Zachary Quinto, the character actor famous for playing the evil Sylar from Heroes, Spock from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and Louis Ironson from Angels in America opened up about his sexuality for the first time in a New York Magazine profile earlier this month. It wasn’t much of a shocker: Mr. Quinto had a tabloid history of what we in the biz used to call “confirmed bachelorhood,” and taking the lead in a play about gay men with AIDS on Broadway is kind of like playing the MC in Cabaret. You don’t have to be gay yourself, but it sure helps.
What was interesting to us was why Mr. Quinto would come out now, when Angels in America has been closed since February. And apart from a few Internet fanboys, no one really wonders about Spock’s sexual tension with Captain Kirk. Was it just time for Mr. Quinto to come out from his glass closet? Or did Ryan Murphy have something to do with it?
After all, the NY Mag piece did manage to tie his recent outing to last night’s cameo as a malevolent, homosexual ghost on American Horror Story; one which is already being praised as the show’s best performance yet.
Okay, it’s probably unlikely that Mr. Quinto timed his outing to coincide with his latest role: ostensibly New York Mag‘s profile was about promoting Margin Call, a new thriller with Kevin Spacey and Stanley Tucci (which, despite the cast list, is not a LGBT-themed film). And he’s already sashayed into a similarly flamboyant role in Tori Spelling’s 2006 sitcom So NoTORIous. But it was hard to watch Mr. Quinto freak out with all his “inner-Martha” glory on last night’s FX show and not see how much fun the actor was having playing the prissy dead former owner of “Murder House.”
It might seem like a stretch, but look at the evidence. Horror Story is Ryan Murphy’s red-headed step-child when compared to Glee. It was released to tepid reviews, despite featuring a stellar cast of Connie Britton, Frances Conroy, Dennis O’Hare, and Jessica Lange. The ratings have been great, but again, they haven’t been Glee-great. The previews for last night’s episode made a big to-do about featuring Quinto’s mincing ghost Chad as a possible reoccurring character: combined with NY Mag’s shout-out to the role in conjunction with Mr. Quinto’s own sexuality, well, it’s hard not to imagine Ryan Murphy on his knees….pleading for the actor to give Horror Story some much-needed hype.
And he did just that: i09’s headline this morning was “Zachary Quinto just saved American Horror Story.” According to the piece:
The completely over-the-top Martha Stewart gay that Quinto was channeling could have been a bloody awful to watch. But thank goodness, Quinto is a very talented actor, and watching his transition from snipping homemaker to intense OCD nut job was wildly entertaining, and actually quite scary. Can we just get rid of the Harmons, and follow around Chad and Patrick?
Others have similarly praised his performance, making sure to note that the actor “recently came out in real life.”
In Mr. Quinto’s own words (though he was referring to Margin Call and not Horror Story), “The timing couldn’t be more impeccable.”