Zachary Quinto on his love of Galway, and revisiting 'The Boys in the Band' for Netflix
Zoom calls may be the norm these days, but when you get the opportunity to talk to a man who has played a number of iconic roles in movies and TV series such as Zachary Quinto has, one just has to pinch themselves that they have managed to get a full 15 minutes with such an inspirational and recognisable actor.
Arriving onto our screens as Sylar in TV series 'Heroes', and going on to star in Ryan Murphy's first two series of 'American Horror Story', as well as playing Spock in the rebooted movie trilogy of 'Star Trek', one would expect that the actor would be sick to death of answering questions regarding his past ventures. However, the star is very chilled and completely grateful for his roles in these franchises and was happy to discuss everything from his back catalogue, as well as his appearance in Netflix's latest Ryan Murphy release 'The Boys in the Band'.
Directed by Joe Mantello, 'The Boys in the Band' is a remake of the original Tony-award-winning off-Broadway play of the same name, written by Mart Crowley and debuting in 1968. This new Netflix reinterpretation sees the all-gay cast revisit the characters they played in their 2018 Broadway revival show, and stars the likes of Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, and Charlie Carver.
Playing the role of birthday boy Harold, we first asked Zachary what it felt like to get the opportunity to return to a character who is - to put it mildly - done with everything. Was he apprehensive?
"The most unique part of this experience was having the foundation of the Broadway production under our feet as we walked onto set. To make the movie, there was such a sense of celebration and familiarity and connection to the world and the characters because of that. I was apprehensive at the beginning, when I first got invited to be a part of the Broadway production, I wasn't sure if it was something I wanted to do.
"Now I am so grateful that I made the decision to be a part of it - I'd be more than kicking myself if I was watching my dear friends and collaborators put this project out into the world and if I was on the sidelines it would have been a brutal place to be."
On playing the character of Harold - a character who is late to his own birthday party - Zachary describes him as a man who is always thinking "let the world come to me". When asked if he had looked at any specific queer people in popular culture as an influence for playing Harold, he mentions Oscar Wilde as one such person who the character shares qualities with.
"He's definitely got a little Oscar Wilde in there. Just in terms of his innate ability to recognise people, and see people for who they are. I think that's a pretty "Wildean" trait. But he's also got an acid-tongued nature to him. I mean Oscar Wilde could certainly have been a bitch, but this is a little bit more overt than that. For me, it was really just an amalgamation of people that I've met over time.
"Also talking to Mart Crowley (the original creator of the play, and who died earlier this year), Harold is based on a real person in Mart's life named Howard Jeffrey who was a very successful dancer and choreographer and one of his closest friends. I talked to Mart a lot about their relationship and how something could be so toxic in one moment and then so endearing in another. And that duality is essentially the core of his relationship with Michael (Jim Parsons)."
We then asked Zachary Quinto how important it is for him that characters such as this - ones who are now under the Ryan Murphy umbrella - are seen more often on our screens.
"I think the fact that we are a cast of all openly-gay, each in our own ways successful, thriving, integrated men is a really significant thing. And especially when you compare it to the guys who were originally in these roles in the late '60s it really is a testament to how far we've come. Certainly, Ryan has been instrumental in that evolution, so I do feel really grateful to be a part of his orbit. He has championed marginalised voices in all of his work and it's a hallmark to who he is as a film maker and producer. And it's a real honour to be a part of that."
Jumping at the vast Oscar Wilde knowledge that Zachary had - and knowing that his mother is Irish - we asked him if he had ever taken a trip over to this side of the Atlantic. And it turns out he used to live in Galway.
"I lived in Galway for four months when I was in college and I travelled all around the country while I was there. I lived in Corrib Park, just outside of the city centre and I worked at Javas on Upper Abbeygate Street (amazing cafe, would recommend), and I spent a lot of time there. I love Ireland and I love Galway, and I hope to go back before too long. I returned back there in 2013 for the Galway Film Fleadh and that was a really great experience as well. I have a lot of fond memories of my time there."
And one final question - will he be returning to Spock for a fourth time?
"I don't really know to be honest with you! If I had an answer I'd give it to you, but there's a lot of conversations about if it's going to happen, when it might happen... But there are no guarantees. And so it's hard to say to be honest. I wish I had more of a definitive response for you - but I hope so. It would be nice."