The acclaimed FX series Pose preps for its return on 6/11.
Season 2 of Pose flashes forward in time to 1990. On the heels of the ballroom community establishing itself in pop culture and going mainstream, the House of Evangelista is forced to reevaluate their goals.
Meanwhile, the AIDS crisis worsens and the reaction from a group of activists reaches a fever pitch. Pose features the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles.
In this new promo, Billy Porter as ‘Pray Tell’ extolls the virtues and need for the ballroom scene in 1990:
“Joy is a choice. Choosing life in the darkest of times is a choice. That’s what the ballroom scene is about.”
Producer/director Ryan Murphy made news Saturday night at PaleyFest in Los Angeles when he announced a new diva would be joining the cast of FX’s Pose.
While moderating a panel with cast members of the ground-breaking series, Murphy surprised the audience – and cast – that Broadway icon, Patti LuPone, will be joining the show for season two.
According to Deadline, Murphy told cast members MJ Rodriguez and Billy Porter they would be sharing plenty of scenes with the two-time Tony Award winner.
LuPone is currently appearing in the gender-bending revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company in London, where she has been nominated for an Olivier Award for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role.”
Murphy also told the crowd that the series will time-jump from the late 1980s to the year 1990. The first episode of the new season will take place on the day Madonna’s mega-hit “Vogue” was released.
Expect to hear about Madge’s co-opting of the vogueing/ ball culture of New York City for her now-iconic music video. Plus, since LuPone has been an outspoken critic of Madonna in the past, we’ll be curious to see if any of that animosity surfaces in the diva’s scenes.
The talk-back took place after a screening of episode six from season one of the series, “Love is the Message,” which was written and directed by acclaimed transgender activist Janet Mock. The episode, the first in television history to be directed by a transgender woman, was also Mock’s directorial debut.
And speaking of directing, Murphy announced during the panel that Mock, Porter and producer Our Lady J would all be helming episodes in the upcoming season.
Season two of Pose begins shooting next week and will premiere in June.
By centering negotiations of identity and oppression — as well as love and desire — between queer characters of color, the show allows for thoughtful exploration of intra-community hierarchies and conflicts. There are some limitations to this woke soap approach, but the show stands out in a television landscape dominated by straight stories “about race” and white stories “about queerness.” In telling a kind of intersectional fairy tale of queer brown lives, the show highlights just how limited the scope of most TV creators’ imaginations still is.
Pose’s story — as laid out in the first four episodes made available to critics — is ostensibly organized around a battle between two warring ball houses: the House of Abundance, mothered by Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson) and their upstart rivals, the House of Evangelista, led by former Abundance daughter Blanca Rodriguez (Mj Rodriguez). The show uses the House structures and the ball setting to dramatize the stories of the gay men and trans women of color who were — and are — the real-life protagonists of those settings, in service of Murphy’s usual goal of turning characters who might be written elsewhere as sidekicks into stars.
Ultimately, Pose is a queer fantasy, and a savvy take on the importance of fantasy for subjects marginalized through race, gender, and sexuality. “How lucky are we?” a house daughter says to Elektra at one point. “We create ourselves. Shit, we are the real dream girls.”
And in the glossy world of Pose, they finally are.
FX recently dropped the first full preview of Ryan Murphy’s upcoming new series Pose, which plays across the landscape of drag ball culture in 1980s New York City.
The series initially made headlines after announcing five transgender actors in trans roles as series regulars – Indya Moore, Angelica Ross, Hailie Sahar, Dominique Jackson, and M.J. Rodriguez – easily the most ever cast in a TV series.
The series also stars TV veterans James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Murphy regular Evan Peters, and Tony Award-winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots).
According to press materials, Murphy looks to journey across 1986 NYC finding the intersections of the downtown literary scene, the ball culture and the lavish luxe of the emerging Trump era.
Pose premieres Sunday, June 3 on FX. Watch the preview below.
Titled Taboo, the series is set in 1813 and follows James Keziah Delaney (Hardy), “a rogue adventurer who returns from Africa with 14 ill-gotten diamonds to seek vengeance after the death of his father. Refusing to sell the family business to the East India Company, he sets out to build his own trade and shipping empire and finds himself playing a very dangerous game.”
The project was created by Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy. Taboo is executive produced by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), among others, and written by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things). “FX is the perfect partner to engage with this dark, fantastic world that Tom and Steven have created,” Scott said.