Ryan Murphy’s seven-episode “Hollywood,” debuting today on Netflix, is set in the post-WW II period. The main cast is a group of young people who dream of success, but given the era, are marginalized: the gay screenwriter, black actress, the half-Filipino director, etc.
But a few real-life actors — Rock Hudson, Hattie McDaniel and Anna May Wong — get major biographical overhauls.
Murphy, who did “The Politician” for Netflix, as well as “Glee” for Fox and “American Horror Story” for FX, has liberally mingled fact and fiction.
In an interview with The Wrap, Murphy said: “It’s about buried history … the optimism and the opportunities in Hollywood. I just wanted everybody who didn’t get a chance at their dream to get one. What happens when you, as a group of people or a community, come together and try to take on the system?” he asks. “Try and push something through that everybody keeps telling you will not work, when you know it might.”
He is co-executive producing “Hollywood” with Darren Criss (“Glee, “American Crime Story”), who also has a starring role. Criss plays Raymond Ainsley, a director who believes in the power of cinema. As his character says: “Movies don’t just show us how the world is, they show us how the world can be.”
Or as Criss shared with the trade magazine: “We’re giving a 2020s consciousness to the 1940s style.”
Other cast members include David Corenswet, Jeremy Pope, Holland Taylor, Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott and Samara Weaving.
Murphy collaborator Ian Brennan (“Glee,” “Scream Queens”) came aboard as co-creator, with “Pose” producer Janet Mock as executive producer.
“It’s 1940’s Hollywood, so there’s going to be great clothes and great accent,” Corenswet told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s going to be sexy and optimistic.”