Ariana DeBose made a name for herself as the supporting actress in West Side Story playing Anita and now she’s moving on to a leading role. It was just announced that she’s starring and executive producing romantic comedy Two and Only. Latina and LGBTQ+ writer Jen Rivas-DeLoose, who worked on Netflix’s Selena: The Series, is set to write the screenplay. Although not much else is known about the film’s plot it has been described as My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) from a bisexual Latinx point of view, Deadline reported. The film centered on Julianne (Julia Roberts) who believes she’s actually in love with her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) who is getting married to Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Julia’s gay best friend George (Rupert Everett) pretends to be her fiancee at one point and leads the wedding party in a now iconic rendition of “I Say a Little Prayer” — a famous scene from the film. It feels fitting considering DeBose — who also sings and dances — became the first queer woman of color to win an Oscar for her role as Anita, as well as the first Afro-Latina to win.
DeBose announced the new film on her Instagram account saying, “Let’s try a rom-com! So excited to take on a new challenge and learn a thing or two about producing. Thrilled to be a part of this incredible team including Jen Rivas-DeLoose, Screen Gems’ Scott Strauss and Giselle Johnson, and Sad Unicorn’s (Abbott Elementary) Randall Einhorn and Jeremy Stern!”
To see a woman of color starring in a film about a bisexual love story is a testament to the progress being made in Hollywood even though it’s slow-going. In a report from GLAAD, they found that of the 118 films from major studios in 2019 the organization counted, just 22 contained LGBTQIA+ characters. Furthermore, bisexual representation slightly decreased to 14 percent and only 34 percent of LGBTQIA+ characters were people of color.
A champion in her community, DeBose makes sure to use her platform to advocate for change. During her Oscar acceptance speech, DeBose had some powerful words of encouragement for those feeling lost or questioning their own identity.
“Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus. Look into her eyes,” DeBose said. “You see a queer—openly queer—woman of color and Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art, and that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate. So, to anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is, indeed, a place for us.”