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Brooke Shields and Wilson Cruz on Mother of the Bride's happy, loving gay couple

Brooke Shields and Wilson Cruz on Mother of the Bride's happy, loving gay couple

Brooke Shields and Wilson Cruz in Mother of the Bride
Netflix

Brooke Shields and Wilson Cruz in Mother of the Bride

Icon Brooke Shields and actor and LGBTQ+ activist Wilson Cruz chat with The Advocate about authentically portraying queer people in movies.

As with most romantic comedies, much of Mother of the Bride’s comedy relies on misunderstandings and blunders. And those sorts of comedic miscommunication abound in the Brooke Shields-led Netflix comedy, except when it comes to the movie’s stable and blissfully married gay couple, Scott and Clay. They’ve been together since college and are in a position to help Shields’s Lana and Benjamin Bratt’s Will, who were together decades earlier, find their way back to one another.

“Queer people should be in every movie, right? Because we are in the world,” says Wilson Cruz, who plays Scott. The Star Trek: Discoverystar and LGBTQ+ activist made history when he played gay teen Rickie on My So-Called Life in 1994, when authentic queer characters were few and far between and rarely played by out actors.

Michael McDonald and Wilson Cruz in Mother of the Bride Michael McDonald and Wilson Cruz in Mother of the Bride Netflix

Mother of the Bride’s plot turns when Lana’s social-media influencer daughter Emma (iCarly’s Miranda Cosgrove) announces to her mom that she’s engaged to her boyfriend, RJ (Sean Teale), whom Lana has yet to meet since mom and daughter live in San Francisco and London, respectively. But soon they’re off to a social-media-sponsored wedding at an upscale resort in Thailand. There, Lana and her best friend and Emma’s de facto aunt, Janice (Rachael Harris), run into their old Stanford pals Scott and Clay (Michael McDonald). The high jinks ensue when it’s revealed that RJ is the son of Will, who ghosted Lana in college. When Will arrives, Lana attempts to put on a good face for her daughter's wedding despite her misgivings about Will. As the medium of the rom-com dictates, it’s all a misunderstanding that's resolved once Lana and Will get some situational alone time.

Brooke Shields and Miranda Cosgrove in Mother of the Bride Brooke Shields and Miranda Cosgrove in Mother of the Bride Netflix

While Lana and Will fan their old flame, Emma begins to question if RJ is too much like his dad and liable to flake on her. That leaves Scott and Clay holding down the fort as the movie’s most stable couple.

“To have Michael McDonald, who I think is probably one of the funniest people on the planet, play my husband in this movie, and to see us just be a part of this really wonderful ensemble cast and see this couple, like you said, who is the most stable and clearly the most in love, represent the ideal that both of these two couples are trying to find, right?" Cruz says. “They’re trying to find their ideal love, and Scott and his husband clearly are the examples of that in this film.”

Mother of the BrideMother of the Bride Netflix

A child model and actor, Shields is a longtime ally of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to being a gay icon, she starred opposite Cherry Jones in the 2001 TV movie What Makes a Family, about a lesbian couple going through IVF who discover one of them has lupus. Based on a true story, the film shined a light on the battle for second-parent adoption rights before well before marriage equality was the law of the land. Mother of the Bride’s depiction of its gay couple is what Shields hoped it would be.

“Their relationship is not only the most settled, it’s the healthiest and it’s the most overtly affectionate as well, which was really a point in the script that I was so happy that here's Netflix deciding to do this movie about a woman my age getting a second chance on life and this couple,” Shields tells The Advocate. “You kind of think like, Oh, no, you're only going to get one of those things. You're not going to get the other,” she adds of the rarity of the story that depicts a successful single woman in her 50s as desirable and with agency.

“And it was so important for us with the writer to find that type of truth and not comment on it. We don't need to make a comment on it,” she adds. “It just is what it is. And then once you do that, nobody's a cartoon, those relationships are really important to be just portrayed honestly, as we all know in our real lives.”

Watch The Advocate's exclusive interview with Brooke Shields below:

Meanwhile, Cruz grew up with Shields in his orbit.

“I remember Brooke Shields from when I was a kid,” Cruz says. “She was the biggest star in the universe as far as I was concerned, and the most beautiful. So it was a bit surreal to have this experience with her in this gorgeous location making this very funny movie.”

Making the movie wasn’t his last interaction with Shields, though. He shares an anecdote that cements her status as a gay icon.

“She's a fellow New Yorker, and I actually got to run into her in the West Village a couple of weeks ago,” he says. “She invited me and my friends in for a tequila shot on a Sunday brunch morning.”

Mother of the Bride is streaming now on Netflix.

Watch The Advocate's exclusive interview with Wilson Cruz below.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.
Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.