Warning: Spoilers ahead for Netflix’s Hollywood season 1. Anyone who has seen a Ryan Murphy show knows that the man loves his twists. But as these Hollywood Netflix spoilers show, the screenwriter, director and producer’s latest series has the satisfying end that won’t make viewers want to scream at their TVs in the finale.
Hollywood, which premiered on May 1, follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown. For some, who are straight white men, it’s easier, while for others, who are people of color, LGBTQ+ or women, it’s a lot harder to find their big break in Hollywood. The seven-episode series revolves around a movie titled, Peg, an upcoming film about an aspiring actress who commits suicide because of the pressure from the entertainment industry, that every character in the show wants to be a part of. While some may be more talented than others, the executives at the studio behind Peg, Ace Pictures, are set in their ways to not cast a black actress as their lead, nor do they want a black screenwriter to write the script of Peg. Don’t worry. The characters of Hollywood have their comeuppance in the end. Here’s how it happens. (Spoilers ahead.)
Camille Is Cast as Meg
Laura Harrier plays Camille Washington, a talented black actress at Ace Studios who’s often passed over because of the color of her skin. And if she is cast in a film, she’s stereotyped to offensive roles, like the maid to a white family. Camille and Claire Wood (the white daughter of Ace Studios founder Ace Amberg and his wife, Avis) audition for the lead role of Peg. Claire does so-so, while Camille excels. But Avis, who has taken over for Ace as the head of Ace Studios after her husband is hospitalized, is hesitant to cast Camille after the studios’ publicity head tells her that the south will boycott Peg and any films by Ace Studios if she casts a black lead. (It’s also important to note that Camille wasn’t even allowed to audition for Peg at first, but her boyfriend, Raymond Ainsley, the director of the film, pushed for her to be in the room.)
In the end, Avis is convinced by Ellen Kincaid and Dick Samuels, two other execs at Ace Studios who want to see history happen, to cast Camille as the lead of Peg. However, because the script was originally written for a white actress, the movie retitled as Meg with Camille as the lead.
Archie Is the Screenwriter of Meg
After Camille is cast as Meg, Ace Studios rehire Archie Coleman, a gay black screenwriter, to write the script. Archie originally wrote the script for Peg and was hired with Raymond to create the movie, but when Ace found out that Archie was black, he decided to remove his name as the screenwriter and take the script for himself.
Jack Is Also Cast in Meg
Another role that viewers may be curious about is who was cast as Meg’s boyfriend, Sam Harrington. In the end, Jack Castello, a straight white actor, was cast as the lead after he impressed the executives with his screen test. The other auditionee was Rock Hudson, a closeted gay white actor, who bombed his audition. Rock’s agent, Henry Wilson, tried to blackmail Avis, who hired Jack as a gigolo, to cast his client, but in the end, Avis chose Jack. In the end, Rock, who’s Archie’s boyfriend, was also cast in Meg as a bartender who gave directions to Meg to the Hollywood sign, unaware that she was going to kill herself. A fictional Anna May Wong, who’s considering retiring from acting because of Hollywood’s racism toward Asian actors, was also cast as Caroline Lee, a famous actress who Meg advice about her career. Claire is also cast as Sarah, Meg’s friend. Lastly, Ernie, Jack’s employer and pimp, is cast in a last-minute role as Daryl B. Selzman, an executive at a fictional movie studio who pushes for Meg to be cast. (You can see how the Meg is a meta version of Hollywood.)
Meg Is Rewritten to Not Kill Herself
In the original script from Peg, the lead character kills herself by jumping off the Hollywood sign because of the pressures of Hollywood and the fear that she won’t make it. Once Camille was cast, Raymond decided to rewrite the script, so that Peg climbs down from the Hollywood sign after her boyfriend talks her down. Raymond does this because he didn’t want to send a negative message to black little girls who may watch Meg and see themselves in her.
Meg Is a Success
Before Meg‘s release, the cast and crew were told that there’s a 99 percent chance the film would bomb and bankrupt Ace Pictures because the south refused to show it. To their surprise, Meg became the most successful film in seven years and even earned the cast and crew Oscars. (There’s a small storyline where executives who wanted to save Ace Studios burned the footage for Meg, but luckily, someone had a backup copy.)
Camille Wins an Oscar
After Meg’s success, most of the cast win Oscars. Archie wins for Best Screenplay. Raymond wins for Best Director. Anna May Wong wins for Best Supporting Actress. Meg wins for Best Picture, which made Avis the first female producer to take home the award. And Camille won for Best Lead Actress, which made her first black woman to win the award. Before the Oscars, she received advice from a fictional Hattie McDaniel (the first actress to win an Oscar for Gone With the Wind) to take her seat in the front row, even if security tells her otherwise. When Camille walked into the venue, before her win, she was told that she would have to sit in the back, but in the end, she pushed past the ushers to take her seat in the front row. The Oscars also marked the first time Archie and Rock went public with their relationship. Rock’s agent told him that he would never work again if he came out as gay, but Rock stood by his values.
Raymond Directs a Gay Love Story
After the success of Meg, Avis becomes the new head of Ace Studios and greenlights Archie’s about a gay love story that starts at the same gas station that he met Rock. (The gas station, where Jack also worked, invited customers who were interested in gigolos to say the password “dreamland,” in which a handsome man would hop in their car and ride with them where ever they wanted to go. Rock was a client of Archie’s, but in the end, the two fell in love.) For the fictional movie, which was titled Dreamland, Rock played the gas station worker while Jack played his client.