Ryan Murphy's new Netflix show, Hollywood, presents a revisionist version of the film industry in which marginalized players were given a seat at the table much sooner than they were in reality. One of those such people is Archie Coleman, played by Jeremy Pope, a gay, black screenwriter whose script is greenlit to become a major (and ultimately successful) motion picture.
According to Deadline, Pope was chosen to play the role by Murphy after he saw him star in the Broadway plays Choir Boy and Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. This will be Pope's first TV role, as his career has mostly been in theater thus far. In fact, Pope hasn't even been acting professionally that long: both of his Broadway shows opened in 2019. But like Archie, he's had a fast rise to the top. According to Them, Pope is only the sixth person to receive Tony nominations for two separate performances in the same season. He didn't win in either category, but the roles did get him cast in Hollywood.
Pope told Them that when Murphy approached him about Hollywood, he was initially cautious. "What I said to Ryan [Murphy] in our first meeting was, 'Are there people of color in the writing room?' Because you're talking about the '40s and '50s, so I need to make sure that we're sensitive to that," Pope said. "And he assured me that he would take care of me and there would be people who looked like me around me."
After that reassurance, he fell in love with the role. "[Archie is] bold and daring and unashamed of who he is. I can only imagine the force of the person you have to be to lead with that in the late '40s and '50s in Hollywood. They weren't making movies for Black and Brown people back then; they definitely weren't making movies for queer people," he said. "What I love about Archie is that he challenges that narrative, the big what if — what if we had given people opportunities? It's exciting to watch him and all these other characters fight to be heard and seen and occupy space in Hollywood, as they should ... It's really special and I can't wait for people to see it."