Spoilers ahead for Netflix's Hollywood.
Netflix’s Hollywood really delved into the idea of a utopian movie and TV industry that came to implement inclusivity, both in front of and behind the camera, years before they instigated these types of changes in real life. Recently, series co-creator Ryan Murphy explained the reasons he decided to change the real-life story of 1940s Hollywood for a revisionist version of the era.
Set post-World War II, Hollywood follows several characters as they work to make a name for themselves. Take Jeremy Pope’s Archie Coleman, a black, gay writer whose script went unmade, or Laura Harrier’s Camille Washington, an aspiring black actress constantly cast as the help, struggled against a still-racist studio system.
I firmly believe in that idea that if you can see it, you can become it. So I had this eureka moment of putting all this stuff together in a story where you get to rewrite the ending of so many of these legends. And then you surround them with fictionalized characters who change the landscape and are rewarded, and start sort of a revolution. It's this revisionist history idea that I was really into, and it took a couple of years for it to all click into place.
Hollywood was definitely an ideal show, that's for sure. Currently, the movie and TV industries are still struggling with being more inclusive across the board, though it has obviously gotten a whole lot better since the 1940s. The Netflix series didn’t even shy away from depicting Rock Hudson, Hattie McDaniel, and Anna May Wong, all three of whom were treated unjustly by Hollywood in real life. That’s why Ryan Murphy felt it was pertinent to give their fictional counterparts a better ending when it came time to reimagine the 1948 Academy Awards ceremony. Here’s how he put it:
It was very emotional to have these people get justice and to be seen and to have acceptance, which everybody should have and want. It was an emotional thing to give them the happy ending that they had been denied. I felt it in the writing and I felt it when we were shooting it and, I don’t know how you felt watching that last episode, but it’s very tearful. You realize how much of an injustice it was and how great it feels to right the wrong.
Ryan Murphy, now a powerhouse TV creator with Glee, American Horror Story, and FX’s Pose under his belt, went on to say that it was definitely the right time for Hollywood to debut. Why? Because there were “so many dystopian shows lately” and his new Netflix series was the exact opposite of the doom and gloom of other TV shows. I'd say that that's a pretty good reason to produce a show that shows the world as it could have been.
Hollywood is currently available to stream on Netflix. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates. For more on what to watch, be sure to check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule.