Steven Canals details the fight to make ‘Pose’ and its original concept, much darker

Canals with MJ Rodriguez. Via Shutterstock

On the eve of the start of the final season of Pose, series creator Steven Canals has spoken about the difficulty of running the series, the decision to end it after three seasons, and the original, much darker concept of the show. ‘history.

In a new interview with DigitalSpy, Canals reiterated that it had taken years to get the green light from Pose. Agents, studio managers, and just about everyone else discouraged him from trying to put on a show on the ballroom stage.

“I would say about 50% gave me a version of, ‘This is going to be really tough. It’s very black, it’s very brown, it’s queer, it’s trans, it’s a period piece, ”he says of his pitch meetings. “But then there was a small group that was very blunt, saying, ‘No one is ever going to give you the money or the confidence you need to get to the finish line.’”

By the time he met co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy, Canals was almost ready to give up.

“I was tired because it had been two and a half years since I’d been going into and out of offices, telling the story and talking about it,” he says of their first meeting. “So by the time I got to the reunion with Ryan, I was equally exhausted, and at the same time there was a kind of interesting attitude and energy ‘I don’t feel like to have something to lose ‘. But as soon as we sat down and started talking, I immediately realized, “Oh, that’s the right person for this. And so at the end of that meeting, he was like, ‘OK, we’re going to do this together. “I don’t think I’ll ever have another experience like this in this industry. “

Related: We Visited The Set For ‘Pose’, The Show That May Save The World

Canals then detailed their original concept, much darker for the show which was less Paris is Burning and more Les Misérables.

“The main course was the same,” he says of the original pilot script, “meaning there’s a young black boy named Damon who gets kicked out of his house for being gay. , he moves to New York, then gets tangled up in the prom scene, and gets caught up in a war between two mothers. But in this original draft, Damon becomes a sex worker. So he survives in the Piers, and he has a pimp. This pimp is murdered in the pilot. And so the basic story of the first season was a lot darker than what the show has become. At the end of the pilot, you know who is responsible for the murder. But it kind of becomes a cat and mouse tale where you’re like, ‘Oh, no, are they going to get caught? Will they be arrested for this murder? ”

“And at that point,” Canals explained, “Ryan said, ‘Let’s just go back to your original draft.’ We started to rewrite it, and it was still dark. And then I got a note from Ryan that changed everything. He just said, ‘You have a real joy to be a queer person of color. I want to feel this joy. This happiness, this love that you have for your identity and your community… It must be on the page. ”

For Canals, the show’s success only raised more questions. Leader among them: how and when to end the series. In the interview, he reveals that he struggled to decide whether Season 3 should be the last of the series. In the end, it seemed appropriate.

“Ryan and I have been very careful about this,” he recalls. “We definitely could have done a fourth or fifth season if we really wanted to. But the thing is, the audience will take care of the filling, right? They will know if there is an intention behind the story. I think the previous two seasons had such a clear bow and such a clear thread. It was heartbreaking to make that decision, to say, “Alright, I think we’re done. I know the audience probably won’t agree with this, but it was really done with the audience in mind. Let’s go when we’re still on top. Let’s go when people are still excited about us and like us. “

Pose Season 3 premieres Sunday, May 2 on FX.

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