Gay actor-comedian Billy Eichner is set to play TV icon Paul Lynde in the upcoming biopic Man in the Box,
Eichner and producer Tom McNulty have optioned a script by Edwin Cannistraci on Lynde life. While Lynde never officially “out,” his sexuality was well-known in front of and behind the camera throughout a run on television beginning in the ’50s up until his death in 1982.
Said Eichner in Deadline:
One of the main reasons I want to do this is…because gay actors are never, hardly ever, I should say, allowed to play our own gay icons. Harvey Milk, Freddie Mercury, Elton John. Where are the gay actors? When it really comes to some big project about a gay icon, the one everyone’s throwing awards at…we love the spectacle of rewarding a straight actor, for quote unquote, transforming himself into a gay person.”
Eichner also talked about the very real consequences for actors coming out and how they are often career-ending:
When someone comes out of the closet, we celebrate them. We applaud them. We put them on the cover of magazines. We say, thank you for living your truth, and thank you for being brave, and you’re such a role model for our gay kids. And then instantly, that actor gets taken off so many casting lists in the business,” he said. “This is exactly what happened to Paul, and it’s still happening today, which I can tell you from my own career, having lived it on the day to day, for almost 20 years now.”
In addition to “Man in the Box” Billy will also be writing and starring in an upcoming gay romantic comedy from Judd Apatow’s production company for Universal Pictures. The untitled project will be the first major studio movie with a gay lead since last year’s “Love, Simon,”
A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Billy Eichner on his much needed upcoming gay themed projects! Also Billy if you are reading this and need a gay historian for research on the Paul Lynde project I am available.
I’ll be waiting to be called on in the center square.