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Billy Porter to make directorial debut in feature film from Orion Pictures

Billy Porter (Photo credit: Elizabeth Goodenough / Everett Collection)

Billy Porter is to direct coming-of-age drama What If?

The 51-year-old star will make his directorial debut in the movie, which has been written by Alvaro Garcia Lecuona.

The film is billed as a cross between coming-of-age movies Booksmart and Love Simon and follows high school student Khal who posts to Reddit forum r/relationships about his crush on trans classmate Kelsa.

He is encouraged by the internet to pursue a relationship that they both must figure out as they also navigate senior year.

What If? is backed by Orion Pictures and is being produced by Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa on behalf of Killer Films along with Andrew Lauren and D.J. Gugenheim on behalf of Andrew Lauren Productions.

Announcing the project, Porter said: “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, 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.”

Mayo, president of Orion Pictures, said: “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.”