JAMES strikes a POSE

Daw­son’s back – with a very fab­u­lous new role

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Famed pro­ducer Ryan Mur­phy loves a mu­si­cal as much as he loves an epic TV drama. And his lat­est series, star­ring James Van Der Beek and Kate Mara, is even more fab­u­lous, dahling, as he goes from Glee to glam with Pose.

Al­ready a smash hit in the US, Pose takes us be­hind the cur­tains and into the ball­room cul­ture of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity in 1980s New York City – think Fame and Flash­dance meets Ru­paul’s Drag Race with ex­tra frou-frou! And of course our fave ’80s tunes are a big deal – which means we

can sing and dance along. Fun!

“In the ball world of fash­ion and mu­sic, one does not ex­ist with­out the other,” says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Alexis Martin Woodall. “[Char­ac­ter] Elek­tra’s gold tur­ban and kaf­tan could only have been ac­com­pa­nied by the Mother of them all, Miss Diana Ross.”

First of its kind

It’s not all funky tunes, fri­vol­ity and fash­ion though. The series, which has been picked up for a sec­ond sea­son and is co-pro­duced by Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story’s Brad Falchuck, also fea­tures the largest re­cur­ring cast of trans­gen­der ac­tors ever in a scripted TV series.

“This is a com­mu­nity who have just been starved for op­por­tu­ni­ties,” says Ryan. “You’ve seen it, usu­ally in movies or tele­vi­sion shows, trans ac­tors play the best friend or they have a line or two, many times they’re mur­dered, but in this show they play the leads and they are the he­roes and the hero­ines. It’s an amaz­ing thing to see.”

Do­minique Jack­son, who plays supreme house mother Elek­tra Abun­dance, is proud to be part of a TV series that’s not only lead­ing the charge in di­ver­sity, but is also ex­cit­ing to watch.

“When I got the script and I read Elek­tra, I was like, ‘This is an hon­our that I can pay to women who have paved the way,’” says the trans­gen­der ac­tress, who was a part of the real ball­room scene in the early ’90s. “And the women we get to por­tray... these women were fan­tas­tic, they were fab­u­lous, they would wear furs to the gro­cery store. They were women with great poise, who held them­selves to the high­est of stan­dards even though they were marginalised. So even when they went to ball­room, the way they rep­re­sented, it was as though you were look­ing at kings and queens.”

mmoon­neeyy,, money

Speak­ing of roy­alty, the show also ex­plores those who were rul­ing Wall Street at the time, like Don­ald Trump, be­cause the rise of the cor­po­rate world (and the greed and ex­cess which ac­com­pa­nied it!) are as syn­ony­mous with the ’80s as crimp­ing and shoul­der pads.

Evan Peters takes on the role of Stan – a mar­ried Trump em­ployee who be­comes in­volved with trans­gen­der woman and ball com­peti­tor An­gel ( Indya Moore).

“I loved the story, I loved the char­ac­ters. But it was an op­por­tu­nity to learn from the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity and to be an ad­vo­cate for them,” says Evan, who’s worked with Ryan and Brad on Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story. “The story is beau­ti­ful be­cause it’s fun, but also heart­break­ing and shows how marginalised they are and dis­crim­i­nated against. You fall in love with the char­ac­ters, and hope­fully that will in­stil com­pas­sion in peo­ple.”

And though you may find com­pas­sion for much of the cast, Evan’s char­ac­ter Stan won’t tug at your heart strings – not when he’s cheat­ing on his wife Patty ( Kate Mara) and be­com­ing power hun­gry over at Trump Tower. “Patty is a full-time house­wife and mother who is very iso­lated in her world in Jer­sey, and very much in love with her hus­band,” says Kate. “Our lives are af­fected by this other world that my hus­band be­comes in­volved with.”

From Cape­side to the Big Ap­ple

Stan works along­side ball­bust­ing busi­ness­man and Trump’s “right-hand man” Matt Brom­ley, played by James Van Der Beek. Yep, that’s right – Daw­son Leery has suited up and es­caped the creek!

“I al­ways have to shake it up. I can’t do the same thing more than twice with­out get­ting bored or go­ing crazy,” says the ac­tor, who ad­mits that there is one ma­jor sim­i­lar­ity be­tween big­wig Matt and his old Daw­son’s Creek char­ac­ter – the hair!

“I keep telling my wife, ‘Baby, I was hot the last time I had this hair­cut,’” he jokes.

But that’s where the like­ness ends, coz Matt ain’t no good guy!

“I al­ways try and cre­ate ev­ery char­ac­ter from scratch, but one of the crew mem­bers said, ‘This is like if [ The Rules of At­trac­tion char­ac­ter] Sean Bate­man grew up,’ and I was like, ‘If Sean Bate­man grew up and stayed alive!’ [Laughs] But maybe there’s a lit­tle bit of that in there.

“Ev­ery­body says, ‘Oh, is it fun to play some­one so bad?’” he adds. “And I’m al­ways like, ‘Yeah, it’s go­ing to be,’ un­til you get on your feet and you re­alise that very ter­ri­ble peo­ple are very sad. There’s some­thing in the ar­chi­tec­ture of this char­ac­ter that’s just re­ally dam­aged.”

De­spite the trauma that comes with play­ing a twisted char­ac­ter, James says ex­plor­ing the two worlds makes for fas­ci­nat­ing TV.

“We talk about the two re­al­i­ties hap­pen­ing in Man­hat­tan at the time – one of them is the wealth, Trump-era real es­tate boom and the other is this ball­room com­mu­nity, and how these two com­mu­ni­ties ex­isted at the ex­act same time in this lit­tle tiny is­land of Man­hat­tan, and how they go up against each other.”

And while the com­mu­ni­ties clash, the ex­plo­sion on screen, just like fire­works, is mag­i­cal.

I keep telling my wife, ‘I was hot the last time I had this hair [on Daw­son’s Creek]’

Pose pre­mieres 8.30pm Tues­day Septem­ber 11 on Show­case In­tro­duc­ing the most glam­orous line-up, from left, Candy Abun­dance (An­gel­ica Ross), Stan Bowes (Evan), Patty Bowes (Kate), Blanca Ro­driguez (Mj Ro­driguez) and Pray Tell (Billy Porter)

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