‘Friends’ no longer on the fringe

Gay scribes sought out 'anti-romantic comedy'

There’s unlikely to be a more hetero romance this summer than Screen Gems’ “Friends With Benefits,” the comedy that brings together Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis after their touchy-feely moment on the MTV Awards. Yet, “Friends” is scripted by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman who are, Newman revealed at the Casa Del Mar Hotel junket on Sunday, “a couple for eight years now.”

“It’s a great thing,” he said about living and writing together, “you can use stuff that drives you mad about each other.”

Regarding “Friends,” he added, “Our goal was to write an anti-romantic comedy in the age of hookups.”

But credit for making Woody Harrelson’s GQ sports-editor character a gay guy goes to Timberlake and co-writer-director Will Gluck.

“Quite honestly,” Timberlake said, “Will and I wanted to show a modern relationship between a straight guy and a gay guy. The fact that they’re just guys and they’re friends. Nothing about that changes their relationship.”

“I remember when I wrote this,” Gluck said, “I’m writing this dude as if he’s an asshole frat guy. I know those people, those douche bags. … People were, ‘Isn’t this homophobic?’ ‘How!?’ Woody took it on a leap of faith too.”

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