Warning: Spoilers ahead for Netflix’s Hollywood season 1. Ryan Murphy’s new show, Hollywood, revolves around the film Peg, an upcoming movie about an aspiring actress who kills herself because of Hollywood’s pressures. Those who started the show, may be curious to know who was cast in Peg in Netflix’s Hollywood. As we expect from Ryan Murphy, there’s a twist.
Hollywood, which premiered on May 1, follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown. The seven-episode series examines how race, gender, sexuality and privilege affects one’s success and the opportunities that one is afforded. As mentioned before, the show revolves around the hot new fictional film Peg, which everyone in Hollywood wants a part in. It’s clear that there are more talented candidates than others, but for Ace Pictures founder, Ace Amberg, talent is enough. The lead of the film needs to be white. Hollywood is a frustrating look at the entertainment industry, and how it’s still failing its marginalized communities. In the end, Murphy writes somewhat of a happy ending. So, who was cast in Peg? Ahead, we break down the roles for each of the main players for the fictional film.
Played by Laura Harrier, Camille is a black actress at Ace Pictures, who wants a part in Peg but is denied by Ace because of the color of her skin. By far, she’s the most talented actress at the studio, but because she’s black, she’s often stereotyped to roles like the maid of a white family. Camille receives an audition for Peg through her boyfriend, Raymond Ainsley, the director of the film, who pushes for her to screen test. In the end, Camille’s screen test impresses the executives at Ace Pictures, including Ace’s wife, Avis, who’s taken over for Ace after her husband is hospitalized. Avis, however, is hesitant to cast Camille because of how publicists and lawyers at the studio have told her that the south will boycott the film and Ace Pictures if the company casts a black lead. In the end, Avis is convinced to cast Camille when other executives, Ellen Kincaid and Dick Samuels, tell her how she will make history if she does so. The movie is then retitled as Meg and rewritten so that the lead doesn’t kill herself to send a hopeful message to young black girls who may watch it. When Meg becomes a success, Camille wins an Oscar for Best Lead Actress.
Jack, played by David Corenswet, is an aspiring actor who has the least experience of anyone in Hollywood. He auditions for Peg thanks to Ellen Kincaid, who saw his screen test for another film and was impressed by his star potential. In the end, Jack is cast as Meg’s boyfriend, Sam Harrington, who talks her down from the Hollywood Sign when Meg wants to jump and kill herself. Jack is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Meg, but he loses the Oscar to another actor.
Claire, played by Samara Weaving, is the daughter of Ace and Avis. Though she’s seen as Camille’s rival, the two are on good terms. Claire also auditions for the role of Peg and Avis almost casts her, not because she did well in the screen test, but because she’s white. After Camille is cast as the lead, Claire tells her mom that that was the right choice. Avis then casts Claire as Sarah, Meg’s best friend, who tries to find her before she kills herself.
Rock, played by Jake Picking, also auditions for Meg’s boyfriend. He doesn’t do well in the screen test, but Avis pushes for him to be cast when Rock’s agent, Henry Wilson, blackmailed her with photos of her hiring a gigolo. Avis changes her mind when she watches Jack’s screen test and sees his natural talent. In the end, Rock is cast as a bartender, who gives directions to Meg to the Hollywood Sign, unaware that she wants to go there to kill herself. Rock also has some scenes with Sarah and Meg’s boyfriend who try to find her before she commits suicide.
Anna May Wong
A fictional Anna May Wong is played by Michelle Krusiec. Anna and Raymond, the director of Meg, become close when he wants to cast her as the lead in a film that wasn’t greenlit by Ace Studios. When Avis greenlights Meg, Raymond casts Anna as Caroline Lee, a famous actress who gives Meg advice about her career. Anna goes on to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
Ernie, played by Dylan McDermott, is the last actor to be cast in Meg. Ernie is Jack’s employer and manages the gas station where Jack works as a gigolo. Ernie tells Jack that he was once an aspiring actor too, but gave that career up when he couldn’t be successful. In the end, Ernie was cast as Daryl B. Selzman, a film studio executive who pushes for Meg to be cast in one of his movies.
Raymond, played by Darren Criss, is the director of Meg. He was hired as the director after he goes to Ace Studios to pitch a different film with an Asian lead. The studio tells him to direct this film first, and if it’s a success, they will maybe make his other film. Raymond pushes for Camille and Anna to be cast in Meg. And in the end, he wins Best Director and Best Picture. (Best Picture also made Avis the first female producer to take home the award.)
Archie, played by Jeremy Pope, was the screenwriter for Peg. He was hired for the film and then fired after Ace discovers that he’s black. Ace then decides to take the script for Peg, but remove Archie’s name from the film. Archie’s name is reinstated when Avis takes over Ace Pictures and casts Camille. In the end, Archie, who’s Rock’s boyfriend, wins the Best Screenplay Oscar for the movie.