Ryan Murphy’s New Netflix Drama Gives Us An Alternate History of Hollywood

The drama series reimagines the Golden Age of film.

If you’ve reached a Netflix dead end and are yearning for more, the streaming platform has a special treat coming next month. The prolific American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy, teamed up again with Ian Brennan (Glee, The Politician) and Janet Mock (Pose) for a drama series about a ‘dreamland’ we can’t get enough of—Hollywood. 

The seven-part series is set during the Golden Age of Hollywood, but tells a different story than what we know. It follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers who are trying to make it into the show business post WW2. “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,” reads the official synopsis. “Provocative and incisive, “Hollywood” exposes and examines decades-old power dynamics, and what the entertainment landscape might look like if they had been dismantled.” The series offers an alternate history that allows our mind to wander into the ‘what if?’ “What if the person with greenlight power was a woman? The screenwriter was a black man? The matinee idol openly gay? And what if they were all invited into the room where the decisions are made, their place in history cemented,” executive producer and director Janet Mock said in a press release.

Told from the perspective of Scotty Bowers, a journalist working in a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard, the trailer opens up with his boss telling him, “This town’s all about dreams, and some of my customers don’t just come here for gas.” The series explores both the dreams and nightmares born from Hollywood and gives history a twist. 

A story of “Hollywood” wouldn’t be complete without a full cast of stars. The series stars Queen Latifah as Hattie McDaniel and Patti LuPone (American Crime Story) as Avis, a socialite. Darren Criss, (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; Joe Mantello (The Normal Heart) as Dick, another studio exec; and Jake Picking (Top Gun: Maverick) as iconic actor Rock Hudson. 

“Hollywood” reimagines a world with less barriers and more possibilities. Series premieres May 1 on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.

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