Ryan Murphy on Bringing His Own Experiences to ‘Pose’ and the Importance of Authenticity

Variety | 7/11/2018 | Tara Bitran
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While Ryan Murphy may claim that he has taken a backseat when it comes to showrunning “Pose,” he is not shying away from bringing his own particular experiences to the story of 1980s ballroom culture in the LGBTQ community and the fear surrounding the AIDS epidemic of the time.

“I would drive myself to the emergency room in college every 10 days even when I was celibate and get a blood test,” he said after a screening of his latest drama for FX on Tuesday. “I would wait for two weeks, lose 15 pounds, and throw up in the middle of the night in fear because I thought I was going to die. I thought that loving someone meant death.”

Episode - Love - Message - Experience - Murphy

Specifically, the sixth episode entitled “Love is the Message” was a very emotional and cathartic experience for Murphy. In the episode, which Janet Mock co-wrote and directed, Pray Tell (Billy Porter) loses the love of his life to AIDS and has to reconcile his own HIV diagnosis.

“The speech where Billy Porter says, ‘They’ll never know what it was like to have freedom taken away and what’s worse.’ That was me. I remember feeling that,” Murphy said.

Murphy - Desire - Trans - Community - Pilot

Murphy, whose desire to spotlight the trans community first sparked with the pilot “Pretty/Handsome” that never moved forward at Fox, also shared that he was inspired by the 1991 ballroom culture documentary “Paris is Burning” and sought out the team behind the project before embarking upon “Pose.”

“The first thing I did was meet with three of the survivors. They’re actually judges in every episode of ‘Pose,’ he said. “I just wanted to meet them to let them know I didn’t want to take their story but make them a part of the show and pay them for their time and energies. The first thing they told me...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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