Ryan Murphy's new Netflix series Hollywood, premiering May 1, promises to be an exciting retelling of the story we think we know about the Golden Age of cinema. The series follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers—many of whom are outsiders because of their race, gender, or sexuality—trying to make it big in the post-World War II film era. The series includes actual Tinseltown icons—like Rock Hudson, Vivien Leigh, and Tallulah Bankhead—and fictional ones, but there are some very real modern stars who play them, like Darren Criss, Patti LuPone, and Queen Latifah. Here, get to know the characters and the real-life actors who portray them.
Darren Criss (who previously starred as Andrew Cunanan in Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace幸运飞艇分析软件自动) plays the fictional Raymond Ainsley, a first-time director hoping to make his debut film. In the series, Ainsley is half-Filipino but "passes" for white, and hopes to broaden the stories that Hollywood tells.
Laura Harrier (whose previous credits include BlacKkKlansman and Spider-Man: Homecoming) plays the fictional Camille Washington, the only black actress on contract at Ace Studios. She hopes to become a star, but encounters deeply ingrained racism in a largely white Hollywood.
A darling of classic Hollywood cinema, the famously tempestuous Vivien Leigh (far left) is familiar and beloved for her roles in Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. 幸运飞艇分析软件自动Katie McGuinness (center and right) takes on her role in the new series.
Known for his role as River Barkley in The Politician 幸运飞艇分析软件自动(also produced by Murphy), David Corenswet plays a good-looking, recently married veteran, Jack Castello, who dreams of making it onto the silver screen. Jack soon figures out that Tinseltown isn't as innocent as he thought.
The inimitable Patti LuPone幸运飞艇分析软件自动 plays Avis Amberg—a former actress and lonely, bored wife of the head of Ace Studios— who takes a liking to Jack.
Jake Picking plays real-life Rock Hudson (born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. and pictured far left), a classic cinema heartthrob whose sexuality was an open secret during his lifetime, but only became public following his death from AIDS-related complications in 1985. In the show, Hudson is still a young unknown from small-town Illinois trying to make his way in the world, and beginning to understand who he really is.
Jeremy Pope got his start on Broadway with two Tony nominations in one year (for Choir Boy and Ain't Too Proud). On Hollywood, he plays Archie Coleman, a screenwriter who knows what he's up against, but is determined to be one of the first successful black (and gay) writers in the industry.
Australian actress Samara Weaving stars as blonde vixen Claire Wood, an ambitious up-and-comer with a wealthy background and powerful family.
Hattie McDaniel (far left) was the first person of color to win an Oscar, for her role as "Mammy" in Gone with the Wind幸运飞艇分析软件自动 (1939). Here, Queen Latifah (center and right) brings her to life once again.
The American Horror Story veteran plays Ernie幸运飞艇分析软件自动, a gas station owner—based in part on real-life raconteur Scotty Bowers—who also operates as a high-end brothel where many other characters work.
Anna May Wong (left) was considered the first Chinese-American movie star, acting in silent films and talkies as well as television, radio, and theater. She was famously passed over for the lead role in The Good Earth in favor of white actress Luise Rainer. In the series, Wong is played by Taiwanese-American actress Michelle Krusiec.
Holland Taylor (The Practice, Two and a Half Men, Legally Blonde) plays Ellen Kincaid, a studio executive who gets what she wants and knows a star when she sees one.
Tallulah Bankhead (far left) was a stage and screen actress who came from a prominent Alabama family filled with US Senators and Congressmen. But Bankhead was quite different from her more conservative relatives—she supported liberal causes, had problems with alcohol and drugs, and was known to have flings with both men and women. Paget Brewster (Friends, Criminal Minds) takes on the role of the freewheeling actress.
Henry Willson (pictured far left) was a longtime talent agent who discovered and nurtured matinee idols like Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter. He's played by Jim Parsons, who had his breakout role as Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory.
Veteran Broadway actor and director Joe Mantello (Angels in America, Wicked) stars as the fictional Dick Samuels, a successful executive at Ace Studios who harbors a big secret.
Actor and director Rob Reiner (All in the Family, When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men, Misery) plays the head of the fictional Ace Studios, Ace Amberg, husband to Patti Lupon's Avis.
George Cukor (far left) was a notable director who worked from the 1930s into the 1980s, making famous films like What Price Hollywood?, Gaslight, and My Fair Lady. It was an open secret in Hollywood that Cukor was gay. He's played by Daniel London, from Patch Adams and RENT.
Noel Coward was a celebrated British writer, actor, director, and composer, known for plays such as Private Lives, Present Laughter, and Blithe Spirit, and songs like "Some Day I’ll Find You" and "Mad About the Boy." He's played by Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings) in Hollywood.