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Grey’s Anatomy’s Jake Borelli Shares His Favorite Rom-Coms

Jake Borelli. Photo by Jessica Castro.

For Jake Borelli, the 29-year-old actor and Ohio native, the dream of acting presented itself during the many late nights he spent watching sitcoms like Full House, The Cosby Show, Three’s Company, and I Dream of Jeannie on TV as a child.I used to watch Nick at Nite until the wee hours of the morning,” he says. Soon after, Borelli found himself booked and busy, landing his first role as the fox in the local production of The Little Prince. Now, after having appeared in a few Nickelodeon shows (iCarly and The Thundermans), the actor has been making waves on both film and television. Lately, with his role in Freeform’s first-ever gay rom-com The Thing About Harry, and more recently in the ABC mega-hit series Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Levi Schmitt, Borelli has been busy making television history. Introduced in season 14, Borelli’s character brought the first major gay male romance in the show’s entire running history. The journey of his character, and the audience reception, inspired the actor to come out publicly—a personal journey he felt he had thought about his entire life, but, unlike his roles, had no way to really prepare for. On the heels of the 17th season of Grey’s, the actor gave us his thoughts on a few of his favorite romantic comedies, from Sex and The City to The Big Sick.



“Probably my all time favorite rom-com. My mom took me to the movie theater to see it when I was younger. I immediately fell in love with James Marsden. Back then I thought I wanted to be James Marsden, and now I realize I wanted to be Katherine Heigl and have James Marsden sing ‘Bennie and the Jets’ to me in the rain at a bar. So that was a very eye-opening experience for a young queer kid in Ohio.”



“I love The Big Sick. I actually just re-watched it, because I had seen it right when it came out too, and it’s such a good ride. It’s a rom-com, but then it also gets really real, really quick. I just feel like it’s kind of a perfect movie in that sense. I also love Kumail [Nanjiani], and the fact that him and his wife wrote this movie together about her real life, that is so cool. I actually was lucky enough to watch the movie and hear a Q&A with them afterward. I think it’s so cool when someone takes their lived experience and is able to articulate it so clearly so that the rest of us can go along on the ride with them. I could watch that movie over and over and over again. It’s hilarious and sad.”



“Oh my gosh. You’re going to hate me because two of my best friends are obsessed—I mean, obsessed—with Sex and the City. They’ve literally bought the scripts, and had people come over and they’ll do reenactments of the scripts. They cast each other, and these boys hate me because I haven’t seen it. I know. I’ve watched the first five episodes 100 times, and then something will happen and then I’ll have to go re-watch them. I need to just binge it. We went to New York one time and they set up a full-on SATC tour, but they created it. It was my friend’s birthday. And then I was over there, like, ‘Hey, can’t we just go see a play or go to Broadway?’ And they’re like, ‘No. We’re going to go to this random bar and get a Cosmo.’”



“First of all, just the fact that they changed the song from ‘Always Be My Baby’ to Always Be My Maybe, and they play it at the end credits, that just gets me so giddy. But Ali Wong and Randall Park… once again, it’s like The Big Sick. You have an authentic voice acted by the people who wrote the movie. It’s incredible. It’s what we did with The Thing About Harry, too. We take the classic structure of a rom-com, but we tell it through the eyes of somebody that we haven’t gotten to hear this type of story through. I also love how freaking powerful Ali Wong is in the movie. Oh, it’s so good.”



“I think it’s such a cute movie for young queer people. I feel like it also very much encapsulated my high school life. So it was very awesome to feel represented like that.”



“I feel like that one is one that all my girlfriends loved. That, for some reason, was a movie they all gravitated to. Classic.”



“Oh my god. She’s The Man is literally… when I was in high school, that was me and my friends favorite movie. It’s pretty much a rom-com. She was fricking hilarious in that movie, and I just remember loving it as a kid. I also like young Channing Tatum. I mean, come on.”



“The second I got the offer and got sent the script, I started reading it. And the little Jake in me could not put the script down because more than any other thing I had ever read it spoke exactly to who I am as a queer person, and exactly to the types of stories that I want to tell as a queer person. It wasn’t about coming out. It wasn’t about shame. It was just a through and through love story about queer people. It’s a classic rom-com. I think it validated the types of love stories that I have in my real life. The fact that Disney is pushing it forward is incredible. I think it tells us so much about where we’re headed in terms of storytelling. My niece is actually in the movie. She’s the baby at the end, which is so sweet. Margo Borelli. She’ll be a star here soon. It was just such a special moment for me.”