“It is 100% harder to play a good actor,” declares David Corenswet about his character in Netflix’s “Hollywood.” The period drama from Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan puts a revisionist spin on the movie industry in the 1940’s. Corenswet, who also serves as an executive producer on the series, plays war veteran and aspiring actor Jack Costello, whose journey takes him from a gas station prostitution ring to the Academy Awards. Watch our exclusive video with Corenswet above.
To capture the style of acting that was en vogue during the time period, Corenswet spent a lot of time watching films from that era that were also popular in his household growing up. “‘Singing in the Rain’ is definite favorite,” he says. “Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor were definitely models for the kind of young, earnest, wide-eyed, good-natured guy who don’t cause too much trouble.” Corenswet also watched some less popular films from the era to find examples of the type of acting that would reflect Jack’s early struggles in front of a camera. “It was fun to watch that and just be like, ‘A lot of movies from that era — there’s a reason that they’re not all classics.'”
The series featured Corenswet working with a number of veteran actors. He calls working with co-star Patti LuPone “an absolute dream.” The two actors bonded over their shared educational backgrounds: Corenswet graduated from Julliard whereas LuPone was part of the prestigious institution’s first acting class. “We had a certain connection there,” Corenswet says. “But she’s just a real professional. It mean it’s very clear why she’s had the success that she’s had and why she is revered in the way she’s revered.” The actor recalls one particular scene opposite Holland Taylor as her character educates Jack on new theories in acting. “The whole scene I’m just sitting there in awe listening to her talk, and then I’m pretty sure we filmed some version of that and that’s what ended up in the show.”
Corenswet says he understands the appeal of the series and hopes that it will return in some form for another season, either as a continuation of the story or as an anthology. “It’s just fun and easy. You don’t have to examine anything too deeply. You just get to feel like there’s hope for the future,” he explains. “You get to cheer [the characters] on to their happy ending.”
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