Billy Porter is an award-winning actor, a multi-talented star of eclectic works like Pose, Like a Boss, and the upcoming Little Shop of Horrors film adaptation. Now, he can add “feature film director” to his ever-growing, ever-deserving resumé. Per Deadline, Porter will make his feature film directorial debut on What If?, a high school coming-of-age story that sounds lovely and inclusive in the best ways.
What If?, written by Alvaro García Lecuona, a bisexual and bigender screenwriter who made the GLAAD List with this work, is about a high school senior who has a crush on a trans girl at his school. When he takes to Reddit to ask what to do, they encourage him to pursue his feelings, resulting in the two undergoing a relationship that will shape and form their young lives forever. The film serves as the re-debut of Orion Pictures, recently relaunched and refocused, and their president Alana Mayo said that “we couldn’t be more excited to work with Billy Porter on his feature directing debut and are privileged that he, Alvaro, and the producing team behind this special film have entrusted us with their vision for this beautiful, contemporary love story. What If? is perfectly emblematic of the ambitions we have for the new Orion Pictures: to tell stories about the totality of the human experience.”
Porter himself said this: “I’m thrilled to be part of this new space in Hollywood for telling all types of stories from all types of people. I am grateful to be in a position to usher some of these stories into the mainstream.” Joining him on the team are producers Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa for Killer Films (Carol), and producers Andrew Lauren and D.J. Gugenheim for Andrew Lauren Productions (The Spectacular Now).
In a post-Love, Simon world, I am extremely grateful we are seeing more and more YA stories focused on positive, loving portrayals of LGBTQ+ folks without the triggering traumas and pains entrenched in so many of these types of stories — and I’m especially grateful this one is coming from a creative team that are themselves queer. I look forward to seeing this charming piece of queer romance grace our screens and join recent works like Happiest Season, and I look forward to seeing what Porter‘s directorial vision looks like.