“I’m the diversity tenant,” Stoller, who is straight, told me.
He immediately thought of Eichner, with whom he had worked on ‘Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising’ and the biting Netflix series ‘Friends From College’. In between seasons of that show, he called Eichner and suggested they work together. ‘Absolutely’, Stoller recalls Eichner’s statement.
Eichner, who spoke in April from what he put it, “Las Vegas, of all the terrible places” where he had just released the “Bros” trailer, remembers it a little differently. He had never written a movie. He had never played in it. And he had come to believe that he would never do that. As a child, he loved rom-coms. His parents took him to “When Harry Met Sally”, “Pretty Woman” (yikes), “Dirty Dancing”, “Sleepless in Seattle”.
Staring at the screen as a 14-year-old, Eichner recalled thinking, “I could do that. I could be Tom Hanks in this movie.”
But two decades in the entertainment industry had taught him that Tom Hanks’ gay roles weren’t available to him. And that even gay roles – in ‘In & Out’, say, ‘The Birdcage’ or ‘Brokeback Mountain’, which ‘Bros’ briefly denounces – were often played by straight actors. At least one was played by Hanks. (Remember “Philadelphia”?)
“It was just always suggested that my options would be very limited,” he said.
Still, he agreed to write “Bros.” Even though he was afraid he wouldn’t have anything to say. “I haven’t had many serious relationships in my adult life,” he said. “I’m not against them, I’m not an anti-relationship person. It’s just not something that happened to me.”
And one night, a story began to unfold: two men who were attracted to each other but were both wary of engagement, especially since they grew up before gay marriage was legalized. Out and proud, but also scared and hesitant, Bobby stumbles toward a relationship with Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a macho trust and estate attorney.