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As the network is creating buzz around the Versace-themed second season of American Crime Story ahead of its Jan. 17 debut, the John Landgraf-led outlet has handed out an eight-episode series order to yet another drama from Murphy. The series will debut in summer 2018 and will begin production in February in New York. Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) is no longer attached; she was poised to star as a modern dance teacher. The role has been recast as the part was reimagined as a 50-year-old African-American woman during production on the pilot. Charlayne Woodard (The Leftovers, ER) will take over the part.
Pose looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in 1980s New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene, and the ball culture world. Toplined by frequent Murphy collaborator Evan Peters, Kate Mara and James Van Der Beek, Pose features the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles as well as the largest recurring LGBTQ cast ever for a scripted TV series. The series features five trans actors in series regular roles: MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore (pictured above as Angel), Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross. Each of them are playing authentic transgender characters.
Murphy co-created the show with frequent collaborator Brad Falchuk (Glee, American Horror Story) and Steven Canals. Murphy’s American Crime Story collaborators Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson (The People v. O.J. Simpson and the upcoming The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) as well as Alexis Martin Woodall (The Normal Heart, Feud, American Horror Story) and Sherry Marsh (Vikings) will executive produce the Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions co-production. Murphy will direct the first two episodes. Ballroom legends and survivors serve as consultants for Pose.
“I am thrilled to join forces with John Landgraf and FX Networks and FXP and Dana Walden, Gary Newman and Fox 21 Television Studios to present what I think is a game-changer of a show, which at its heart is an uplifting series about the universal quest for identity, family and respect,” Murphy said. “Along with being a dance musical and an affirming look at American life in the 1980s, I’m so proud that Pose and FX has made history right from the beginning by featuring the most trans series regular actors ever in an American television production. Additionally, the first season of Pose will feature 50-plus LGBTQ characters — a record in American television history. I can’t wait for people to see this incredibly talented, passionate cast.”
Added Walden and Newman, who oversee both Fox — where Murphy will launch procedural 911 on Jan. 3 — and 20th TV: “A decade ago, Ryan brought us the groundbreaking pilot script for Glee, a show that celebrated underdogs, proudly showcased a completely diverse cast of unknown actors and led the way for new norms of inclusion and diversity on television. In Pose, Ryan has again, with his gifted collaborators, placed a spotlight on people who have been marginalized in society, bringing together emotional stories and a hugely talented cast in an inspirational series.”
Peters and Mara (the latter of whom returns to the Murphy universe after a role in the first season of American Horror Story) play New Jersey couple Stan and Patty, who get sucked into the glamour and intrigue of New York City in the 1980s. Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek, What Would Diplo Do?) plays Peters’ financial kingpin boss, Matt. Alexa Fogel (Atlanta) led a six-month, nationwide casting search for Pose‘s history-making trans cast. Tony winner Billy Porter, newcomers Ryan Jamaal Swain and Dyllon Burnside co-star.
As part of Murphy’s Half Foundation, the series will bring on emerging trans directors to be mentored through his Directing Mentorship Program.
Pose becomes Murphy’s latest TV series and joins Netflix’s two-season order Ratched; FX anthologies American Horror Story, American Crime Story and Feud; and Fox’s 911, all of them produced by 20th TV, where he is under a lucrative overall deal. Murphy is also readying season two of Feud, which will focus on Charles and Diana, as well as two other seasons of American Crime Story that are poised to explore Hurricane Katrina and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
For FX, Pose joins a scripted roster that also includes the final season of The Americans, Atlanta, Baskets, Better Things, Legion, Snowfall, Taboo and Trust. The future of anthology Fargo remains in limbo as creator Noah Hawley juggles other projects. On the pilot side, FX still has its Sons of Anarchy prequel Mayans MC, among others, in the works.