Ryan Murphy's HBO Sexual Drama 'Open'
By Andrew Villagomez
Out's May cover star Ryan Murphy is keeping his plate full of projects, including a new pilot order.
With The New Normal wrapping up its first season last week and Glee finishing Season 4 next month, Murphy would seem like he'd already be busy with his much-anticipated The Normal Heart film for HBO, American Horror Story's third season is due in October (which will focus on witches), and his 3-and-half-month-old son.
However, Murphy has decided to add one more job for his summer to-do list with a pilot for a relationship drama for HBO, Open.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show is "a multi-character exploration of the complex, ever-evolving landscape of sexuality, monogamy and intimacy in relationships."
Open comes from Murphy and Dexter's Lauren Gussis, who will also be co-executive producers. It hails from Fox 21, the cable division of 20th Century Fox TV, where Murphy is under a rich overall deal according to Deadline, which gave more details on Open: "Open revolves around five lead characters, including a married couple of thirtysomethings, the husband’s male co-worker and a woman in her 40s who is a yoga professional."
Deadline also reported that Murphy is working on ideas about a show exploring human relationships, and that Dante Di Loreto, who is at Ryan Murphy Prods, heard about Gussis working on a similar project and connected the two creatives. “She was a great fresh voice and energy,” Murphy said about combining his efforts with Gussis. The two worked on the script in December, and it marked the first time Murphy had written a project on spec instead of selling a pitch.
As for it landing at HBO: “I’m thrilled about it,” Murphy said. “They have great projects, and this is really an adult show that is very frank in its depiction of sex.”
But that depiction never feels gratuitous, 20th TV chairman Gary Newman adds, saying, “It is a very honest exploration of relationships and intimacy, and the sex feels organic to the subject matter."
Which is a far cry from what he has had to deal with at FOX and the Glee storyline. As he explained in Out's May cover story:
“Sex is the last taboo. The conservative groups are very, very, very nervous about sex, particularly nonmissionary-position straight-people sex, so if you try to do something other than two people fucking in a bed under a sheet, it’s very difficult.”
So HBO has become a welcome refuge for Murphy and others, such as Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candelabra), for that very reason. “It is a challenge how do talk about relationships and monogamy without feeling navel-gazing and neurotic, and [Murphy and Gussis] figured it out,” HBO president Michael Lombardo added, who also said he was "hooked" as soon as he received the script for Open.