Billy Eichner eloquently explains why he didn’t cast Chris Evans as gay man in Bros

Billy Eichner wearing a tuxedo on the right and Chris Evans on the left

Billy Eichner has explained why he decided against casting Chris Evans as a gay man in his romantic comedy Bros.

The actor and comedian reflected on the casting process for the film during a discussion with playwright Harvey Fierstein at the New Yorker Festival.

Eichner and Fierstein’s discussion quickly turned into “an onstage post-mortem” about Bros‘ disappointing performance at the box office, according to Deadline.

After Fierstein criticised Universal’s approach to marketing the film, Eichner suggested Bros‘ lack of bankable stars might have impacted its box office success.

“We could have easily thrown Chris Evans into the Luke Macfarlane role,” Eichner said, referring to his on-screen love interest.

“But we didn’t because for us it was important to give a number of openly LGBT actors a chance to star in a movie even though they weren’t movie stars.”

Bros has an entirely LGBTQ+ main cast

Bros made history for a number of reasons, one of which was the decision to push ahead with an entirely LGBTQ+ main cast, with queer people taking on straight roles as well as gay ones.

The film was also heavily marketed as a history-making moment by both Eichner and Universal. Fierstein criticised that approach on stage at the New Yorker Festival.

I think sometimes, you have to let the audience find you. Let them discover you, let them fall in love with you.

“The whole idea of putting this movie out with the idea of, ‘The first ever gay movie! Starring a gay homo! And written by a big homo… but produced by heterosexuals! I mean, ‘Is this a history lesson or a movie?’ I didn’t think it was really smart.

“I think sometimes, you have to let the audience find you. Let them discover you, let them fall in love with you.”

Fierstein said Universal’s approach to Bros was to tell audiences: “Get the f**k in the theatre or I will call you names”.

Eichner pushed back on Fierstein’s arguments, saying there “wasn’t much of a blueprint” for a film like Bros which meant they had to come up with their own way of marketing it.

He said Universal “could not have been more supportive every step of the way”.

After Bros took in less money than was expected in its opening weekend, Eichner criticised straight people “especially in certain parts of the country” who “just didn’t show up” to support the film.

Bros is set to hit cinemas in the UK on 28 October.