LGBTQ+ History, Queer Casting, and Orgy Scenes: Billy Eichner Talks Gay Rom-Com 'Bros'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday May 22, 2022
Originally published on May 18, 2022

Billy Eichner
Billy Eichner  (Source:Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)

Billy Eichner and co-writer/director Nicholas Stoller opened up about making their gay rom-com "Bros."

That includes an orgy scene or two, according to the New York Times.

The duo spoke with the Times about the project, which was near the end of production when they were interviewed.

NYT reporter Alexis Soloski describes watching them film a scene in which Eichner strolls through a gallery dedicated to LGBTQ+ history makers, talking about LGBTQ+ persecution and other struggles.

The article said that the upcoming feature "isn't exactly the first major-studio gay rom-com," despite Eichner's claims to the contrary. "That rainbow laurel probably goes to 2018's 'Love Simon,' distributed by 20th Century Fox. And TriStar Pictures produced 'Happiest Season,' a lesbian holiday rom-com, in 2020," the NYT said, though "Happiest Season" streamed on Hulu rather than seeing a box office release.

Still, 'Bros' is special in the way that "almost everyone in front of the camera and a lot of the people behind it identify as queer," according to the Times.

Eichner stars as Bobby, who falls in love with Aaron, "a macho trusts and estates lawyer" played by Luke Macfarlane. The two are "wary of commitment, especially as they grew up before same-sex marriage was legalized," the story explains. Macfarlane has had a number of parts in rom-coms before — almost always playing a straight character. But that changed last year when he was cast in "Single All the Way," a gay Christmas-themed rom-com streamed on Netflix.

A gay sensibility suffuses the film, which the article says sidesteps "straight tropes," observing that "making a gay romantic comedy isn't as simple as switching out an X chromosome here and there."

Or, as Eichner put it, "Gay men, in particular, we have our own rules, we have a certain way we behave."

The film was an education for Stoller, despite his rom-com feature creds, being the director of films like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "The Five-Year Engagement."

"I think he'd heard of Grindr," Eichner told the Times, before adding, "But I don't think he fully understood it."

That's where the orgy scenes come in — including "a very good joke about a gender reveal orgy," the Times noted.

"Bros" is, perhaps more than at any point in more than a decade, a timely film, the article pointed out. Producer Judd Apatow — another straight rom-com veteran — told the paper, "With politicians telling people in the L.G.B.T.Q. community to hide who they are, it suddenly has way more resonance."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.