Renee Zellweger 'Loved' Sexy Joke in 'Bros' that Borrows Her Name

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday October 2, 2022
Originally published on September 12, 2022

Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane in "Bros"
Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane in "Bros"  (Source:Universal Pictures)

Billy Eichner dreamed up a cheeky joke for his rom-com "Bros" that name-checks Renee Zellweger — and the "Bridget Jones" actor, who does not appear in the movie, "loved it," Entertainment Weekly reported.

Eichner told EW the story behind "a hilarious bit from the film that sees characters discussing a queer dating app named — of course — Zellweger," the entertainment outlet detailed.

"I was like, 'Uh, what sounds like Grindr and Tinder? Zellweger!'" Eichner recounted. "But then we had to get her permission. I got scared. We started to come up with other alts. I was like, 'Midler! I love Bette Midler!'"

In the end, it wasn't necessary to think up another diva whose name might fit the bill, because, Eichner related, "I spoke to her manager and he spoke to her, and she loved the joke. She was like, 'Yeah, you can totally do that!'"

Eichner recently got into hot water with Twitter for comments in which he distinguished his upcoming gay rom-com, which is a major studio release, from "an indie movie" or "some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows," which some took to be a dismissal of recent fare such as Joel Kim Booster's Hulu rom-com "Fire Island."

Eichner hastened to apologize and clear up any confusion, posting, "I was not at ALL referring to the quality or monumental impact of streaming films.

"I was referring to the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood," Eichner added.

In speaking with EW about the film, Eichner remained enthusiastic about its distinctly gay sensibilities, saying, "This is not as simple as doing 'When Harry Met Sally...' or some Hallmark Christmas movies and just swapping in two gay guys for the straight couple and having everything play out the same way."

Eichner's on-screen partner and fellow lead, Luke Macfarlane, has starred in a plethora of Hallmark Christmas movies, filming a dozen such titles over the last eight years, only one of which — the acclaimed "Single All the Way" — sees him play a gay man.

"I always felt like I'd kind of wink at the camera a little bit because I knew that the most provocative thing they were putting on air was a gay man playing everybody's fireman — that satisfied me for a while,"

Macfarlane recently told Vanity Fair.

Critics seem to agree with Eichner's unabashed assessment of "Bros." The film opened at the Toronto International Film Festival this past weekend, and early reviews were rapturous.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.