After writing, producing, and directing for FX’s Pose as well as being signed on to direct an episode of Ryan Murphy’s upcoming series The Politician, Janet Mock has announced an overall deal with Netflix. The announcement makes history as she is the first trans person to establish an overall deal with a major studio.
“This deal is so bonkers,” she said in the announcement video, released today. “I, of course, will be writing and directing a few hush hush projects that I can’t really talk about, but one of them is a half-hour drama and another is a college series. So I’m really excited for that.” The latest episode of Pose, the ballroom drama, now set in the early 1990s, was titled “Worth It” and written by Mock. Mock’s directorial debut “Love Is the Message,” the sixth episode in Pose’s first season is also being considered for an Emmy.
“This is the first kind of deal of its kind for a trans person, no less a trans woman of color,” she continued in the announcement. You know 84% of Americans say that they don’t know and or work with a trans person, and so there’s potential now with Netflix’s worldwide audience to introduce millions, hundreds of millions of viewers to trans people and showing people who may not understand us that we can tell our own stories.”
According to Variety, the deal is a three year contract that gives Netflix the exclusive rights to television projects from Mock as well as a first-look option on feature films. Mock will also serve as an executive producer and director on Murphy's upcoming show "Hollywood" in addition to her other projects. The college series she mentioned will be about a young trans woman, but there will also be a show about New Orleans after slavery was abolished and a "reboot of a classic sitcom."
There have been no details about when these projects will launch.
In their 2018 Where We Are on TV report, GLAAD found that there were 26 transgender characters on television, up from 17 the year before. A large contingent of those characters were on Pose, which counts the largest number of transgender series regulars in a scripted U.S. series ever. In its annual studio responsibility index, GLAAD found that there wasn't a single trans character in a major studio film in 2018.
This news comes only months after other Black trans women are making strides in Hollywood and entertainment. In May, Leyna Bloom became the first Black trans woman to star in a film with a debut at Cannes Film Festival. Jari Jones, who was a producer on that project, was the first Black trans woman to produce a film that premiered at the event.