Luckily for Ryan Murphy, the producer behind Netflix's The Boys in the Band, Zachary Quinto had no qualms about dressing up in a costume designed to garner attention. The new film follows a group of gay friends in 1968 as they celebrate a birthday party that quickly takes a sour turn.
Quinto plays the birthday boy, Harold, a hard-to-like character who is cunning and just plain rude to those closest to him. To understand why, get through to the end of the film—it's worth it. If you're overeager for an answer, simply Google the original Mart Crowley play, which the film (and its 2018 Tony-winning Broadway revival) are based on.
Speaking with E! News, Quinto opened up about transforming into Harold, whose velvet green suit is the flashiest on that celebratory night (he is the guest of honor, after all) and whose face is littered with pockmarks that stem from his internalized shame and anxiety.
"When we were doing the play on Broadway, I was responsible for my own makeup," Quinto says. "So that experience was a fun way to start every night in my dressing room, putting on the applications of his pockmarks and filling them in and painting my face and then putting on my wig. It was a real kind of assuming the character in a physical way."
For the movie, Murphy and director Joe Mantello tapped makeup artist Kim Ayers, hairstylist Chris Clark and 12-time Emmy nominated costume designer Lou Eyrich, each responsible for making it clear that Harold, with his textured outfits, polished hairdo and oversize sunglasses, uses fashion as armor.
Quinto recalls the moment he realized his costume for the movie was going to be over the top. "[Lou] unfurled this bolt of green velvet," he says. "I just knew that we were taking it all to a whole other level. So that was incredibly gratifying." He also thanks production designer Judy Becker and the props department for helping the story seamlessly evolve from the Broadway stage to the silver screen.
Separately, Quinto reflects on the camaraderie he shared with his castmates—Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Tuc Watkins, Robin de Jesús, Michael Benjamin Washington, Charlie Carver and Brian Hutchison—and how it inspired their work.
"There were gales of laughter cascading through the hallways of the Booth Theater backstage during the entire time of the run, and that translated to the sound stages at Sunset Gower," he says. "There was a real joy in getting to go to work with people that you love and cherish so much. I think that people could see that in the work, they could see it on stage and I think they'll hopefully be able to see it on the screen as well. It's a huge cornerstone of this experience for all of us and something that I think we're all really grateful for."
The Boys in the Band is now streaming on Netflix.