Why The Boys in the Band Has Matt Bomer Feeling Optimistic

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If the all-star cast of Netflix’s The Boys in the Band got you thinking it’s about a rowdy, mischievous group of gay friends (for some, lovers) who spend their nights cackling and poking fun at each other, you’re not technically wrong. 

Starring Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Tuc Watkins, Robin de Jesús, Michael Benjamin Washington, Charlie Carver and Brian Hutchison, the new Ryan Murphy-produced movie is an adaptation of Mart Crowley‘s 1968 play, a depends-who-you-ask controversial piece made into a film in 1970 and later developed into a Tony-winning Broadway production in 2018. 

The story takes place over the course of one night as Michael (Parsons) hosts a very tense birthday party for Harold (Quinto). Directed by Joe Mantello, the new film offers plenty of camp: There’s a fun dance sequence, shady one-liners, and chiseled six-pack abs.

But it also explores the shame, self-hatred and thorny complexities that come with being a gay man, particularly in the 1960s, just before the HIV/AIDS epidemic occurred and long before LGBTQ+ communities began to experience some equality.