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[This story contains spoilers from Hollywood.]
Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan’s new Netflix limited series Hollywood reimagines how the entertainment industry may have evolved differently if a woman were in charge and people took bold steps to dismantle the biases against race, gender and sexuality back in the 1940s.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to members of the star-studded cast, including Patti LuPone, Dylan McDermott, Jim Parsons, Jeremy Pope, Samara Weaving, Laura Harrier and Darren Criss, about what message they feel the series sends to those in power in Hollywood today.
“Women deserve and it’s time for their time in the power seat in this business and in our government,” said LuPone, who plays Avis Amberg, a female studio chief. “We shouldn’t be fighting for this, it should just be happening organically.”
“I think it sends the same message to those in power in Hollywood as it does to any of us out in the world even if you’re not in show business, which is that when you make a move for something that you know is right, when you make a move in your life to help yourself and those around you for a very human reason, it has a greater effect on all of humanity than you could ever imagine,” said Parsons, who portrays real life star-making agent Henry Wilson.
“Well I think it will definitely strike a pretty significant chord,” said Criss, who plays director Raymond Ainsley. “You know the show’s a great reminder of how far we have come, but also how far there is to go and how a lot of those prejudices still exist and they manifest in different ways. But I should hope it isn’t a scary finger wag. It’s checking in with a history that wasn’t always so glamorous.”
The cast also opened up about the powerful and emotional episode that sees their characters attend the Oscars.
“If we’re setting this in the ’40s, had people seen or heard that they were given an equal opportunity, you only need to hear it or see it once to feel inspired, to know that there’s space in the room for you,” said Pope, who plays screenwriter Archie Coleman. “So I think those are the most moving and powerful cuts: when you see the families listening and hearing and feeling seen and feeling like it’s a win for the community, for women, for a black gay man, for a young black girl. And I think that is the most moving part of our story. It’s so hopeful.”
“At the heart of this story, it’s about how important representation is and what could Hollywood look like if we had that representation at the beginning of Hollywood,” said Harrier, who plays starlet Camille Washington. “The changes we’re seeing now, what if they were happening at the very beginning?”
THR spoke to the cast remotely via Zoom, as they were all self-isolating amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. From the glamour to the drama to the inspiration, they say Hollywood is the perfect show to binge while you’re staying home.
“We’re quarantined, we’re in the house,” said Pope. “We’re looking for something hopeful and inspiring….So I think with anything our show is going to give you seven episodes of an escape to a fantasy world with real characters, [like] Henry Wilson, Rock Hudson and Anna May Wong, so many different characters that we know, but also these fictional characters who you root for, you have empathy for them. And when you leave you should feel inspired and a little bit hopeful, too.”
Watch the video above for more.