If you haven’t been able to stop thinking about Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood, you aren’t alone. While the fictional characters are the main focus, it wouldn’t be a show about Old Hollywood without appearances from real-life stars like Rock Hudson, Hattie McDaniel, and Anna May Wong. Instead of portraying Old Hollywood as it’s been seen a hundred times, the creative team behind Hollywood decided to see what would happen if people really took a look at the standards set in place (many of which were steeped in racism, homophobia, and gender inequality) and decided to go against them in pursuit of a better Hollywood.
Seeing how the real-life stars interact with characters like Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope), Camille Washington (Laura Harrier), and Raymond Ainsley (Darren Criss) really gives the show its edge over other fictionalized portrayals. Each and every interaction makes you feel as if the characters brought to life by Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Janet Mock may have actually existed; enough so that you’ve likely googled to see whether or not Ainsley and Washington got married or what Jack Costello’s (David Corenswet) career was like after Meg.
While Costello and crew may have been fictional, there were still very real actors and behind-the-scenes players that often stole the show (Anyone else get emotional at Henry Willson’s apology?). Here’s a short refresher in case you’re not sure what about them was real and what was part of, as Mock put it, “an aspirational tale of what-ifs.”