What If?: Billy Porter’s emotional new movie is a must-watch for Pose fans

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Starring Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry, here’s everything you need to know about Billy Porter’s new movie, What If?

Billy Porter has been showered with praise and accolades, thanks to his standout performance in Pose

Now, the actor, singer, composer and playwright is turning his attention to the director’s chair – and he already has his first star-studded movie (penned by up-and-coming screenwriter Alvaro García Lecuona) lined up.

Cryptically titled What If?, here’s everything you need to know about the film.

What is the plot of What If?

Billed as a cross between coming-of-age features Booksmart and Love Simon, the story focuses on Khal, a high school senior who posts on r/relationships about his crush on Kelsa, a trans girl at his school. 

enée Elise Goldsberry poses backstage for the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, broadcast on May 23, 2021 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for dcp)
Hamilton legend Renée Elise Goldsberry has been cast in What If? in an undisclosed role.

When the internet encourages him to pursue the relationship, Khal reaches out to Kelsa – resulting in the two of them navigating a romance that neither of them could have expected.

Who stars in What If?

Eva Reign, of Sideways Smile fame, will take on the role of Kelsa, while Power Book II: Ghost actor Abubakr Ali will star as Khal.

Pose’s Courtnee Carter, Freaky star Kelly Lamor Wilson and Grant Reynolds have also been cast in the film – alongside Hamilton legend Renée Elise Goldsberry, too.

What are people saying about What If?

Alana Mayo, president of Orion Pictures, has 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.”

Billy Porter gets ready to attend 'Erdem' fashion show during London Fashion Week February 2020 on February 17, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
What If? marks Billy Porter’s feature directorial debut.

And what has Billy Porter said about What If?

“I’m thrilled to be part of this new space in Hollywood for telling all types of stories from all types of people,” Porter has said of his upcoming feature directorial debut.

“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 [producer] Alana Mayo have entrusted and empowered me in this insane time we all find ourselves in.”

When can we watch What If?

Production has yet to begin on the film, so we are predicting a late 2022/early 2023 release date at the very earliest. 

We’ll be sure to bring you more details as and when they become available.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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