“My role in Hollywood came at the craziest of times… I was still performing in Ain’t Too Proud, and we were just trying to make it through eight shows a week to get to the Tony’s that Sunday.” – Jeremy Pope
Many successful actors are happy to talk about and reflect on their first big breaks — especially if they experienced that big break very recently. Prior to being cast in Netflix’s Hollywood, star Jeremy Pope — who plays aspiring screenwriter Archie Coleman on the series — had the rare distinction of being nominated for two Tony Awards in the same year — something that only five other actors, including stage luminaries like Amanda Plummer and Mark Rylance, have achieved.
As is wont to happen for busy actors, when it rains, it pours. Pope was trying to keep up with the grueling Broadway schedule when his agent called him about Hollywood. He tells Netflix Queue:
“My role in Hollywood came at the craziest of times. It was the week of the Tony Awards that I got the call. I was nominated for two Tonys that year, for Choir Boy and Ain’t Too Proud. I was still performing in Ain’t Too Proud, and we were just trying to make it through eight shows a week to get to the Tonys that Sunday.
I remember my agent calling me up, and he went, “Hey, we got this self-tape audition for an untitled Ryan Murphy project. There’s no script attached to it. They sent some dummy sides your way. Take a look at it — they would like the tape as soon as you can get it.”
I remember wanting to get frustrated, but I was like, You know what, I’m not going to put that energy into it, because I don’t even have that energy. So, maybe an hour or so before we performed Ain’t Too Proud, I had a friend in the cast help me with this self-tape backstage. I honestly didn’t think about it twice; I just sent it over because this was a preliminary audition, where the casting agent wants to get familiar with you, and then you actually get the material later. I wasn’t trying to invest too much time into it. The next day, I got a call that Ryan Murphy was interested in my tape and had just offered me this role.”
Though Pope did realize that the Netflix series would be a huge opportunity, he found it hard to get too enthusiastic about the opportunity because of the Tony Award buzz. He says,”I was just trying not to get too excited or invested, because I needed more information. It was the Saturday before the Tony Awards, and Ryan and I met up for lunch. We had a really great conversation. He told me about the series Hollywood and who he thought Archie was. I think at the time, he was just finishing writing Episode 2 with Ian Brennan, so he was open to collaborating and hearing what my thoughts were in creating the character. I trusted Ryan and said yes to the project based on that conversation.”