Gay TV creator Ryan Murphy‘s upcoming series Pose is set in New York City during the 1980s, juxtaposing black and Latinx ball culture, the downtown literary and social scene as well as the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe. But you won’t see a Trump character on Pose — and you know why? Because according to Ryan Murphy Trump isn’t a character anyone wants to see on TV (though Murphy uses much more colorful language to express that below).
In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Murphy revealed that the idea for Pose was originally written by an Afro-Latino queer screenwriter from the Bronx named Steven Canals. Murphy, Canals, and Murphy’s main creative partner, Brad Falchuk, reworked Canals’ pilot and initially wrote Trump into the series. However, the team has since replaced Trump with a coked-up, Trump Organization executive played by James Van Der Beek.
When the interviewer mentions Trump’s removal from the script, Murphy replies, “Nobody wants to see that fuckhead,” and reportedly swatted his hand “as if brushing off a fly.”
The interview contains several other revelations about the creation of Pose as well. Anyone who has seen American Horror Story: Coven or the opening episode of Scream Queens knows that Murphy has a spotty record with race, often handling it in a tone-deaf or ham-handed way.
Murphy is reportedly determined that Pose‘s racial and queer representations “be above reproach: authentic, inclusive, non-exploitative.”
With 108 transgender cast and crew members and 31 LGBTQ characters in its production, Pose will boast the largest-ever transgender cast on TV, both in front of and behind the camera. Our Lady J from Transparent and activist Janet Mock worked on scripts for the show. Trans activist Silas Howard is a co-executive producer, and Murphy’s Half Initiative is helping the production mentor emerging transgender directors.
Furthermore, Murphy will give some of his profits from the show trans community charities. “It’s television as advocacy,” he says. “I want to put my money where my mouth is.”
Also, Jennie Livingston, the director of the well-known 1990 ballroom documentary Paris Is Burning introduced Murphy to some of the “surviving subjects of her movie and, later, recommended a variety of trans consultants.” Murphy also gave her a paid consulting-producer credit and the opportunity to direct if the show gets renewed.
Pose premieres on FX on Sunday, June 3 at 9:00pm ET/PT.
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