Pose to explore discussion of the AIDS epidemic in season two

Pose to explore discussion of the AIDS epidemic in season two
Pose to explore discussion of the AIDS epidemic in season two

From left: Angel, Damon, and Blanca from Pose

The groundbreaking show Pose, featuring trans talent both in front of and behind the camera, was renewed for a second season.

For this heavily-anticipated return, the Pose team has said it will further explore the AIDS epidemic.

Madonna

‘Season 2 will begin in 1989 and end in March of 1990 when Madonna’s “Vogue” is released,’ executive producer Ryan Murphy revealed during a press tour panel.

‘That song took something that was unknown in the culture and made it mainstream, and this season will be about our characters, how their community was made known to the world.’

While Murphy claims he’s had a ‘good relationship with Madonna thus far,’ even getting her permission to use a couple songs in season two, he is unsure if she wants to appear in a guest role on the show.

‘Stunt casting is not what the show is about,’ he said. ‘And I don’t know how she’d feel about playing 1990 Madonna.’

HIV+ diagnoses

The writer’s room for Pose’s second season will begin in early September. Creator Steven Canals said he loves ‘that our show is grounded socio-politically in the late-’80s.’

After receiving HIV-positive test results in season one, the characters of Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) and Pray Tell (Billy Porter) will not shy away from it in the new season.

‘There is a responsibility to a cold, hard truth, and I think we will see it on the show,’ Murphy said. ‘We haven’t gotten there yet, but the second season will very much be Blanca and Pray Tell’s HIV experience.’

Trans issues

Producer, writer, and director Janet Mock said the show is a ‘great homage’ to the issues the transgender community was dealing with at the time. Additionally, it is also reflective of the complications many in the trans community still face to this day. For instance, hostile home and work environments and a ‘society that isn’t centering them.’

‘There are certain people who can tell all kinds of stories and others who don’t have access to even get in those rooms, so what I love about our show and our show getting a second season [is] we have new life to be able to show that a series can cast five trans women playing trans women and there are hundreds of others who come on for smaller roles or background roles,’ Mock said.

‘I think our show is proof that trans people can play trans people on screen and you don’t need a star name to tell a story that is powerful and impactful and deeply affirming.’

Casting

When the show first started its casting process, Murphy recalls being told that it would ‘probably be really hard.’

‘But it was the easiest because the talent pool was so vast and so wide,’ Murphy said. ‘People who didn’t get some of the roles in the pilot were so beautiful and so talented and so eager we wrote roles for them. We kept doing that as the season progressed. Someone who came in for a one-liner or two lines would suddenly get a huge scene.’

Indya Moore, who plays Angel, believes that Pose is moving storytelling to a place where ‘it’s not special’ to see a trans actor playing a trans role.

‘It’s more normalized to see people acting who also happen to be trans,’ Moore said.

‘Seeing the interactions between Stan and Angel [and how they] hugged in public, to the ways that Stan speaks about his admiration for Angel that had nothing to do with her sexually, [that] changed forever how trans people are seen and the way our bodies are seen to the world,’ she continued.

‘Seeing the way Angel is appreciated and loved… it’s something so many trans women needed to see — so many people needed to see.’

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