(NEW YORK) — Emmy-winning producer Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix show, Hollywood, debuts today on the streaming service. The series is something of a “what-if” look at post-WW II Tinseltown, and how things would have been different if racial and sexual biases hadn’t been so powerful at the time.
“Well, the show is about a bunch of young filmmakers and actors who are trying to make it in Hollywood in 1940s,” says Michelle Krusiec [CREW-shek], who portrays real-life figure, actress Anna May Wong. “But it’s really a look at the underbelly,” she adds, calling it a “revisionist story of Hollywood.”
Hollywood’s ensemble cast includes frequent Murphy collaborator Darren Criss, who won an Emmy for Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace, as well as The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons as a cutthroat movie mogul, plus Laura Harrier, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor, and Broadway legend Patti LuPone.
Krusiec says of the cast, “I would find myself sitting in the hair and makeup trailer, you’re just walking around going: “‘Wow."”
She adds, “[F]or Ryan Murphy I guess it’s commonplace because he really assembles some very talented people, but also not just in TV and film, but from the theater. And…being somebody who…really loves theater, I found myself in the company of some very impressive people.”
Since her character was a real-life person, Krusiec said she was stunned to learn about Wong, who like Krusiec was Asian-American. Her career spanned from silent movies to TV, but she often was relegated to stereotypical roles. Hollywood imagines a different reality, however.
Says Krusiec, “I was really quite heartbroken at what happened to her and that she never had a moment where she could shine and that could have been given to her, but it wasn’t.”
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