Jim Parsons breaks down that wild Hollywood Dance of the Seven Veils scene
It's Jim Parsons as you've never seen him before.
Watching Jim Parsons do the Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome was probably not on your 2020 bingo card.
It wasn't on his either, but yet the actor found himself tackling this wild, somewhat ludicrous scene in Ryan Murphy's Hollywood. He portrays notoriously lecherous agent Henry Willson, and in the third episode, he demands new client Rock Hudson (Jake Picking) to come over to his house for the evening. Amidst a litany of abuses, he forces the aspiring actor to watch him perform this famous dance.
"That episode came down once we had already started, and I opened the script and because I am at heart a shy person, my first instinct upon reading that was, Oh God, no," Parsons tells EW. "I don't know if it was 10 minutes or 10 days, but it took me a little hump to get over it — to go from Oh God, no to What a gift!"
Parsons says it wasn't so much the inherent ridiculousness of the number that scared him, so much as the responsibility he felt to convey Willson's own most desperate desires in spite of that. "I wasn't afraid of looking stupid because I didn't really have much choice. I'm a man doing the Dance of the Seven Veils for Christ's sake," he says. "But I wanted to make sure it had meaning for Henry. There's a person inside him dying to be an artist, that wishes he could have been a performer, and he connects to that."
The Big Bang Theory star choreographed the number himself, working it out at home. He brought up videos of Isadora Duncan and choreography influenced by her, studying the style and fluidity of the dance. "I laid myself around my apartment in that fashion," he details. "And then on the night we did it, I just let go and let myself do it and tried to repeat what I had done every time they said roll."
Parsons estimates they shot the entire number about seven times all the way through. Ultimately, his biggest concern was the physical toll it might take on his body. "At one point, I threw my head back, and I was like, 'Oh Jesus, I'm in my mid-40s and I'm not a gymnast. I can't just be throwing myself around like this,'" he recounts. "But I wasn't sore the next day, so thank you, Jesus."
Hollywood is now streaming on Netflix.
Hollywood (2020 TV series)