Posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2021 by Shania Russell
Star of stage and screen Billy Porter is stepping behind the camera for an exciting teen comedy from Amazon Studios. Currently in development, To Be Real is made in collaboration with Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another production.
According to Variety, this upcoming coming-of-age story puts queer lives front and center, following three queer friends who escape their hometown to spend Pride Weekend in New York City. The film’s logline states that while embarking on this journey, “they discover that life over the rainbow is an insane, raunchy, often divisive, but ultimately FIERCE non-stop party.” Little else is known about the premise, but the story has been compared to much-beloved coming-of-age tales like Superbad and the more recent Booksmart.
If those comparisons are anything to go on, To Be Real is very much worth looking forward to. It’s following in the footsteps of the kind of stylish, laugh-out-loud comedies that adults and teens alike can’t help but cling to. And what better way to explore self-discovery than to have our protagonists attend their very first Pride?
To Be Real is an original script, penned by Ryan Shiraki, who most recently directed episodes of another coming-of-age tale, Netflix’s On My Block. Though it’s only three seasons in, On My Block has already been renewed through its fifth season.
What’s Next for Billy Porter?
To Be Real is Porter’s second time in the director’s seat. We have yet to get a glimpse at Porter’s directorial debut, another LGBTQ+ teen story, What If?
The film is set to follow Kelsa (Eva Reign), a trans high school senior, and Khal (Abubakr Ali), who posts online about his school crush, and is encouraged by the internet to pursue the relationship. From there, the two must navigate their senior year along with an unexpected relationship.
All in all, this is s pretty solid year for Billy Porter. Between his directorial debut and this new upcoming project, Porter is also in the running to win an Emmy next month for his performance as Pray Tell in the final season of Pose.
Porter spent years shining on stage and more recently, on our screens. He’s often noted for pouring emotion and soul into every performance, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays into his directing style. And not to jinx anything, but Porter’s new foray into directing might be helpful in winning him an EGOT. After all, he’s only one letter away from having all four awards…
Onscreen or not, Billy Porter’s influence is very much welcomed. In addition to his upcoming directed projects, Porter has some onscreen performances in the works. He stars as the Fairy Godparent in Amazon’s Cinderella and as Randall Leibowitz-Jenkins in The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.
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