Billy Porter says Anything’s Possible is a rom-com for the modern era

Walt Disney Television/Yolanda Perez

Billy Porter makes his directorial debut with the groundbreaking new romantic comedy Anything’s Possible, out Friday on Prime Video.

The film follows confident teen Kelsa, who is a transgender girl, as she navigates her senior year and her crush on her artsy classmate.

Porter says that his film calls back to the coming-of-age classics while also doing something completely new. “When I grew up, I was obsessed with the John Hughes genre,” he tells ABC Audio.

“I had to superimpose myself onto all those white people. When I read this script, I knew instantly that this was a genre that needed to be revisited for the modern era, and that’s what we set out to do,” Porter says.

He wasn’t alone in searching for himself on screen. Actress Eva Reign, who plays Kelsa in the film, recalls the time she spent looking for a movie just like this one.

“I spent so much time scrolling through Tumblr and Instagram trying to find some movie or show, and I just wasn’t seeing myself anywhere,” she says. “This film is literally what me and a lot of my friends talked about wanting to see.”

At the end of the day, even with all that time spent wishing for a movie like this, Porter says he didn’t feel any pressure in making it.

“When you’re simply living inside of your truth and walking that path, the pressure is released. There was more pressure on me when I was trying to be straight," he says. “There is no pressure now, because all I’ve got to do is show up and be myself.”

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Brothers onscreen and off: ‘Rise’ stars talk humble beginnings of Greek basketball stars

(L-R): Ral Agada as Thanasis and Uche Agada as Giannis in Disney's live-action RISE, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In the new film Rise, streaming exclusively on Disney+, brothers and newcomers Uche and Ral Agada play Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo in the true story about the inspirational family that changed the world of professional basketball.

Uche knew the basics – that the Antetokounmpos immigrated from Nigeria to Greece and that Giannis eventually found success in the NBA draft – but there was still a lot he had to learn about the family.

“I knew that they had humble beginnings. I didn’t understand the extent of how hard it was, how difficult it was to survive,” Uche told ABC Audio.

Ral echoed his brother’s sentiment. “We went where they grew up and I saw that they lived in a one-bedroom apartment with four 6-foot-plus boys,” he said. “It just made me extremely grateful for what I have.”

There was much for them to be grateful for, especially the opportunity for the brothers to act alongside each other, telling a story about brotherhood and family.

“These guys, they all root for each other, they are happy for each other and all push each other. And I think it’s the same for Ral and I,” Uche said.

He added, “We both want to see each other improve and get better. I definitely think that’s something that we all have in common.”

Rise had its Greek premiere this week, which was held at the Sepolia Basketball Court in Athens. The Antetokounmpo family and the Agada brothers were all in attendance.

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‘Downton Abbey’’s Lady Mary warns fans may shed a tear at the “emotional” new film

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Downton is back! The new film Downton Abbey: A New Era is in theaters now, and actress Michelle Dockery – who has been with the series since season one – warns that fans may shed a tear or two.

“It’s very emotional," she tells ABC Audio. "I feel like you could cry laughing as well, there’s lots of emotions in this film.”

Those emotions made Dockery work hard to stay in character as Lady Mary, who is known for her snide observations and cold demeanor. “The challenge is sometimes holding it back as Michelle and trying to stay like Lady Mary ... a bit more stoic, and not blubber.”

A New Era is the sequel to 2019’s smash hit Downton Abbey, which saw the beloved Crawley family all follow one singular plot of welcoming the king and queen of England into their estate. In this film, the cast gets split into two – with half journeying to a home in the south of France, and the others holding down the fort while a film crew shoots at Downton.

“Downton has always been visually very cinematic, even in the TV show. So that transition from the small screen to the big screen really worked the first time around. And the second time it feels like it’s on an even bigger scale,” Dockery says.

Lady Mary is part of the group who stays at Downton, and Dockery acknowledges the plot's meta, self-referential nature: “There’s something about the movie within the movie, and France. It adds an even more extravagant layer.”

The actress hopes its extravagance will entice fans, maybe even those who haven’t yet returned to movie theaters, to go out and see the film. “It’s an event, isn’t it? Downton always feels like a bit of an event," she says.

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