I formed every opinion I currently hold of Ryan Murphy’s work back in college with a single episode of Nip/Tuck in which some plastic surgeons built Aisha Tyler a clitoris from a toe, and that opinion is this: Ryan Murphy isn’t any good. Every few years, I challenge that opinion with an episode of the O.J. Simpson show here, the sorority horror thing there. But even Feud simply helped me to remember that I could just rewatch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane should I want to see something good, rather than something not that good. However, after viewing the trailer for the forthcoming Halston I am very, very ready to be wrong!
Opening with a self-serious, organ-heavy cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence,” the trailer features Ewan McGregor camping it up as a megalomaniacal, coke-addled mad scientist version of the 1970s titan responsible for outfitting all of Studio 54, but Liza Minnelli specifically. The first glimpse alone looks like the series will do the silly tragedy of the decade justice. Not featured is underrated Culkin, Rory, whom I cannot wait to see play a young Joel Schumacher. Also to be put to excellent use in the series is the goddamn delightful Mary Beth Peil (Gram from Dawson’s Creek) as Martha Graham and the always welcome Kelly Bishop. And I am completely ready to be wrong about Trial and Error’s Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli, but I was hoping for a little more... Liza.
While I keep harping on the fact that this is a Ryan Murphy joint, Halston was actually created by The Affair producer Sharr White and directed by Game of Thrones, Versace, and House of Cards guy Daniel Minahan, with Murphy credited for writing four episodes. The good thing about giving Halston the biopic treatment is that there’s no way to go too over-the-top with the source material, and McGregor brings a controlled energy to balance out a role that could descend into parody. But my hopes have been high in the past, only to be left dashed and deflated on the floor of a sideshow tent. Here’s to that hope springing eternal with the effortlessness of a drapey, one-shouldered gown flowing from a torso slicked with 4 a.m. coke sweat.