Yes, stories about queer young adults making it in this world are obviously essential. We need films like Booksmart and shows like Sex Education. But what about stories about queer TV characters who have aged out of adolescence? Stories that focus on older queer adults are a bit rarer, and when we do get them, they play into tropes like the forlorn period lesbian drama or the heartbreaking end-of-life prestige film.
Thanks to Kal Penn, we might have more representation coming soon on that front. Weeks after publicly revealing he’s been in a queer relationship for the past 11 years, Penn is reportedly behind a comedy pilot for FX about a man who also comes out in his 40s.
Deadline reports that Penn will star as Owen, a newly out man attempting to co-parent with his ex-wife Diana while navigating new love. The show will also chronicle Owen’s friendship with a trans teenager, Clay.
Deadline describes Owen as “intelligent with a dry wit” and a New York City hospital’s head of pediatrics. However, a hookup with a guy results in Owen realizing he’s gay.
The show, titled Belated, is written, directed and executive produced by Peter Tolan, who co-created the FX series Rescue Me, which starred Denis Leary as a New York City firefighter. Deadline reports that, like Penn, Tolan also came out publicly as gay later in his life. In 2014, Tolan acknowledged his sexuality in a conversation with Leary for Hollywood Reporter.
The news of Penn’s show comes at a high point for the actor. He just released his memoir You Can’t Be Serious, where he opened up about his fiancé Josh. He spoke to People about their relationship, saying “I’ve always been very public with everybody I’ve personally interacted with. Whether it’s somebody that I meet at a bar, if Josh and I are out or we’re talking to friends.”
“I’m really excited to share our relationship with readers. But Josh, my partner, my parents, and my brother, four people who I’m closest to in the family, are fairly quiet. They don’t love attention and shy away from the limelight,” he continued.
Next up, Deadline also reported Penn has executive produced and appeared in the Comedy Central film about the Diwali festival, Hot Mess Holiday. Let the Kal Penn-ification of Hollywood continue.
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