In a new profile for The New York Times, Ryan Murphy talked about his two big hits for Netflix and addressed some of the criticism of the biggest one, Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
Since it came out on September 21, the limited series about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer has become Murphy’s biggest hit. It has been streaming for a lot of hours every week, including the most hours on Netflix, and Murphy said it was on track to stream more than 1 billion hours over Halloween weekend.
Then, Murphy and Ian Brennan’s next limited series, The Watcher, a thriller based on a true crime and starring Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale, which came out on October 13, threatened to take its place.
But Dahmer: Monster has also been criticized by the victims’ families. Some of them have said that Netflix and the people who made the show never reached out to them. The show has also been accused of taking advantage of trauma by focusing so much on Dahmer’s horrible actions.
Murphy had said before that during their three and a half years of research, he and his team reached out to more than 20 victims’ families and friends, but “not a single person responded to us.”
Murphy told Maureen Dowd for the profile that came out over the weekend that he took on Dahmer’s story to shed light on the racism and homophobia that shaped the case because “it was the biggest thing I’ve ever seen that real sort of looks at how easy it is to get away with things with the white privilege aspects.”
“What are the rules now?” he asked. Should tyrants never be the subject of a movie? ” He also didn’t agree with the streamer’s decision, made after some viewers complained, to take the LGBTQ tag off the show.
He also said, “I don’t think all gay stories have to be happy.” “At one point, they took the LGBTQ tag off of Dahmer on Netflix, which I didn’t like. When I asked why they said it was because people were upset because it was a sad story. I was like, “Okay, but it was about a gay man and, more importantly, about the gay people he hurt.”
He said that the sixth episode, “Silenced,” which was about Dahmer victim Tony Hughes, a Black deaf man, and was written by David McMillan and Janet Mock and directed by Paris Barclay, is the one he’s most proud of: “There’s a five-minute scene of three gay deaf men at a pizza place talking in sign language about dating, gay life, and how hard it is for them.
I couldn’t believe I was getting the chance to put it on TV.” (Tony Hughes’s mother, Shirley Hughes, said that the series dramatized her son’s story.)
In the piece, Murphy doesn’t say anything about what he’ll do after his contract with the streaming giant ends in five months. Will he stay at Netflix, where his show Dahmer has become the second-biggest hit in the streaming service’s history, or will he go back to FX and Disney, which owns FX?
Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, told Dowd that he gave Murphy the mega $300 million producing deal in the first place because “very few people are capable of doing what he ultimately did at Netflix.” As an example, he pointed out that Dahmer is now a worldwide hit.
“Everyone was familiar with Versace. “Everyone knew about O.J.,” said Sarandos, referring to American Crime Story, one of Murphy’s hits for FX. “Everyone knows who Jeffrey Dahmer is, but he takes these well-known stories and gives them a whole new twist.”
Even though The Politician, Hollywood, and The Prom had what the article called a “patchy initial run” on Netflix, Sarandos said, “I don’t think it’s possible for anyone, not just Ryan, to get to where they are without having a few misses under their belts while they figure out, ‘How do I adapt my storytelling to this platform?'” How do I make it relevant to this group? ‘”
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