You know a sex scene is epic when even a "$30,000 butt rig" isn't good enough to make the final cut.
Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, and Bros director Nicholas Stoller exclusively tell EW how they devised their groundbreaking gay sex scene in Universal's romantic comedy, and it involved a lot of improvisation, laughs, but also careful consideration of how to present a tender, extremely specific, and kink-friendly moment to the masses.
The scene begins at a key point in Bobby (Eichner) and Aaron's (Macfarlane) budding relationship. They're at an emotional impasse, sure of their interest in one another, but unsure of how to push past their respective emotional unavailability — until Bobby notices Aaron staring at a macho group of football players in Central Park. He begins slapping his partner, and things progress from their picnic blanket to the bedroom, where things come to blows of all kinds.
"I said to Nick and Luke, I was like, this movie won't be complete until Luke's entire fist is in my mouth, and we went from there," Eichner recalls of devising the scene, which he hopes registers for its "physical comedy" that's shocking, provocative, and hilarious at the same time. It also establishes an unspoken language between the leads, as they finally tap into their respective sexual quirks to break through the impenetrable barriers around their hearts.
Universal Pictures Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane break down their epic 'Bros' sex scene.
"Sex can be funny, awkward, silly, and absurd, but also romantic and sweet, but it also serves the story, because the sex that these guys have, it evolves over the course of the movie as their relationship becomes more intimate and vulnerable," Eichner continues. "Both of these guys are trying so hard to be strong at the beginning of the movie, and I say at the end the movie that I'm sick of being angry and I'm sick of being strong, and we watch that story unfold — sex is part of that."
On the day, Stoller allowed the actors to play around and improvise, despite some scripted portions mapped out beforehand.
"There were certain positions we thought might be funny, we were right about some of those, we were wrong about some of those, and all of a sudden, you know, out of nowhere, Luke will take your foot and put it in his face, and you go from there," Eichner remembers, adding that "there was some spitting that got cut" from the finished version.
Also nixed from the film? "A very expensive prop," Macfarlane says with a laugh. Stoller confirms that "there was a $30,000 butt rig [that] Aaron goes down on" in unused scenes.
"We were going to shoot a rim job moment, but then White Lotus beat us to the punch, so we cut that," Eichner says, joking that they used producer Judd Apatow's "ass as the model" for the contraption, which Macfarlane remembers trying to put his mouth on while "two puppeteers" maneuvered it from the other side of the bed.
In the end, Eichner hopes audiences can view the scene for what it is: earnest and comical.
"We had one young, straight, twentysomething guy in Chicago at a focus group," Eichner recalls. "I asked him, 'What'd you think of the sex scenes between me and Luke?' They're mostly played for physical comedy, and he said, 'It kind of reminded me of Jackass. It made me uncomfortable, but it was so hilarious. I didn't care, it was just funny.' I thought that was heartwarming and endearing…. if it's funny, they embrace it."
Bros is now playing in theaters nationwide. Watch the cast and crew discuss the film in EW's Around the Table discussion above.
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