As Paul Lynde said in his infamous Halloween special, “I’m Paul Lynde. Well, somebody had to be.” And now that duty has fallen upon Billy Eichner.
Deadline reports that New York’s loudest sidewalk interviewer is set to star in and produce a biopic about Paul Lynde, the ’70s icon known for his roles in Bye Bye Birdie, Bewitched, and at the center of Hollywood Squares. As Eichner explained, while he looks absolutely nothing like Lynde, he feels a personal connection to the material: “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.
“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.”
But seriously, have you seen Lynde’s Halloween special? It is such a fascinatingly odd, shoddy relic—and that’s even before Kiss inexplicably shows up.