Ryan Murphy explained the decision to reconceive and recast the role originally to be played by Tatiana Maslany in his new FX period drama “Pose” on Friday.
“It just became apparent to me — she’s a very young woman. I sort of felt, working with our young cast, that we needed an older figure in the world to be the dance teacher,” Murphy said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday. “Someone who was of a different generation and more of a mentor as opposed to a peer.”
Tatiana Maslany had originally been cast as a modern dance teacher who takes a special interest in the talent of Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) in the series set in mid-’80s New York City.
During the pilot phase of the project, the role was reconceived as a 50-year-old African American woman, later announced to be played by Charlayne Woodard.
“It was a very easy decision, we all sort of felt it was the right thing for the show,” Murphy said, adding “I love Tatiana, and I want to work with her desperately, and I will.”
Set in 1986 New York, Pose takes on the rise of Donald Trump-style superwealth, the denizens of downtown (including the literary scene) and the underground LGBT subculture known as ball culture. Murphy previously called Pose “a game changer of a show, which at its heart is an uplifting series about the universal quest for identity, family and respect. Along with being a dance musical and an affirming look at American life in the 1980s, I’m so proud that Pose and FX has made history right from the beginning by featuring the most trans series regular actors ever in an American television production. Additionally, the first season [of] Pose will feature 50-plus LGBTQ characters — a record in American television history.”