Spoiler alert for a few plot lines and scenes from the first two episodes of “Hollywood.”
Without giving away too many spoilers, the show takes place in post-WWII Hollywood. David Corenswet stars as Jack, an aspiring actor who becomes a call boy in a prostitution ring run by a slimy gas station owner (Dylan McDermott).
“I would say that it is almost a revisionist history of Hollywood,” Laura Harrier, who plays a Dorothy Dandridge-like character dating an aspiring director (Darren Criss), told Variety. “I love to think about what the world could have looked like had we been able to have representation of women, of people of color, of people of the LGBTQ community at the beginning of Hollywood. How would movies and TV look different? How would the world look different?”
How that retelling of Hollywood history plays out is yet to be seen, but the show also features Tony-nominated Jeremy Pope as Archie, a gay screenwriter who becomes romantically involved with one of his call boy customers, a still-unknown Rock Hudson (Jake Picking). Fictionalized versions of Hudson and other Hollywood idols appear on the show.
“Archie is fearless,” Pope said. “He is going to make things happen. He is not ashamed of who he is and what he has to do to get there, which is what I love about him. He is trying to occupy a space in the industry that is not built for him.”
Pope first met with creator Murphy in June the day before the Tony Awards, where the actor was nominated twice for his work in “Choir Boy” and “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “There was no script,” Pope told Variety. “All I knew was ‘Archie, a writer,’ but Ryan asked me to trust him and go on this journey with him, and here we are at the first screening.”
The chemistry between Pope and Picking is undeniably strong. “I looked at Jeremy in the eyes and we were both like, ‘We’re going to do this.’ That was exciting for me,” said Picking, who added that there was an intimacy coordinator on set. “I saw the spark in Jeremy’s eyes and I knew he was committed. That’s what made everything so enthralling.”
Corenswet is seen in some of “Hollywood’s” most compromising–and naked–positions, including an unforgettable scene with Patti LuPone, who plays a former silent movie star now married to a studio boss. “The first half of the scene I get to sit there and listen to her deliver this amazing monologue and then she gets to tell me to undress,” he said. “It’s the most uncomfortable moment, getting undressed down to your tighty-whities in front of Patti LuPone!”
Murphy was unable to make the screening due to working on the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical “The Prom,” also for Netflix.
Others from the show in attendance were producers Ian Brennan, Alexis Martin Woodall and Janet Mock and cast members Maude Apatow, Michelle Krusiec and Mira Sorvino. The guest list also included Judd Apatow, Laverne Cox, Antoni Porowski, Adam Shankman, Annie Starke, EJ Johnson, Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin, Rumer Willis and Zelda Williams.
“Hollywood” premieres on Netflix on May 1.