Not a day has gone by in 2017 where President Trump has not filled the headlines and those subsequent stories often include the President’s dislike for Hollywood. After a politically-charged Golden Globes, the President tweeted against Oscar-winner Meryl Streep who made pointed statements against the President during the ceremony. He declared her “overrated.” Now a month into his term, Hollywood is making voicing their opinions on the current administration a priority as multiple current and upcoming series inspired by President Trump are in the works.
The clearest inspiration comes from AMERICAN HORROR STORY‘s Ryan Murphy, who is using the 2016 election as the subject for the next season, which will begin shooting in June. Murphy has found great success with true stories recently with American Crime Story. The first season focused the trial of O.J. Simpson and highlighted the racist and sexist issues that were prevalent throughout the case. These same issues were often discussed throughout last year’s elections and would seemingly make a perfect fit for another season of Crime Story, but Murphy has never been one to hide his political leanings and his view on the election is apparent in the choice to declare it a Horror Story.
Another limited series, TRUMP: IT HAPPENED HERE, is also in the works and creates a scripted drama out of the behind-the-scenes and public actions of the Donald Trump. It’s a ten part series and two scripts have already begun making the rounds in town. The series is written by Scott Conroy, who was a political reporter and the creator of Embeds from Verizon go90.
Next up, Zero Dark Thirty and Hurt Locker writer-producer Mark Boal is reuniting with Megan Ellison on an untitled political drama inspired by the 2016 election that is said to be between eight and ten hours. They have not currently set the project up at a network but will produce through Page 1.
One interesting thing about this trend is that it may simply not be forward-thinking enough. President Trump and his team regularly take conversations with the media and spin them to discuss falterings by the Democrats during the campaign. Public conversations appear to want to move on from these discussions and focus on either supporting or fighting the administration’s actions. While each of these projects sounds intriguing and the scripts of It Happened Here are winning praise, producing these projects are unlikely to win Trump supporters over to Hollywood’s side. Instead, they contribute to the narrative from the President’s people that “liberal Hollywood elites” aren’t moving on.
Now there are television projects in the works that are looking to make their feelings towards the White House known without repeating the 2016 narrative. HBO has ordered SUCCESSION, executive produced and directed by The Big Short‘s Adam McKay, which follows a family that runs a major media conglomerate, and TOO SOON?, an animated comedy from Harry Shearer that takes viewers into a satirical look at the White House. Also, after the Women’s March drew crowds larger than the inauguration all around the world, a fifty episode anthology series, DOT, is in the works and will focus on women’s issues. Each episode will focus on the issues to an individual state. This detail is incredibly important, as it combats the idea that Hollywood ignores the concerns of those who live in more central states, particularly the “rust belt” which cost Hilary Clinton the election.
If the industry wants to fight their causes and make a long-term impact, they’ll need to look more to projects like these, which exist outside the well-documented narratives and instead, shed light on current problems in the administration and the voices of those often ignored.
Emily J | TV Editor