Non-Angelenos are likely not familiar with ubiquitous L.A. billboard queen Angelyne, and Peacock’s new limited series on her will definitely enlighten you.
Per Peacock, the series is about “fame, identity, survival, billboards, Corvettes, lingerie, men, women, women teasing men, men obsessed with women, West Hollywood, crystals, UFOs, and most importantly of all, the self-proclaimed Rorschach test in pink, glow-in-the-dark queen of the universe, Angelyne.”
Shadow and Act spoke with series stars Emmy Rossum, Lukas Gage, Martin Freeman and Alex Karpovsky about the larger-than-life figure and their roles.
Rossum, who wanted to play Angelyne, was involved as a producer and championed the series, says she actually became aware of Angelyne at a very young age.
“I saw her billboard for the first time when I was 13,” she told us. “[I was] in LA, I think for the first time with my mom in a Hertz rental car during pilot season going to auditions. And I was so struck by this woman’s image. And there was this hyper-femininity and she was so self-assured in her body in a way that I certainly did not understand about my own female power when I was 13. And I just wanted to be that. I wanted to be that kind of self-assured and powerful. I was so fascinated by her and then I started seeing the billboards everywhere. And I would ask people who is this woman Angelyne? And everybody had the same response, which was to light up with joy and then tell a completely different story about who she was. That was so fascinating to me…how can you be so known and yet so unknown at the same time? So I have wanted to kind of tell this story for a really, really long time. I thought that the opportunity to really honor her…she’s such an unconventional person through various different unconventional methods of storytelling…was such an incredible opportunity to tell the story of an icon that isn’t doesn’t really feel like a biopic for me. It really feels like an investigation of all the different stories that exist about her.”
One key aspect of the series is how Angelyne was the first–and at the very least most notable– person that became famous for no apparent reason. In other words, she was Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian of that era and preceded that persona.
“I think Angelyne existed and rose to fame at a time before the explosion of the Internet where you could really hyper-self actualize and create your own identity and define yourself in a way that maybe broke from historical facts that might have defined you prior,” said Rossum. “And at that time, there was the ability to create enigma and mystery and mystique…kind of a combination of like old Hollywood and fairy tale storytelling. That created the tumbleweed that became the fame of word of mouth that became Angelyne.”
Watch the full interviews below: