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Actor Billy Eichner for Variety Editorial on BROS

Why We Need To Watch First Gay Rom-Com by Billy Eichner’s ‘Bros’

We’re resuming first impressions and explain why we need to watch first Gay Rom-Com ‘BROS.’ On Theaters this September 30.

Billy Eichner for Variety Editorial
Jeff Lipsky for Variety

Star and co-writer of Universal’s BROS Billy Eichner explains through Rolling Stone, “I never thought a major studio would do an authentically gay film,” says Billy Eichner, “and treat it the same way they would treat Bridesmaids or 40-Year-Old Virgin or Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Eichner is the star of Bros, the groundbreaking, hilarious gay rom-com he also co-wrote, which — defying his initial doubts — is due in theaters Sept. 30, with a big push from Universal Studios.

In the movie, co-written and directed by Nick Stoller (who also directed Sarah Marshall) and co-produced by Judd Apatow (who directed 40-Year-Old Virgin and produced the other two films Eichner mentions), Eichner plays Bobby, a media personality who finds his neurotic self-sufficiency disrupted when he falls in love with Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a guileless lawyer. 

For Eichner, arguably still best known for the daredevil comedy of his pedestrian-accosting, celebrity-razzing series Billy on the Street, becoming a leading man at 43 feels like a belated return to a path he always meant to pursue, and the next step after well-received dramatic turns in American Horror Story and Impeachment: American Crime Story. “You don’t sit there as a kid thinking, ‘Oh, I could be the star of this movie, if only I wasn’t gay,’” he says. “I went to see Steve Martin and Tom Hanks movies and I thought, ‘Oh, I could do something like that.’ It was only when I was in my mid-twenties when I started to think, ‘Oh, I guess I’ll be lucky if I can just play the neighbor on a sitcom.’ Because that’s what Hollywood was telling me.”

Actor Billy Eichner for Variety Editorial
Jeff Lipsky for Variety

Kicked on Tinder for second time

Eichner, 43, went public with his Tinder travails during a 2019 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmy Live,” and got an apology from the company along with a care package shipped to his home with T-shirts and mugs that said, “World’s Hottest Single” and “Happy Valentine’s Day … to Me.” 

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And then, inexplicably, Eichner got dumped from the service a second time last year. “I was like, ‘Fuck it. I’m not going through this again,’” Eichner says, letting out a dramatic sigh. “I can’t book a late-night talk show appearance just to get reinstated on Tinder. I’ll stick to Hinge and Grindr and everything else. I do not need another mug telling me it’s OK to be alone.” 

Too many gay men know what that feels like. While single straight women have no shortage of people to relate to in movies, from Bridget Jones to an army of fabulous heroines played by Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Reese Witherspoon and more, there has been little representation of gay men looking for love — “Real love, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love,” to quote a famous Carrie Bradshaw line — on the big screen. Yes, gay men have flocked to their share of corny meet-cutes starring Sandra Bullock, pining for the perfect guy before ending up happily ever after (even the one where she waited for him to rise from a coma). But growing up during the genre’s ’90s heyday, well, the idea that a studio would greenlight a movie about two men falling in love was unfathomable. At that time, it was refreshing enough just to see a gay friend — say, Rupert Everett in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” — as the fun-loving sidekick, relegated to the sidelines of celibacy.

Here’s the NEW TRAILER for #BrosMovie! Trust me, it looks way BIGGER in theaters.😉 See you September 30.

Billy Eichner on his parents’ support: “My parents believed that…I could fulfill this dream of success in entertainment decades before Hollywood did. They weren’t around to see it happen, but they are the reason it happened.”

via Variety.com

“I feel a responsibility for it to do well,” says Eichner as he sips iced coffee in the restaurant of a West Hollywood hotel. “I’ve worked so hard on it, I care so much about it, and I want it to do well for the sake of the LGBTQ stories getting greenlit. So there’s a burden I feel, much as I want to sit here and just talk about how funny the movie is.” 

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The fact that “Bros” is hilarious won’t be a surprise to fans of Eichner. Eichner first came onto the scene knifing across the sidewalks of New York City peppering unsuspecting pedestrians with ultra-specific pop culture questions as the host of “Billy on the Street.” That show started as a viral web sensation before migrating to television, where it developed a passionate following, thanks to its absurdist sense of humor. It’s found a new audience on TikTok, where Eichner’s sound bites regularly get shared.

Eichner wants to tell more LGBTQ stories. He’s collaborating with Paul Rudnick on a “War of the Roses”-style comedy about two gay men getting divorced that has the working title “Ex-Husbands.” He’s also planning to make a film about Paul Lynde, the campy character actor who became famous on “The Hollywood Squares” in the 1970s. 

Actor Billy Eichner for Variety Editorial
Jeff Lipsky for Variety

But don’t hold your breath for another season of “Billy on the Street.” “I might revive it for a special occasion, but the TV series is done,” says Eichner. “I will never do it again in any regular fashion. I have no desire to be a 44-year-old man running around the streets all year long screaming at people.”

Eichner on Twitter clarifies this:

Watch ‘BROS’ on Theaters September 30, 2022.

Get it on Apple TV

Read full editorial variety.com

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