One of the biggest discussions in modern discourse is representation on the big screen. Who we see being included in the stories we tell and how we treat them, fictional or not, is reflective of our ability to embrace and celebrate the different people who share our lives with. Knowing that someone has your back is, without question, one of the best feelings in the world. It’s a motivator like no other, especially when it feels like the world around us isn’t as kind as we’d like.
Come September, I’d like to think the world will feel refreshingly brighter for the LGBTQ+ community. An upcoming film created by Billy Eichner, renowned for his work in the rom-com genre, is set to bring the LGBTQ+ community one step forward in the fight for representation. Without further ado, let’s get into what Bros has to offer.
Bros’ Unique Casting & Why It’s Revolutionary
Typically, when you think of representation in film, you think of creators shoehorning in one, two, or a group of characters that fit the bill. Bros seeks to defy this practice in spades. For one, the cast of this film will be featuring openly LGBTQ+ actors in starring roles. To venture even further into the realm of possibility, these same actors will not just be starring in roles that are strictly LGBTQ+. These actors will also be portraying characters that are straight.Just on a conceptual level, Bros is riveting. It isn’t every day that you see a cast like this. At best, aside from an outlier or two, LGBTQ+ characters are relegated to supporting roles in major properties, not often taking front and center stage. But in this film, not only are the roles they (yup that’s right, as in plural) occupy at the heart of the film, Bros is doing things differently.
Having openly LGBTQ+ actors in straight roles breaks the stigma that LGBTQ+ people are confined to portraying themselves. This decision is powerful in that their talent as actors becomes that much more exemplified by being able to potentially step outside their comfort zones, offering the chance to further explore themselves as actors. The project blossoms into a celebration of talent.
Redefining A Genre
That’s just one of the highlights of this film mind you. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Eichner himself goes on to say that “now, [LGBTQ+ people will] get to see [them]selves falling in love and falling out of love. And for all of that to be on the big screen in a fun, hilarious, romantic way, that’s what’s so rewarding.” The comment brings to bear another important point to touch upon. In discussing their new project with Entertainment Weekly, Eichner and fellow collaborator Joel Kim Booster talk about the comedy genre overall, the latter noting that it is still a “largely male heterosexual space”.
While all the great love stories of times past still hold places near and dear, they simply weren’t for everyone. While some similarities will inevitably exist, there are also enough differences that make experiences from the LGBTQ+ community uniquely distinct from the experiences of straight people. A perfect example is referential humor. In the same Entertainment Weekly article referenced prior, Joel Kim Booster spoke about his work on past projects, most notably, what jokes he could and couldn’t use. To him, the making of Bros came with a never-before-seen sense of freedom, “the specificity of the references that [Eicher was] asking us to pull from, that kind of stuff was what I was always told to cut down on because no one would get it, no one would think it was funny. Suddenly that muscle was what [Eichner was] asking me to exercise, and it was great.”
That right there underscores the importance of being able to see oneself in film, TV, and other entertainment mediums. It confers upon you and the community you represent a sense of hope and belonging, feelings that everyone should be able to enjoy. This is why Bros holds such promise as a film, because it does not limit itself to seeing comedy and romance through the lens of one particular set of experiences and perspectives. To have a project of this scale make the casting choices that it did makes a statement. One that says roles in film can be as fluid as people are in waking life. Bros releases in theaters on September 30th of this year.