No pressure, but it would appear that gay viability in mainstream Hollywood filmmaking is now riding on Billy Eichner’s shoulders. He will write and star in a Judd Apatow-produced, gay-themed romantic comedy for Universal. Nick Stoller (Neighbors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) will direct the film that currently has no plot details up for inspection, but here’s what’s at stake: nothing less than studio support for LGBTQ+ content in mainstream cinema. This will be, if you can believe it, the first major studio film with a queer plot and a queer leading character since Love, Simon, and the first of its kind pitched at an adult audience since 1997’s Kevin Kline-starring, coming out comedy In & Out. Not that we’ve gone without all these years. Queer indie cinema hasn’t stopped cranking out the rom-coms and every other genre of movie, and TV has turned into the place for characters of all genders and races (the studios seemingly only have eyes for gay white men) but this is where the big studios are, and it would be great if Eichner and Apatow knocked this one out of the park so more – and more diverse – stories could get their shot.
Jim Parsons-produced Special really will be special
Now that Big Bang Theory is winding up its run, Jim Parsons is expanding his reach in the mogul business. After jump-starting Young Sheldon on CBS, he has turned his attention to a sitcom first. It’s called Special and it actually is based on the book I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves by Ryan O’Connell, a gay man with cerebral palsy who has also worked as an executive story editor on Will & Grace. The upcoming Netflix series will star O’Connell as a fictionalized version of himself. The plot revolves around O’Connell rewriting his identity in order to get the life he wants and live well with the body he was born with. O’Connell will not only star, but write and produce the series, too. And it will be the first time a queer person with a physical disability has headlined a sitcom. Look for it to drop on Netflix April 19.
Romeo San Vicente loves Queer Cinema