LOOKING FOR WILLIAM (IN ALL THE QUEER PLACES) In 1977, Neil Simon’s film The Goodbye Girl staged a parodic New York theatrical production of Richard III with Richard Dreyfuss playing a straight actor being directed to play Richard III as a gay character. The director explains his interpretation to the assembled cast as follows:
Richard III was a flaming homosexual. So was Shakespeare for that matter. But the angry mob at the Globe theater wasn’t going to plunk down two shillings to see a bunch of pansies jumping about on the stage. It was society that crippled Richard, not childbirth. I mean read your text. He sent those two cute little boys up to the tower and we never saw them again. Oh, we know why, don’t we? See, what I want to do here is to strip Richard bare, metaphorically. Let’s get rid of the hump. Let’s get rid of the twisted extremities and show him the way he would be today: the queen who wanted to be king.