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.
American Horror Story‘s Most Shocking Onscreen Transformations
Sarah Paulson, the show’s most frequent star, has rocked just about every hairstyle under the sun throughout her run (even getting to model two at one time for her conjoined twin role in Freak Show). While she usually plays more sympathetic characters, her red-headed transformation into a stern Wilhemina Venable for Apocalypse certainly stands out. Seriously, the eyebrows alone… Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
Poor Billy Eichner spent a good part of Apocalypse running around as a tattered survivor of the nuclear fallout. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
We don’t even know the names of most of the 1984 characters yet, but we do know most of the cast had to endure some serious hairspray, with Billie Lourd getting a particularly severe spritz. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and @mrrpmurphy.
Naomi Grossman’s transformation into recurring character Pepper is one of the series’ most notable. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
Evan Peters mostly fills the role of “confused young man” in the series, but he got to stretch his skills in Cult for a segment in which he played Warhol. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
Though, maybe that wasn’t as drastic as his appearance as Christ himself. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
Yes, the show even turned Meryl Streep’s daughter into a freak show performer once. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Everett Collection.
Gaga maintained her glamour in Hotel, but went full on swamp witch for her smaller role in this season. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Everett Collection.
Patti LaBelle is showbiz glamor personified, but she underwent a pretty drastic makeover for her role in Freak Show. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
Perhaps regretting killing off her original character too early, Ryan Murphy brought Joan Collins back for a second character later in the season and fitted the famous brunette with a white wig. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
Jessica Lange usually gets to retain a bit of glamour for her roles, but certain scenes in Coven required her to portray the dying witch as, well, a dying witch. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and FX.
Perhaps less notable than her accent from this season, but a beard on Kathy Bates is still a beard on Kathy Bates. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Everett Collection.
Joker who? Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
Lena Dunham has only appeared on one season, but even she required a makeover. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDB.
France Conroy’s most famous roles are usually more low key, which made her transformation into full-fledged fashionista Myrtle Snow all the more exciting. Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Everett Collection.