If you’re a lover of classic movies, then you probably spent your weekend in Dreamland binge-watching Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix series, Hollywood.
The show depicts a revisionist history of the film industry’s heyday, which features prominent gay screenwriters and actors, including Rock Hudson, being out about their sexual orientation during the early days of their careers.
One of the villains of the Hollywood ’verse is Henry Willson, who was the agent for heartthrobs like Hudson, Tab Hunter, and Troy Donahue. Willson is played by Jim Parsons, who really dials up the dark side Willson was known for in real life.
In the third episode, where they attend one of director George Cukor’s salacious Sunday-night parties, Willson invites Hudson over to his house for some drinks, dresses in drag, and then dances for the new Tinseltown hunk.
According to the Hollywood press notes, Parsons was so invested in his role that he actually choreographed the drag number himself. After filming the scene, Parsons received a “huge round of applause” from the crew. But they weren’t his only fans: As it turns out, legendary actress Meryl Streep also had some kind words about his performance.
During the production of Hollywood, Murphy was off filming his adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom. The movie has an all-star cast including James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, and Streep in the lead roles.
While on The Prom set, Murphy received a cut of Parsons’ drag dance scene and showed it to Streep. “She was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so brilliant,’” Murphy recalled. “And if Meryl thinks you’re brilliant, that’s the best you can do.”
When the Emmy-winning Big Bang Theory actor sat down with NewNowNext to discuss his Hollywood role, he revealed he had—shockingly—not heard Streep’s praises. Watch him talk about playing Willson and impressing Streep in the video interview below.