Netflix's Hollywood is beautiful. It's shot with that Ryan Murphy "baroque" eye of glamour and a little bit of excess, saturated in color. And apparently, that same treatment originally was supposed to be given to a gay sex scene.
As a part of the now virtual promo tour for the show the cast all joined Stars In the House for an hour-long streaming chat. While talking David Corenswet, who plays the show's straight lead Jack Castello and Jeremy Pope, who played Archie Coleman revealed that on the first day on set there was initially talk of getting fitted for prosthetics.
"So the first phone call that I ever got from Jeremy, he and I had met up in Los Angeles after we knew that we were both working on it, and we wanted to get to know each other," Corenswet said. "Then the first time I saw his name come up on his phone and I answered it and he said 'So David, are you going to wear a prosthetic?'" While the actor initially thought Pope might have meant a facial prosthetic since the cast knew that Jake Picking's character Rock Hudson would have some surgery done to make him more of a leading man in the eyes of his manager Henry Wilson -- that was not the case.
"There were a lot of conversations early on about how we were going to shoot this very graphic script that we had been given," Corenswet continued. "And very important people in a lot of departments made a lot of plans, most of which didn't get used."
Before the call, Pope had received the script for the first two scenes that didn't clue him in to any onscreen intercourse, but after the first day of filming, the prosthetics team asked him to come in for a fitting. He initially thought that maybe his character, Coleman, got beat up and he needed lips or something.
"They're like 'Oh you don't know ok, let me have someone get in contact with you,'" Pope said. "Then I started putting the pieces together and realized that we're not talking about anything above the waist of a prosthetic. Then we had a conversation about what is the long game." The long game ended up being scrapping the scene but it was a part of a larger, raunchier vision for the show.
According to the actors in the stream, the initial script was graphic and was eventually toned down.
"We can talk about it now," Darren Criss said during the show. "There was no fucking numbers on the dial for how raunchy it was and we were kind of like 'Oh ok.' They dialed it back severely to kind of focus on the heart and the hope which I think was a good move."
"There were scenes that I clutched my pearls at," he continued. "There were scenes that I did things and read things that made me nervous." Everyone agreed that even descriptions of various scenes were "uber salacious," giving super-charged sexual energy to the show. Laura Harrier, who plays Camille described the initial read through as "terrifying."
As anyone who has seen the show knows, though there is a bit of sexual content, it's not incredibly salacious or raunchy. But there were a few adult easter eggs hidden in the show.
According to the gay adult industry blog Queer Me Now (yes this link is NSFW), there are at least two performers from skin flicks that appear in the show. One appears in the first episode -- mild spoilers incoming. The first meeting of Pope and Corenswet's characters happens in a movie theater for gay cruising. Corenswet watches as Pope's character Coleman gets cruised by none other than Scott Riley.
In episode 3 Johnny B appears nude at a hedonistic queer sex party. Love to see LGBTQ+ talent go mainstream!