The true story of the secret love affair between two of the most popular leading men of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins, is heading to the big screen thanks to Zachary Quinto and J.J. Abrams.
Titled Tab & Tony, the Paramount drama is based on Hunter’s first-person account of his struggle to come to terms with his sexual orientation in 1950s Hollywood, an era in which being openly gay was taboo.
Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and his Star Trek collaborator Quinto are producing, along with Allan Glaser, a studio exec turned producer who is also Hunter’s longtime partner, and Neil Koenigsberg, a legendary publicist who is the founding “K” in the PR firm PMK.
Writing the screenplay is Doug Wright, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Tony-winning play I Am My Own Wife and also penned Quills, the off-Broadway play that was adapted into a 2000 period drama starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet.
A search is underway for a director and actors to portray the two icons.
Tab & Tony is inspired by Hunter’s 2005 memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, the New York Times best-seller that chronicles how the actor, a product of the studio system, ultimately rose above the pressure to conform to the boy-next-door image created for him to embrace his true identity and share his story. The book was turned into an acclaimed 2015 documentary of the same name directed by Jeffrey Schwarz and produced by Glaser.
Perkins, known for his iconic role as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992. Hunter will turn 87 next month.
LGBTQ-themed movies have already been gaining momentum in the indie sphere, with such films as 2016’s Moonlight and 2017’s Call Me by Your Name generating awards acclaim and healthy box office. Earlier this year, Fox’s Love, Simon became the first studio movie to focus on gay teen romance.
Quinto currently is on Broadway in the revival of Mart Crowley’s ground-breaking 1968 gay drama, The Boys in the Band. The actor is repped by Untitled Entertainment, WME and Jackoway Tyerman.
Abrams is prepping to shoot Star Wars: Episode IX this summer and is executive producing HBO’s sci-fi drama Westworld.