Billy on the Street‘s Billy Eichner is set to play closeted Bewitched and Hollywood Squares icon Paul Lynde in the biopic Man in the Box, which he is developing with producer Tim McNulty.
Eichner told Deadline that one reason he wants to play Lynde is to demonstrate how little has changed.
Said Eichner: “Perhaps we’re not as marginalized, politically, or in the world at large and obviously things have gotten better. But within our industry, although you’re seeing more gay people on TV, and more gay characters, we’re often used in such limited ways. “
Added Eichner: “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. We’re not seen as fully complex people, emotionally complicated, and as messy as anyone else. So, he was hypocritical, himself, in certain ways. He was offered, apparently, some gay roles, coming off of Hollywood Squares, that he didn’t want to take. He was scared to take those roles. It was more the general sense that, how could he be the star of this show, this real mainstream hit, in Hollywood Squares, where everyone’s saying he’s hilarious, waiting on the edge of their seats to see what he has to say, but that could be the extent of his opportunity? It’s hard to imagine that, had he been straight, and not as flamboyant, that he wouldn’t have had such limited options.”
Read the full, excellent interview HERE.