Jeremy Pope‘s debut foray into television has earned him his first Emmy nomination. The actor, who earned not one but two performance nominations at last year’s Tony Awards for his roles in “Choir Boy” and “Ain’t Too Proud,” was nominated as Best Movie/Mini Lead Actor for his role on the Netflix period drama “Hollywood.” We spoke to Pope earlier this spring prior to the Emmy nominations about his role as Archie Coleman, an aspiring screenwriter who encounters numerous professional obstacles due to his race and sexuality. Watch our video chat above.
Pope is direct in his view of Archie’s objective, not just for himself but for others like him. “He wants to be the first person that writes a picture for all people and not just race pictures, which is what most Black writers were doing,” declares Pope. “And I think the dream is not just about him seeing the success, but almost paving the way for the next generation, the wave of writers and Black people to be able to be seen in the industry.”
Pope says that the sense of camaraderie that is common in the theater was also a part of the filming of “Hollywood.” The actor was surrounded by Tony and Emmy-winning veterans of the theater like Holland Taylor, Patti LuPone and Joe Mantello. “I was so grateful to have them, to have a Patti LuPone and a Joe and a Holland to act opposite with,” Pope exclaims. “Sometimes I’d have to pinch myself that I was having these major scenes with Joe, but onscreen he was amazing and offscreen, they’re just great friends and great people to be around.
The message of “Hollywood,” Pope says, is the positive impact of greater representation for minorities. “I think what we’re saying is, had someone seen a Black man’s success in a major way, in a commercial way, it only takes one movie,” he explains. “It only takes one position and one person in a position of power to make a different decision on a certain movie that really changed Hollywood, that changed people’s lives. And I think that is the bigger message in this, even for me.”
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