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Sat Jul 25, 2020, 11:27 AM

Billy Eichner To Play Paul Lynde In 'Man In The Box'

Actor-comedian Billy Eichner and producer Tom McNulty are developing Man in the Box, a biopic based on the life of groundbreaking TV icon Paul Lynde. Eichner plans to star. They’ve optioned a script by Edwin Cannistraci, and Eichner and McNulty are currently meeting with creatives to round out the rest of the production team.

After his breakout turn in Bye Bye Birdie, Lynde became a big TV star with his guest turns as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, and in his role on the long-running game show Hollywood Squares. While Lynde was never publicly “out,” he never lied about his sexuality either, as most famous gay actors of that era did. His unique comic persona often and overtly nodded to his “barely-closeted” lifestyle in a way that still feels groundbreaking for his time. But he was not on the same lists for roles as straight actors. One of the reasons Eichner wants to see the film made is because of the chance to illustrate how little things have changed.

There’s some overlap, between Paul and I, in that we both had our breakthrough in the industry, as performers, presenting a rather larger-than-life, flamboyant, gay persona on screen. Even though I was always very out, Paul was never technically out. But he was as out as you could be, at that time, in that he was clearly leaning into a flamboyant persona. Unlike Rock Hudson, and Tab Hunter, and Cary Grant, and all these other actors, he wasn’t pretending to be straight. You didn’t see him getting set up on dates with women, or having phony relationships with women, to try to present to the world as a straight man. I think that was very admirable, for the time, and also, if you look at those jokes on Hollywood Squares, he comes as close to admitting he’s gay as you possibly can. He’s making thinly veiled, at best, references to gay sex, to finding men attractive, to swinging both ways. It’s not even subtle, and rather bold for the time. That wasn’t some underground, indie film being shot in New York; it was as mainstream as you can get. Hollywood Squares was a huge hit, always in the top 10 or 20 shows, for over a decade. It made him a very famous, wealthy person.

Now, look. He’s a complicated guy, he’s not a martyr or an angel. He had terrible substance abuse problems. He could be a real asshole, and again, one of the reasons I think it’s a compelling story is because when we are presented with these biopics about gay people, we’re often seen as martyrs, victims. Now he’s a complicated guy, so some of it was his own doing. After The Paul Lynde Show failed, he was always waiting around, wanting someone to write him a great vehicle.

https://deadline.com/2020/07/billy-eichner-paul-lynde-movie-man-in-the-actor-stigmatized-for-being-gay-eichner-feels-things-havent-changed-for-gay-actors-1202990876/

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Reply Billy Eichner To Play Paul Lynde In 'Man In The Box' (Original post)
left-of-center2012 Jul 2020 OP
hlthe2b Jul 2020 #1
monmouth4 Jul 2020 #2

Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2020, 11:33 AM

1. Well, that would not be my choice for who would portray him, but we shall see...


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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sat Jul 25, 2020, 02:46 PM

2. I cannot think of one reason I would want to see a film about the guy. Arrogant and nasty..n/t

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