“It is everything that I could have ever wanted it to be,” admits Emmy nominee Steven Canals about whether the series finale, which he directed, lived up to his lofty expectations on FX’s groundbreaking drama “Pose.” “It has all of the emotional highs and lows that I think all of our previous episodes and seasons have provided to our audience. I’m really proud of the work. The episode really embodies all of the things that ‘Pose’ has wanted to accomplish,” he says.
We talked with Canals as part of Gold Derby’s special “Meet the BTL Experts” Q&A event with key 2021 guild and Emmy contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The FX drama takes place during in New York City amongst the city’s Black and Latinx LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming community, against the backdrop of the ballroom scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Amid systemic discrimination and the ongoing AIDS crisis, newfound families of outcasts compete for personal pride and glory in the ballroom while navigating their lives in their quest for love, acceptance and purpose. Canals created the show alongside Emmy-magnet Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, making history with its representation of transgender people of color actually played by trans actors in leading roles, with its large ensemble led by Mj Rodriguez as Blanca, mother to a group of outcasts in the House of Evangelista and Porter as Pray Tell, Blanca’s confidante and ballroom emcee. It co-stars Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, Hailee Sahar, Angel Bismarck-Curiel and Sandra Bernhard.
“Pose” earned seven Emmy nominations (including for Best Drama Series) in 2019 for its first season, making history (again) when Billy Porter won Best Drama Actor, the first openly gay Black actor to take home that award. Last season, the series returned to the Emmys with seven nominations, including a repeat nod for its lead actor Porter. The series’ third season just recently debuted on FX, with the show’s beloved characters coming full circle, leading to an immensely satisfying series finale, due to air next month.
Now that all is said and done, Canals admits that he has high hopes for the show’s legacy on popular culture. “I hope the lasting legacy of the show is to open up the door for more of these stories that have have typically and historically have been looked as as fringe, taking center stage,” he declares proudly.
“I hope for our audience members who happen to be queer and trans, I hope that they watch the show and know that they are worthy of love and deserve to take up space unapologetically,” he says. “I hope they know that their voice is important and I think for everyone else and in particular for folks who work in the industry, I hope that they recognize that stories about historically marginalized communities and specifically stories about queer and trans people aren’t simply niche. That ‘niche’ is really becoming the mainstream and our modern audience is really craving specificity, which is what we gave them for three seasons.”
PREDICT the 2021 Emmy nominees through July 13
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