Last Friday, at a Television Critics Association panel for his upcoming show, Pose, openly gay TV creator Ryan Murphy talked about how some of the show’s storylines mirrored his real life. He cited the story of a character being beaten by a his father for coming out. Unfortunately, that was based on the true story of Ryan Murphy coming out. Murphy said his father beat him with a belt after Murphy revealed he was gay.
The series, which has been given a full-series order from FX, is set in 1980s New York City. Pose will focus on New York’s ball culture. It’s also been praised for featuring the largest-ever transgender cast on American television. Pose is set to look at characters across different social strata, from counter-culture queer folk to “Greed is Good” yuppie scum.
It’s unsurprising that Murphy used such a traumatic experience for Pose. The show aims to be as true as it can be (even though the show itself is a drama). Trans activists Our Lady J and Janet Mock are writing scripts for the show. Trans activist Silas Howard is also a co-executive producer.
Murphy said Pose is heavily influenced by the classic film Paris Is Burning. He said, “I always loved Paris Is Burning. They were rock stars to me when I was growing up.” The original idea for Pose was to do a series directly based on the film, but found it difficult “to take those iconic people and make a fictionalized version.”
Instead, Murphy and show co-creator Brad Falchuk, received a script from Steven Canals. Canals wrote it back in 2014, and couldn’t find an audience. But when the script landed in Murphy’s lap, it fit what he wanted to do. And thus, the three men created Pose.
Talking about Ryan Murphy coming out put the producer in a reflective mood. He said:
I can’t believe my life and can’t believe that things have changed so radically in my lifetime. If you asked me then if I would be allowed to be married and have children like you, I never would have believed it.
Murphy has a 5-year-old son with his husband David Miller.