JAMES Van Der Beek will never be able to fulfill his most legendary role as Dawson Leery, but his latest performance should go some ways.
As a rich 80s New Yorker in Ryan Murphy's new series pose, Van der Beek joins a cross-border cast that includes five transgender actors in lead roles.
In the ball scene it's a show of self-esteem, greed and extravagance.
Van der Beek talked to news.com.au before the premiere of the show why he had to do that poseWhy Wall Street people were attracted to him and why he took that CSI: Cyber Job.
(For clarity and length edited.)
How did you learn about Pose?
How does an actor find out? I read it in the desired part of the paper – in search of the 80s rental. My agent called and said that they are interested in a Ryan Murphy show. I've heard that they tried to play all transgender actors in trans roles, and I wanted to be there.
It sounded like a different world from what we normally see in screenplays. So I immediately jumped for it. I asked, "What do I have to do?"
What did you have to do?
It's kind of funny, I went to tape right away and then later I heard that Ryan wanted to fill me anyway. I did not even have to put on tape for it. But I've been in this business long enough when something truly unique comes back that you know you love, I'm not leaving anything to chance.
How did Ryan describe Matt's character the first time you talked about it?
I think the words "American PsychoI was told that he works for Donald Trump, but it was more of a sort of 80s ethos of greed, the corruption that went along with insane wealth that happened in 1989 on this tiny island of Manhattan at the same time, when this LGBTQ ball scene was going on.
Ryan had said that he was curious about what would happen if these two worlds collided. So we needed someone who could embody the materialism of the '80s, the machismo and the toxic male side of things. I thought I've met a few of these guys in my life, I have a pretty good palette to choose from.
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Are you saying that you founded Matt's character on someone you know in real life?
All characters are in truth, otherwise they do not sound truthful. I grew up in Connecticut, near New York, and grew up in the 80s. What Matt represents on the outside, not necessarily on the inside, is a kind of ideal that has been held up to all my age, what success was – rich, powerful, handsome suit, fancy car.
I knew people who aspired to it. I have met many of these Wall Street guys who have become rich in real estate or their wealth comes from investment and for some reason, these guys, maybe because I'm a crazy artist with a big heart to which they feel drawn to funny way. Maybe they'll see that I'm operating from a different location, even subconsciously, they're curious about it. So I have these conversations with you, which are very enlightening. Based on what the script needs, you build a character based on what truths you've seen in your life. So it's not based on a specific person.
What do you think about the decision to locate parts of the story within the Trump organization and the Trump Tower?
At the time Trump was certainly fissuring, but I do not think he was almost the divisive force he is now. When we started, it made sense, because Trump is the best-known real estate broker who has benefited from this boom. The whole Trump thing has somehow run away from us. I hope the name Trump does not distract from the rest of the story at this point.
MORE: Pose is a groundbreaking TV show
And Ryan shows are often political too?
Are you? I think he works from a place of the heart. Ryan's stories are always very human, and I think maybe he just does not give a problem with making someone politically upset. At the heart of what Ryan does is, I think, people are looking for acceptance and their humanity. If that's political then I think. I do not think he's immersed in politics, I think he's not afraid of politics.
When you filmed, do you know how important this show is in terms of these main characters who are transgendered and played by transgender performers?
It really felt like we were part of something new that was not really done before.
I left with so much respect for them, the work they did, the energy they brought with them and how good they were. Being trans at this time is not an easy path, and if they can find out who they are and commit to what they are, despite the resistance they have, then it makes sense that they can translate that spirit and To screen energy.
At a cast demonstration they talked on the screen every three seconds, they applauded, they got up, they screamed, it was transcendent, it was the most moving display of anything I've ever seen. I will talk about it very emotionally. I was so proud of her and so proud to be a part of it.
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Television can be such an unstable business. CSI: Cyber did not take very long and Do not trust the bitch in Apartment 23 did not last very long. So go in poseWhat do you think about it's not a Network TV show?
CSI It was a very down the middle play – I took the job after I canceled a show and I just had a baby. It was a storyed franchise, it was a great job and I was very grateful for that, but when that ended, I looked around the industry and said I really wanted to be part of big swings, projects that take risks. So I started passing on every network show I was offered.
I wrote, produced and played in my own show for Viceland, What would Diplo do?, which gave me the best reviews about my career – that was great. And I write more now. I said that once I love to write and love, I develop and produce, well, I will only act in it, if it's really special, and that's why
After Do not trust the bitch in Apartment 23 and What would Diplo do?I think people have noticed that you have these great comedic chops. Do you want to do more comedy?
I only want to tell stories that resonate. Much of what I write tends to be comedy, even though that's what you call black comedy, it's taken very seriously, but it's pure and absurd irony that makes it funny in the end, well, the things that I'm just writing are balanced with a comedic element. I have three things that I am currently developing, and comedy is certainly central to two of them.
MORE: What's on TV this week – Pose, The Deuce, Forever and more
pose starts today at 8:30 pm in Showcase on Foxtel, followed by the streaming version of Foxtel Now.
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