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Billy Eichner To Play Paul Lynde In MAN IN THE BOX

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Billy Eichner To Play Paul Lynde In MAN IN THE BOX

Billy Eichner is set to play TV icon Paul Lynde in the upcoming film Man in the Box, according to Deadline. Eichner and producer Tom McNulty are developing the biopic based on the life of Lynde. The duo have 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.

Eichner is best known for hosting Billy On The Street and voicing Timon in The Lion King. He is set to play Matt Drudge in the upcoming AMERICAN CRIME Story.

DEADLINE: Paul Lynde was a very funny actor, but what about him made this worth movie treatment for you?

Eichner told Deadline in an interview: 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."

Read the original article on Deadline.


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