Whenever Ryan Murphy premieres one new project, he uses the opportunity to tease developments of another. So on the day The Politician drops on Netflix, Murphy has lifted the curtain on Hollywood, another upcoming show for the streamer that had been previously been cloaked in secrecy.
The only previous concrete details we had about the show were that it would center on 1940's Tinseltown and reunite Murphy once again with Darren Criss. Now, a glut of new casting announcements not only adds some new star names to the mix, but gives us some clues as to what to expect.
In addition to Criss, Murphy has selected a group of actors both familiar and new to his television universe including Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story), Samara Weaving (Ready or Not), Jim Parsons (Murphy's production of Boys in the Band), Maude Apatow (Euphoria), Joe Mantello (Boys in the Band), Laura Harrier (Spiderman: Homecoming) and Jake Picking (Blockers).
They join recently added Holland Taylor (who will work with Murphy for the first time, and is partners with Murphy's uber-muse Sarah Paulson), David Corenswet (The Politician), Jeremy Pope (Pose), and Patti LuPone.
Deadline drops the info that Corenswet, Pope, and Criss will play the three main characters, which seems obvious as all three will also receive Executive Producer credits as well.
A few of the characters these actors will play already have names, though most are just first names, which doesn't give us much to go on. The major exception is that Parsons and Picking will be playing two men straight out of Hollywood history: leading man Rock Hudson and his notoriously creepy agent Henry Wilson. Which shouldn't be a surprise, their story not only has "Ryan Murphy material" written all over it, but Murphy may have actually sneakily alluded to that story in this season of American Horror Story: 1984.
Hudson, with his square jaw and beefcake build, emerged as a major leading man in the 1950s, winning polls as it's most popular by the end of the decade. Though, through it all he was forced to hide his homosexuality.
Before all of that, though, Hudson was just a kid named Roy Harold Scherer Jr. who had moved to Southern California after a stint in the Navy to live with his biological father and chase stardom. He wasn't particularly successful at first, and even worked as a truck driver, but eventually caught a break when he sent his picture to talent agent Willson.
Willson has worked and schmoozed his way through Hollywood at first as a gossip writer and then as a talent scout. He had helped to launch the career of Lana Turner, but became widely known for shepherding the career of young actors with "beefcake" appeal. Of course, many of (but not all of) his clients were secretly gay, bisexual or otherwise "heteroflexible," and of whom Willson exploited for sexual favors. Inside Hollywood, just about everyone knew what was up, but Willson worked hard to keep it out of the gossip columns. Hudson would become Willson's biggest success, and later in his career when a tabloid threatened to out Hudson, Willson instead offered up to essentially out another of his clients, Tab Hunter, instead.
If you're wondering, Picking (who also has a role in the upcoming Top Gun sequel) has the requisite beefcake build and square jaw necessary to play Hudson.
Interestingly, the latest episode of AHS may have alluded to themes similar to Hudson and Willson's story. It was revealed that Cody Fern's character had been exploited by a lecherous gay porn Svengali, but still had his sites set on mainstream stardom. Whether that was an intentional tell or not remains to be seen.
It's also unclear how much Hudson and Willson will figure into the series. As we all know by now, Murphy loves to include interludes and juicy side-plots into his series. Though, we assume that the inclusion of at least some real life characters in the show only opens up the possibility to more down the line as well. Are we on a crash course towards Ryan Murphy's take on Marilyn Monroe in future seasons? Time will only tell. At least it makes up for the fact that it doesn't seem like we'll ever get another season of Feud.
Hollywood had reportedly already begun filming over the summer and will premiere on Netflix next year.