Bros: Why is this gay rom-com historic in Hollywood? – Cinema news

The first gay romantic comedy produced by a big studio with an LGBTQIA cast, “Bros” is a success that director Nicholas Stoller and his actors tell us about. Including Billy Eichner and Luke MacFarlane.

After Without Sarah nothing goes and 5 years of reflection, Nicholas Stoler returns to the romantic comedy. Without his friend Jason Segelbut with Billy Eichnerlead actor and co-writer of this love story between two very busy men, with an exclusively cast of LGBTQIA comedians.

Very funny, tender and human, Bros also presents itself as a historical film, because it is the first time that a large studio (Universal in this case) has produced such a feature film. A subject that we notably discussed with Nicholas Stoller, Billy Eichner and his partner Luke MacFarlaneas well as the performers of the secondary roles: TS Madison, Miss Lawrence, jim rash, Dot Marie Jones and Eve Lindley.

AlloCiné: “Bros” is an R-rated gay romantic comedy (prohibited for unaccompanied under-17s) in the United States, with an exclusively LGBTQIA cast. How complicated was the film to finance in Hollywood?

Billy Eichner : I’m happy to say that when we pitched Bros to Universal, the studio that produced it, they were looking for something like this. That being said, it took a very long time for Hollywood to get there: the big studios have been around for over a century and have never made such a movie! But Universal understood that it was time to do something both hilarious and authentic, realistic.

It was not a question of walking on eggshells to show the lives of gay people, but of telling a story that was as funny as it was honest. A story that LGBTQIA and heterosexual people could identify with, because it would be authentic.

Nicholas Stoler : However, the production took longer than expected, in particular because of the pandemic. A film usually takes me two and a half years to make, it took five for Bros. Because we were supposed to start filming in March 2020, but the pandemic got involved and we were forced to postpone the shooting. But we didn’t have a lot of time to do it, and it was the shortest of my shoots for a movie.

I obviously learned, as a director, to go faster and faster. And since we had been working on it for several years, Billy was ready and well prepared to shoot. Movies are always hard to make because there are always new issues, but this one was still fun because every day was special. We could shoot a love scene between Luke and him one day, and we would notice each other, with my cinematographer Brandon Trost, that we had never shot or seen such a scene. And it’s nice to be part of such a project.

The big studios have been around for over a century and have never made such a movie

How do you feel about being part of this film which is already historic? Did you realize that while doing it?

TS Madison : Yes. When we first walked through the production doors, we knew Bros would be historic. Especially when we realized later that Universal was producing it. And look: the film is released in France! He is everywhere !

Miss Lawrence : Let me tell you that this is the first time that a person in France has interviewed me. And that alone is… wow!

TS Madison: We are happy that it has reached such an international audience. LGBTQIA people exist all over the world, and this film represents all types of people in this community. I find it incredible that France is also absorbing all this.

Miss Lawrence: Yeah! And France will know my name the next time I come!

jim rash : I didn’t immediately know what we were involved in. By this I mean that I had been invited to a reading in which Dot also participated. It was one of the first drafts of the screenplay, from which the words still had to be worked out. We weren’t engaged at the time. We were just actors listening to those words, focused on doing the text justice. It was then that we learned that we were going to play in it, and Billy’s intention to only take on LGBTQIA comedians. This is where the project took on a whole new meaning for me.

Dot Marie Jones : I think it’s something fantastic! I did not expect to see it happen in my career.

Eve Lindley : We don’t necessarily seek to make a film historical or revolutionary. But if it happens in the process, one feels lucky. And it was very stimulating to be part of this project.

Bros Why is this gay rom com historic in Hollywood

Luke MacFarlane and Billy Eichner

This is your third romantic comedy Nicholas. Why do you like this genre so much?

Nicholas Stoler: I love romantic comedy. It is for me the most human of genres. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing two people fall in love, looking for what will please the other or ways to overcome their vulnerability or insecurities. I find these movies fascinating, and there’s a reason people watch them over and over again. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen When Harry Met Sallybut I knew I was going to see it a million more times.

It’s so… human – I don’t know how else to put it. That’s not the case with a lot of movies, but it is with romantic comedy. Even the ones that are artificial and cheesy. They are warm films.

How important is it for you to co-write the screenplay with your lead actor, whether it’s Jason Segel before and Billy Eichner today?

Nicholas Stoler: I love working with actors and with their talent. As someone who directs and writes but doesn’t act, I think above all about the story, the characters, the themes, the plot… The actors, on the other hand, wonder if a human would do such and such a thing . I sometimes think about it too, of course, just like an actor can think about the plot. But this association can be magical.

In the case of Bros, Billy had never written a movie before, unlike me. So I brought him my expertise in the matter, and my knowledge of how events can follow one another. But it tells more about his life than mine, because I’m straight and he’s gay. It’s her story, but I was able to bring my feelings and my theories on love to it. And I also listened to his stories about himself and his friends.

I also like to say that I’m straight married with three daughters, while Billy is gay and single. But that we’re both great 40-something Jews with the same comedy credentials (laughs) We speak the same comedic language, and I think that’s why the result works.

If there’s one thing I hope it’s that Bros will be an eye opener. And doors for all of us

How did you work so that the secondary characters had more substance than those we are used to seeing in these types of comedies? Did you put a lot of yourselves?

Dot Marie Jones: There is a bit of us in each of our characters, yes. There is both what you inject into them, but also the desire to offer something authentic and new. It doesn’t matter if it’s close to what you are in real life or not. About me, there is a lot of myself in Cherry, but other things that I added.

Eve Lindley: On my side, I feel very different from my character, because I am not as smart (laughs) I was lucky that my character didn’t need to have any substance, but I trusted the others that Tamara wouldn’t be the butt of jokes.

Jim Rash: Me, I like to think I’m a little less nervous than Robert is. (laughs) But people present for this interview may not agree (he bursts out laughing)

Miss Lawrence: We still stayed true to the script and what the director wanted. Then he left us the field free to integrate what we see of the characters, the way in which we thought that they were going to behave according to the situations. And where the correlation between actors and characters happens is that Wanda is a gender non-conforming person, as I am too. Angela is a trans black woman, as is TS Madison. We are actors, and it was good to be able to play someone who is like me.

On your side, Luke, you star in a movie that pokes fun at Christmas TV movies airing on Hallmark and their opportunistic progressiveness… although you have participated in many of them.

Luke MacFarlane : (laughs) What’s even funnier is that it was already in the script before I was signed on to play Aaron. But one of Billy’s great talents is knowing how to observe the world’s cultural moments in order to laugh at them. And it’s also a testament to how Hallmark has touched people. The channel exists and is successful because there is a desert of romantic comedies out there: people want to see other people fall in love with them.

So Bros is also paying homage to Hallmark, and I hope the channel is grateful for that. It is said that the greatest form of flattery is imitation. So, in a way, we imitate them. With our jokes (laughs)

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Universal Pictures International France

Eve Lindley (in green), Jim Rash, TS Madison, Dot-Marie Jones and Miss Lawrence

Can a film like this change things in Hollywood, in terms of roles and stories?

Dot Marie Jones: If there’s one thing I hope it’s that Bros will be an eye opener. And doors for all of us. Each of us is different, within the LGBTQIA community, as you can see in the film, and especially in the scenes in the meeting room. There are different levels because we are all human and we all have a heart.

Eve Lindley: We have all proven that we are not secondary people. Today, the ball is in Hollywood’s hands as to what they will do with the film.

Jim Rash: We must also not forget what happened before Bros, and I find, unfortunately, that there are always steps forward and steps back. We necessarily want there to be only progress, and in a spirit that means that a film like this is not a particular event. Just a short event. A reality. That’s the hope I always have, and I think we’ll move forward if it’s recognized that Bros is a well-made, funny, well-written romantic comedy, and that’s what makes the movie stand out. .

Interview by Maximilien Pierrette in Paris on September 20, 2022

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