Hollywood Reporter Interviews HUMANITAS Winner Ryan Murphy
If one had to identify television's "most valuable player" of 2013-2014, one would have good reason to pick Ryan Murphy, the man behind three noteworthy productions: The Normal Heart (HBO), a dramatic TV movie adapted from one of the most socially significant plays of our time; American Horror Story: Coven (FX), the fourth miniseries in a fright-based anthology; and Glee (Fox), a musical theater series.
To varying degrees, each one of these projects has found a large audience, each has been embraced by critics and each was feted, back in July, by the TV Academy. Indeed, Murphy's shows collectively received 34 total Emmy nominations — 17 for AHSC, 16 for TNH and 1 for Glee — more than the total number of noms accorded to all of the shows on Netflix, Fox, AMC or Showtime. Take a minute to mull over that.
The Hollywood Reporter: As a kid, were movies, television or theater big parts of your life? And, if they were, were any specific productions or people particular favorites or influences?
Murphy: You know, I was a strange kid, in that I was, sort of, raised by my grandmother. I basically saw everything when I was growing up. I really loved movies and I loved television. It was funny, I loved everything. In terms of influences for what I do now, I guess, for American Horror Story, my big influence was Dark Shadows. But I was always a big fan of everything, and when I went to college my film school was, sort of, watching stuff that I had missed or that was too mature for me when I was a kid. I really became influenced by Hal Ashby. And I really was obsessed Network, which remains my favorite film. I would say those.
And when did it first occur to you that you might be able to have a career in show business yourself? Was there a moment or event that made you decide that it was what you were cut out for?
Well, I moved to L.A. I was a journalist, and I worked for the L.A. Times and Entertainment Weekly and Vogue doing freelance, mainly. And I was writing a script — I just thought, I'm gonna try this — so I wrote a couple of scripts, and the first thing I ever wrote sold, so I was able to then quit my day job and pursue that full-time. That was, like, 1997. So I did that, and it took me a couple of years before I zeroed in on television, and that then became my big passion. I sold a teenage comedy to the WB back when those were in vogue — a show called Popular — and that was my first thing that got on the air, and I loved the pace and energy of it so much that I just decided, "Okay, this is what I really want to do."
Read more at The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/ryan-murphy-talks-autobiographical-elements-723051