGBT experience to you. I’ll just send you a copy of The Celluloid Closet and call it a day.)
The upcoming sequel — which pits Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne against a rowdy sorority lead by Chloë Grace Moretz — finds Franco’s former frat bro Pete essentially inverting the old four-year-queer, gay-till-graduation stereotype. He’s graduated and engaged to his boyfriend, played by hilarious out actor John Early.
Of course, Franco’s character’s role is significantly reduced in Neighbors 2. Meanwhile, director Stoller implies that having Zac Efron’s ripped and often shirtless lead go gay was never an option: “A lot of Zac’s motivations in the first movie, especially with his girlfriend and stuff, seemed pretty straight. It felt like it might seem like a stunt if we made him gay. But it seemed to just work with Dave.”