Billy Eichner, co-writer and star of “Bros,” one of the first major studio romantic comedies to star a primarily LGBTQ cast, clarified comments he made about streaming content starring LGBTQ actors feeling “disposable.”
In a new interview with Variety, Eichner praised the scale of his film: “This is not an indie movie,” he said. “This is not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows. I needed to appreciate that.”
After the interview was released, though, Eichner tweeted that he was “not at ALL referring to the quality or monumental impact of streaming films, (he) was referring to the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood.”
“I am very proud ‘Bros’ is one of many projects - theatrical, streaming, online, etc - where so many of us are finally getting to tell our own LGBTQ+ stories,” he tweeted, adding in another tweet that he was “so sorry if (he) inadvertently offended or insulted anyone.”
Some took Eichner’s comments in Variety as a reference to “Fire Island” and “Happiest Season,” two films directed by and starring LGBTQ creators that debuted on Hulu and skipped a theatrical release. “Fire Island,” which starred several LGBTQ people of color including Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang, was praised after its release earlier this year for exploring the racism and classism within the gay community.
In a June interview with Booster and Eichner for Entertainment Weekly, Booster praised Eichner for creating an inclusive writer’s room for the series “Billy on the Street” and for continuing to hire LGBTQ people for his upcoming film.
“That’s why I’m so relieved that your movie is coming out, and that things like ‘Heartstopper’ and Keiynan Lonsdale’s movie ‘My Fake Boyfriend’ are coming out around the same time,” Booster told Eichner. “There’s so many. I’m so relieved that if you hate my movie, you have another one coming out in September to have another shot at, and then hopefully even more.”
“Bros” is an achievement for Hollywood inclusivity but far from the first rom-com to follow gay characters. Films for young adults like “Love, Simon” and its followup series “Love, Victor” earned many fans, and Netflix originals like “Single All the Way” and “The Half of It” were helmed by LGBTQ directors. Popular series like “Heartstopper,” “Sex Education” and award winners like “Schitt’s Creek” and “Orange is the New Black” have all starred LGBTQ actors and followed queer romances.
“Bros” will be released September 30.