Upcoming US TV series, Pose, has made headlines thanks to the fact that it features the largest cast of transgender actors in regular roles as well as the largest recurring LGBTQ cast everfor a scripted series.
The dance musical will explore queer ballroom culture and voguing in 1980s New York, and its cast includes Evan Peters, James Van Der Beek, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, and Ryan Jamaal Swain. Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany was also on board with the project until her character was re-cast as they needed an older actor.
At a panel at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour on Friday, Pose producer Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Glee) said that casting cisgender actors in trans roles (as in programmes such like Transparent, where cis actor Jeffrey Tambor plays a trans woman called Maura Pfefferman), was “never an option”.
“The show is about the search for being authentic, about creating opportunities," Murphy said according to the Hollywood Reporter. "We're past an era of straight men playing these roles. It's time to think differently and offer more opportunities to people who want to work. Many of this cast have never been in front of the camera before.”
Trans activist and writer Janet Mock is also a writer-producer on Pose. “This is an opportunity to have these people sitting with one another, having problematic relationships, exploring class and gender and sexuality in a way that is accessible but also unique enough and personal enough,” Mock said.
Pose secured a series order at the end of December – weeks after its pilot was recorded. The eight-episode drama will premiere in summer 2018.