James Van Der Beek's role in Pose was originally Donald Trump
FX’s new series Pose is set in 1987 in New York City and focuses mainly on the ballroom culture in Harlem. But there’s also an intersecting storyline of New Jersey husband Stan (Evan Peters) seeking wealth and power under the tutelage of businessman Matt (James Van Der Beek); both men work for Donald Trump in Trump Tower.
In one of the original scripts for Pose, Trump was an actual character. “Van Der Beek’s part in the first draft was written to be a young Trump, and Evan was going to be the speechwriter,” says co-creator Ryan Murphy. Adds co-creator Brad Falchuk, “I wrote a lot of Trump dialogue which was a lot of fun to write. I think I had him down.”
But eventually, the creative team felt that having him in there was too distracting. Explains Murphy, “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.'”
The Pose team still felt like his specter provided an important element to the series about being your true self, so he’s name-checked still. “He’s the biggest fraud of all time,” says Falchuk. “If the show is called Pose, he poses as someone who is much richer than he is, much smarter than he is, much more educated than he is. He is the representation in terms of all that is wrong in terms of inauthenticity. But the contrast between someone like Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) and someone like him could not be greater. I think it was important we felt that contrast.”