Producer, director, and creator extraordinaire Ryan Murphy has quite the knack for entertaining audiences on an multiple times a year for the last 10 years. Something has to be said about someone who can make you want to get up and sing out proud with the teens of “Glee” one minute and make you feel sick to your stomach by the depravities of “American Horror Story” the next. Also, don’t forget about Murphy’s affinity for showing the darkness lurking below and behind the sunshine of southern California. Taking that and finding a middle ground between Murphy’s two aforementioned shows just might characterize “Hollywood,” his latest project.
Ian Brennan—Murphy’s creative partner on “Glee,” “Scream Queens” and “The Politician”—serves the same role for the seven-episode limited series, with both men also on board as executive producers. Other individuals with that title on the show include Alexis Martin Woodall who shared Emmy wins with Murphy on the first two seasons of “American Crime Story,” and Janet Mock, herself sharing an Emmy with Murphy for “Pose.”
The project’s ensemble contains a nice mix of Murphy mainstays, theatre veterans, stars-on-the-rise and a few surprise appearances. Darren Criss certainly fits the bill for the first item in the list, and his lauded portrayal of cunning charlatan turned killer Andrew Cunanan in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” demonstrated his acting pedigree. Patti LuPone and Dylan McDermott also join Criss in category number one. Category number two participants include LuPone as well but also Holland Taylor (“Butley” & “The Cocktail Hour”) and Joe Mantello (“Angels in America”). Rounding out the cast are young talents such as Laura Harrier (“BlacKkKlansman” & “Spider-Man: Homecoming”), Samara Weaving (“Ready or Not” & “SMILF”), and Jake Picking (“Horse Girl”). Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino (“Mighty Aphrodite”) and Oscar-nominated director/actor Rob Reiner (“A Few Good Men”) are set to guest star, too.
Here’s the synopsis:
A new limited series from Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, HOLLYWOOD follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown — no matter the cost. Each character offers a unique glimpse behind the gilded curtain of Hollywood’s Golden Age, spotlighting the unfair systems and biases across race, gender and sexuality that continue to this day. Provocative and incisive, HOLLYWOOD exposes and examines decades-old power dynamics, and what the entertainment landscape might look like if they had been dismantled.
“Hollywood”—a Netflix original—premieres on May 1. See what went into making the celebrity mecca and check out the trailer below.