The limited series, executive-produced by Ryan Murphy, depicts the life of Roy Halston Frowick (McGregor), who dominated the fashion world as designer Halston in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Based on the 1991 book “Simply Halston: The Untold Story,” the show follows the global impresario “as he leverages his single, invented name into a worldwide fashion empire that’s synonymous with luxury, sex, status and fame,” according to press notes.
During his heyday, Halston boasted a clientele of A-list stars that included Anjelica Huston and Liza Minnelli, the latter of whom actor Krysta Rodriguez portrays in the series. Halston’s well-documented battle with drug addiction, however, took a toll on his career, and he eventually lost control of his fashion house. He died of AIDS-related lung cancer at age 57 in 1990.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, McGregor said he wasn’t familiar with the scope of Halston’s legacy when he first read the script for the series.
Catch the “Halston” trailer below.
“I could tell instantly from the photographs that I wanted to play him,” the “Trainspotting” and “Moulin Rouge!” actor said. “I could just feel it. There’s something about the way you can see that he holds himself, something behind his eyes. There’s something so intriguing about him as a character.”
“To find out that he was so massively famous in his time and I had never heard of him — that didn’t make much sense to me,” he added.
“Halston” doesn’t shy away from its subject’s private life. The series also stars Gian Franco Rodriguez as Venezuelan-born artist Victor Hugo, who was in a romantic relationship with the designer for about 12 years.
As a straight man, McGregor said he was at first concerned that accepting the role of Halston, who made no secret of his queer sexuality during his lifetime, would result in backlash.
“If it had been a story about Halston’s sexuality more, then maybe it’s right that gay actors should play that role,” the actor told THR in a separate interview. “But in this case — and I don’t want to sound like I’m worming out of this, because it’s something I did think a lot about — I suppose ultimately I felt like it was just one part of who he was.”
“There are people I met who do not have nice things to say about him,” he continued. “And there are people who love him and are unbelievably loyal to this day. I was excited to play that.”
“Halston” debuts on Netflix on May 14.