Last week, Netflix dropped a first look at the cast of Hollywood, a new 7-episode limited series set in a version of 1940s Tinseltown. The images showcased Patti Lupone, Darren Criss, David Corenswet, Jeremy Pope, Laura Harrier, Samara Weaving, and more in their slickest '40s garb. But they're only part of the story. EW has an exclusive First Look at many of the show's supporting characters, including real-life Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel as portrayed by Queen Latifah.
Other new famous faces in these images include Rob Reiner as invented studio boss Ace Amberg, Katie McGuinness as Gone With the Wind star Vivien Leigh at the 1948 Oscars, Mira Sorvino as fictional actress Jeanne Crandall, and Maude Apatow as Henrietta, wife to Corenswet's aspiring actor Jack Costello.
Set in the studio system in the 1940s, Hollywood offers viewers a glimpse of the post-war Golden Age with a revisionist twist. Murphy tells EW his inspiration for the series began with three real-life figures, including McDaniel and Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec), seen in another exclusive image here.
"I grew up watching old movies all the time, and there were three people that I was always very upset about, and interested in, which was Anna May Wong and Hattie McDaniel and Rock Hudson," explains Murphy. "[They were] this link to what I felt at the time was happening in my own life, which was 'Oh, I'm never going to be allowed to be who I could really be or show what I could really do because of prejudice.'"
As these images offer, Hollywood merges a version of real-life stars with invented figures who partner to create a very different portrait of what the studio system might have looked like. "I call it 'faction' -- some of it's fiction, some of it's actual facts," Murphy adds. "I've always wanted to do a buried history piece. Particularly after the success of Feud, that showed that people are interested in that sort of thing, but [Bette] Davis and [Joan] Crawford were so well known. I was interested in sort of shining the light on people who didn't kind of have that acclaim or success but should have. It started off with that."
The series dares to imagine a more inclusive version of a movie factory, one where there's space for women, people of color, and LGBTQ people to find space to be themselves and live their dreams. "We learn from Hollywood -- on how to dress, how to love, how to act. It's always been that way," Murphy explains. "If somebody back then would have been making pictures about gay people and people of color, I think it would have changed the fabric of America because you can't be something unless you see it."
Hollywood hits Netflix on May 1.
Hollywood (2020 TV series)