FX's new drama Pose spends a lot of time on focusing on the ballroom culture in 1987 Harlem, but there's also a portion of the story dedicated to our nation's current President. Specifically, two of the show's characters, Evan Peters' Stan Bowes and James Van Der Beek's Matt Bromley, are big-time businessmen hard at work within Trump Tower. That wasn't how it always was set up, however, as co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed Van Der Beek wasn't just going to be a boss in Trump Tower, but the building's biggest boss, as he was originally meant to play a young Donald Trump.
Van Der Beek's part in the first draft was written to be a young Trump, and Evan was going to be the speechwriter. . . . The election happened, and we're like, 'Nobody wants to see him.' And then it was going to be an actor impersonating somebody who's already a caricature, and I thought, 'Well, that's just going to take you right out of the show.'
Ryan Murphy and co-creator Brad Falchuk decided to pull Donald Trump out of Pose as a main character to prevent taking audiences out of the events of the show. It would have been easier to bring Trump in as a character had he not won the 2016 election, but with him leading the country and inspiring real-world headline after headline, Pose's creative team soundly chose to go with an alternate idea.
Still, even without James Van Der Beek's performance tied to Trump, our nation's President still gets referenced quite a bit. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk felt that tethering Donald Trump to the show's background fabric touched on the important theme in Pose of being yourself, so they created two new characters to represent this idea and still naturally bring Trump without him actually being needed onscreen. The end result perhaps isn't as exciting as Van Der Beek joining the ranks of various Trump impersonators and portrayers, but it's still appropriate, given how it may have distracted audiences from the main story.
Unfortunately, the world is left to wonder what could have been had Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk tested out the Trump angle with James Van Der Beek. Falchuk did tell EW he initially got to write a lot of dialogue in the voice of the President though, and was quite confident with his efforts.
I wrote a lot of Trump dialogue which was a lot of fun to write. I think I had him down.
James Van Der Beek indeed still got his Trump connection in Pose, however, since his character Matt Bromley is shown to be Donald Trump's right-hand man. Van Der Beek had confirmed prior to this that there will be no actual Trump appearance in the series, and that the show decided to keep him off-camera. The actor also said he has met the current President in person at an Oscar party, and said Trump acted like he recognized him, though Van Der Beek didn't seem entirely convinced. It would be funny to hear Trump saying he was a fan of Dawson's Creek, regardless of if he was or wasn't.
Pose airs on FX on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET. For a look at some other television shows coming in the next couple of months be sure to visit our summer premiere guide.