Jim Parsons in new Netflix series “Hollywood” – Streaming
In eight episodes, “Hollywood” takes us into the golden age of film in the city where dreams come true. About today’s glamour, we talked to leading actor Jim Parsons on video talk.
It is the time when actors like Humphrey Bogart and Tony Curtis become icons, the classic “Casablanca” makes film history and Alfred Hitchcock is at his best. In the series “Hollywood” (from 1 May on Netflix), a group of young actors and filmmakers want to make a breakthrough in the city of dreams after the end of the Second World War – at all costs.
Jim Parsons has already become a celebrated star in today’s Hollywood. In the role of the highly intelligent physicist Dr. Dr. Sheldon Cooper in the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”, he not only achieved international fame, but also received – in addition to four Emmys – a Hollywood star on the “Walk of Fame” in Los Angeles.
Jim Parsons as Manager Henry Willson
In the new Netflix series “Hollywood”, 47-year-old Parsons now plays the manager Henry Willson – a real character. His most prominent client was Rock Hudson, who was born as Roy Scherer. He made him one of Hollywood’s most famous actors in the 1950s.
And so the aspiring actor Roy, who is played in the series by Jake Picking and later becomes Rock Hudson, has to disappear into an adjoining room during his appointment with Henry Willson, in whom he has every hope, and learn that sex is the ticket to the dream factory.
GOLDEN CAMERA: Your role is based on a true person – with a twist a la Ryan Murphy. How much Henry Willson is in your character?
Jim Parsons: I found a lot of information about Henry online, but my main source was the biography “The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson” by Robert Hofler. The book gave me an insight into Henry’s youth until his death. The series is a mixture of true events and fantastic sequences. Henry Willson did many heinous things and was anything but lovable, but his love for show business and for his clients was sincere. He simply wanted to belong to Hollywood. He died penniless because he always went out with his actors, paid for their acting lessons or had their teeth whitened. In “Hollywood” we give him a happier ending.
The series shows how the golden era of Hollywood could or should have been. To what extent is Tinseltown today open to change and no longer repeats the mistakes of the past?
Hollywood has definitely changed in recent years. But this industry – like life in general – is made up of so many people and revolves around so much money that change is very slow and very difficult to achieve. But Ryan shows with this series that change begins with a courageous act.
“Hollywood” is not your first collaboration with Ryan Murphy. What does it mean to you to belong to the Ryan universe?
The Ryan universe is one of the most creative worlds I have ever visited. I practically blindly said yes to “Hollywood” without really knowing what the show was about or what role I would play. I can’t believe my luck that I’m part of Ryan’s family. He’s always been brave and fearless in pushing his visions through and staying true to his creative instincts. But now, thanks to his success, he has influence. There is nothing left to hold him back.
In your career, have you ever met people like Henry Willson?
Not to this extent, fortunately. I’ve also never had personal experience with people like Harvey Weinstein. They’re so contrary to my own personality that it fascinated me to follow in their footsteps and bully others for once. I learned that even playing a meanie was very difficult for me, and that speaking those mean words left a bitter aftertaste in me.
The world knows you as Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory.” Were you looking for a role that was different inside?
Yes, and playing Henry was very liberating for me. I was happy to be able to transform myself physically and emotionally into a completely different person. That meant many hours in the make-up chair, but it was a completely new feeling for me as an actor to look in the mirror after the transformation with toupee, false teeth and brown contact lenses. I hope that I will get this chance more often in my career.