Ryan Murphy, one of the most high-profile and prolific creators in Hollywood, is setting his next project in a world he knows well: show business. Murphy re-teamed with producers Ian Brennan (Glee, The Politician) and Janet Mock (Pose) for a Netflix series about old Hollywood—with a twist. Below, everything we know about the show, which premieres May 1.
The series will focus on Hollywood in the era following World War II.
Although Murphy is a major player in the contemporary Hollywood landscape, his upcoming show will explore an alternate history of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Murrhy previously depicted this era in his FX limited series Feud: Bette and Joan.
The official synopsis reads:
Hollywood follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown—no matter the cost. Each character offers a unique glimpse behind the gilded curtain of Hollywood’s Golden Age, spotlighting the unfair systems and biases across race, gender and sexuality that continue to this day. Provocative and incisive, Hollywood exposes and examines decades-old power dynamics, and what the entertainment landscape might look like if they had been dismantled.
Mock, who writes, directs, and executive produces the series, also spoke about the way the show would revise Hollywood history in a statement:
With the present so fraught and the future uncertain, we turned to the past for direction, uncovering buried history to spin an aspirational tale of what ifs: What if a band of outsiders were given a chance to tell their own story? What if the person with greenlight power was a woman? The screenwriter a black man? What if the heroine was a woman of color? The matinee idol openly gay? And what if they were all invited into the room where the decisions are made, entering fully and unapologetically themselves to leave victorious and vaunted, their place in history cemented. Hollywood is a love letter to our little industry town where dreamers dwell, stars are born, and magic transcends reality.
The first trailer has arrived.
The first trailer for Hollywood follows those searching for success in “dreamland.” “If we change the way that movies are made, I think you can change the world,” Darren Criss’s aspiring director Raymond says in the star-studded first look. There’s dance sequences, film sets, and even a surprise cameo from Queen Latifah.
An all-star cast has been assembled.
The ensemble cast for the show is just as starry as its subject matter. Darren Criss, who won an Emmy for Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, plays Raymond, an up-and-coming director. He’ll be joined by David Corenswet (The Politician) as Jack, an aspiring actor; Laura Harrier (BlackKklansman) as Camille, an actress in the studio system; Jeremy Pope (The Ranger) as Archie, a screenwriter; Samara Weaving (Ready or Not) as Claire, an actress with secret connections; Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) as agent Henry Willson; Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story) as Ernie, a Hollywood connector; Holland Taylor (To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You) as Ellen Kincaid, a studio exec; Patti LuPone (Pose) as Avis, a socialite; Joe Mantello (The Normal Heart) as Dick, another studio exec; and Jake Picking (Top Gun: Maverick) as iconic actor Rock Hudson.
Mira Sorvino, Rob Reiner, and Maude Apatow will appear in the series as guest stars.
The series is executive produced by Murphy and Brennan, along with Alexis Martin Woodall and Janet Mock. Murphy and Brennan will write the series alongside Mock.
Hollywood drops May 1 on Netflix.
All seven episodes of Hollywood will hit Netflix on May 1. The release comes roughly a year after the show went into production. Murphy teased the project in February 2019 on Instagram writing, “Hollywood—my new Netflix show co-created with Ian Brennan—begins principal photography this summer. A love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown, this straight-to-series production will be my third show for Netflix and I couldn’t be more excited or proud about the work we are doing together. More to come…”
The show is Murphy’s third announced project for Netflix following The Politician, which premiered in September 2019, and Ratched, a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-inspired show starring Sarah Paulson as the titular nurse.