Billy Porter sets directorial debut with coming-of-age pic What If?
Emmy-winning actor Billy Porter (Pose) has officially signed on for his feature directorial debut with Orion Pictures’ first feature project since relaunching as a studio for underrepresented filmmakers, the coming-of-age drama What If?, which is being described as a mixed between Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart and Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon.
“I’m thrilled to be part of this new space in Hollywood for telling all types of stories from all types of people.” Porter said in a statement to Deadline. “I am grateful to be in a position to usher some of these stories into the mainstream and I am humbled that heavy hitters like Christine Vachon and Alana Mayo have entrusted and empowered me in this insane time we all find ourselves in.”
What If? centers around high school senior KHAL who posts on r/relationships about his crush on Kelsa, a trans girl at his school. The internet encourages him to go for it and the two navigate a high school senior year relationship that neither could have expected. The film is written by Alvaro García Lecuona.
The project will be produced by Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa along with Andrew Lauren Productions’ Andrew Lauren and D.J Gugenheim.
“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,” President of Orion Pictures Alana Mayo said in a statement
Last August, Orion Pictures had announced their intention to relaunch the production company into a brand new direction that will represent and amplify the voices of underrepresented filmmakers as part of the initiative to increase inclusivity within the film industry.
Billy Porter first gained recognition for his work on Broadway musicals such as Kinky Boots which had earned him a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. He then went on to star in Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed drama series Pose which gave him his first Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series as well as his first Golden Globe nomination.
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