Joe Mantello, who plays Hollywood studio executive Dick Samuels in this series, is himself a successful and powerful figure in another segment of the entertainment industry: he is one of Broadway theater's most in-demand directors. Mantello first made his name as an actor (including in the original Broadway production of the landmark Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Angels in America"), but in the mid-1990s, he largely (though not solely) turned from acting to directing. He has won two directing Tony Awards: in 2003 for the play "Take Me Out," and in 2004 for the musical "Assassins." By far his most successful directing job was the 2003 musical "Wicked"; his staging remained continuously on Broadway, on tours, and in theaters around the world until all live theater was shut down during the 2020 pandemic. In 2015, Wicked producer Marc Platt told "The Wrap" that Wicked has a higher worldwide gross than any other single property that Universal Studios has ever produced in any medium: higher than any movie in the "Jurassic Park" or "Fast & Furious" franchises; higher than blockbusters like "E.T." or "Jaws." This means that though he is less likely to be well-known to the general public than a similarly successful movie director would be, Mantello is in his own way an entertainment industry giant (in 2018, the New York Times called him "Broadway's Invisible Wizard"). Mantello has twice directed his "Hollywood" costar Jim Parsons (Henry Willson) in plays: 2015's "An Act of God" and 2018's "The Boys in the Band" (which Mantello also directed as a movie that also featured Parsons) and they acted together in both the 2011 stage production and the 2014 Ryan Murphy movie of "The Normal Heart." Mantello has also directed the play "The Vagina Monologues" by Eve Ensler; Ensler is the stepmother of Dylan McDermott (Ernie West) and the rotating cast included Holland Taylor (Ellen Kincaid). See more »
Despite what this series purports, Henry Willson was never elevated to film producer. The closest he came was Rock Hudson, at the peak of his stardom, awarding Willson a token associate producer credit on Come September (1961). See more »
A thoroughly entertaining reimagining of Hollywood in 1948. Fabulous production values and some terrific performances. Jim Parsons is a particular standout as the notorious Hollywood agent Henry Willson. Ryan Murphy has presented us with a very interesting take on what might have been. Some other reviewers have mentioned the word cringeworthy. Cringeworthy it is at times but it is thoroughly entertaining. The only negative thing about Murphy's latest offering it is that it wasn't true, although the 'Dreamland' premise is loosely based on Scotty Bowers' autobiography 'Full Service.' Ryan Murphy can be hit and miss at times (his last effort for Netflix, 'The Politician' was a bit of a mixed bag) but I'm happy to say that 'Hollywood' is a hit.
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