September 28, 2019
If you had to sum up actor Ben Platt in one word, “impressive” would do the job perfectly.
Ben Platt Breaks Down Why The Politician Is A Huge Step For Queerness On Screen
Already a Tony Award and Grammy winner – both wins being for his leading role in the much-celebrated Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen – he is now starring as the lead in Netflix’s new show The Politician (he turned 26 just three days before its debut), which he’s described as his most daunting project to date.
The Politician is no ordinary Netflix series, though. The eight-part show marks the streaming platform’s first collaboration in their much-hyped deal with TV’s reigning King Midas, Ryan Murphy, the man whose shows have made stars of Sarah Paulson, Billy Porter, Evan Peters and, oh yeah, the entire cast of Glee.“Just because it’s Netflix, the scale is so much larger than anything I’ve ever done,” Ben tells us, shortly before The Politician’s launch. “The amount of people that will theoretically be seeing this show, regardless of how it’s even received, is going to be instantly much larger than anyone who’s seen anything I’ve done, or all of the people who sat through Dear Evan Hansen combined. So that’s very daunting.
“We’ve tried for as long as we can not think about it, but now we walk out of our doors and there are, like, six billboards for the show. So we’re relying a lot on each other, we’re just trying to really process it together.” 
Adding to this is the fact that The Politician’s debut has come at a time while Ben is still promoting his debut solo album, Sing To Me Instead, with a looming concert at New York’s Radio City Music Hall also set to be filmed for Netflix.
Fortunately, he learned a thing or two about multi-tasking from his on-screen mother and The Politician co-star Gwyneth Paltrow.He explains: “This is the first time that I’m experiencing having to juggle multiple projects at once – nowhere near the level of running her empire – but watching Gwyneth be present with me in a scene, go and make important decisions with her team for Goop on the side in between, and then come back and be in the moment again, was very inspiring.
“It was surreal, because she’d be on the phone and you’d know it’s some huge thing that’s going to send ripples through society… but she’d be very calm about it and very nonchalant.”
Ben counted himself as a Gwyneth fan (“like everyone”, he jokes) before he started working closely with her, and was interested to see how she compared to his expectations.
“To me, she is this very elegant, larger-than-life identity, and I didn’t really know what to expect in reality,” he says. ”But she immediately took me under her wing and was very protective of me, and very maternal and kind and warm.”
With regards to his A-list co-star’s reputation and Hollywood persona, Ben adds: “Similar to a good politician, the seeds are honest and authentic, there are pieces of that in her, and she has that elegance and that confidence and that sort of unknowable beauty that we all associate with her. But then of course, there’s much more real grounded, down-to-earth humanity in her.
“Like anyone, when you strip away the phony persona, you’ll get to know who they are. But [her A-list persona] is very much based in the reality of who she is.”The Politician centres around Ben’s character, Payton Hobart, a highly-ambitious high school student who is set on becoming US president one day.
Ryan Murphy has said he envisages the show spanning multiple series, each one focusing on a key election in Payton’s career, the first of which is the race to be named his class president.
The character was created specifically by Ryan Murphy for Ben, having been impressed after watching him in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway.
“Ryan came backstage afterwards, in a beautiful fur – of course, as you would hope,” Ben recalls. “And he was very effusive and complimentary. He said, ‘I would love to find something to do together’. And I thought that was an incredibly lovely thing to say, but I didn’t really want or expect anything – I mean, he’s Ryan Murphy, he’s got a million things going on.
“Shortly after that, he reached out to me, and said ‘I have an idea’, and I was like, ‘oh cool, maybe he’ll put me on one of his shows, put me on American Horror Story or something’. And then we had lunch and he basically said, ‘I’ve created this character for you, and it’s something that I think would be very special for you’. And he laid out everything about it – he knew he wanted Gwyneth, he knew what he wanted the look to be, the tone to be, the people writing it, the directors, when he wanted to shoot it, where he wanted to shoot it… he had a very, very clear vision, and made it very hard to say no.”
And for anyone who already finds watching the news fatiguing enough, without voluntarily tuning into a show called The Politician, Ben is insistent that the series is more in keeping with Ryan’s existing hit shows than the likes of House Of Cards or The West Wing. “There’s a political theme to the show and, yes, it’s about a literal election,” he explains. “But it’s more about the way that all of us have to be politicians in our lives.
“We’re all trying to figure out how authentic to be and what version of ourselves to put forward. And this is much more delicious and satirical and biting and funny and entertaining and exciting than a show that just takes place on the senate floor. It’s a little more soapy and dramatic than that.”
In fact, Ben says that producers made a deliberate choice not to mention the current president by name at any point, despite referencing several other former US leaders.
“In true Ryan Murphy fashion, The Politician is an escape,” Ben says. “It’s a fantasy world, it’s aspirational. It’s not meant to be time spent in reality. We wanted people to stay inside the world and enjoy living in the story… so I think anything that’s too much a reminder of our specific reality, we very much wanted to avoid.”
However, Ben does say that the current climate means it’s the right time for a show like The Politician, pointing out: “I feel like people who up until this point – including myself – have not been very politically-minded or involved, are feeling there’s no choice now but to start joining the conversation because it’s become a little bit of a dire situation.
“It’s becoming more about larger questions of human rights and free speech, and these things are hard to ignore. So I feel like now is the time that, particularly young people, need to be listening up.”
One aspect of the show that has already received a lot of praise is the way sexuality is represented on screen, with more than one character – including Ben’s – being shown having romantic relationships with people of different genders. This is an area the actor credits as being one of Ryan Murphy’s biggest successes, saying: “I think it’s part of this world that Ryan creates that’s a really positive subliminal messaging situation.
“I hope that it’s going to be more prevalent in queer stories, where everybody’s queerness is kind of just an assumed part of their identity. And any given character could fall anywhere on the scale, and there doesn’t need to be any sort of comment on ‘what’s the difference between a relationship with a man or a woman?’ or ‘does [Payton] struggle with his sexuality?’. It’s not even about that, it’s more just part of who he is, and that’s part of the relationships that he’s made. The fact that one is a man and one is a woman is almost entirely irrelevant.”
He adds: “[Ryan] represents so many queer perspectives in all of his work, and has taken so many steps in Glee and in Pose, to get to this point, and now it gets to just be an assumed part of the universe, and doesn’t have to be the subject matter of the piece. And that’s the ultimate gift.”
As a gay actor, Ben also says it’s “fantastic” to have been given the opportunity to play a character who isn’t exclusively gay, an idea he hopes can help diversify the roles that he and his peers are offered in the future.“Hopefully we’re heading towards a time where there are enough equal opportunities in the process of getting roles, and we’re seeing all different kinds of actors, so that we can just truly pick who is the right person for the role, and whose talents match with the role the best, regardless of what their personal preference might be,” he says.
As teased in the final episode, a second series is already in the works, which Ben says they’ll be working on “as soon as we’re done promoting season one, towards the end of October”.
He hasn’t read a script, and knows nothing about the show, other than the two legendary actresses featured in the finale will be “at the centre” of the second series (we’ll not spoil it for you, but Ben has teased “a gay gasp felt around the world” when their characters are first introduced).
The second season also seems to be setting Payton up to take a bigger step towards his presidency dream, but is it something Ben thinks would actually be good for his character? “I love him, and I know he wants it more than anything, and so I want it for him,” he says. “But is it good for anyone to have that kind of omnipotence? At the end of the day, is it a good thing for a person to experience that amount of power? It’s hard to say.
“I mean, I don’t know if he’ll be entirely happy either way, as I don’t think anyone’s ever entirely happy, regardless of what they achieve. I’ve had dreams that I’ve achieved and there’s been beautiful moments and then I still have down moments, there’s no final moment of ‘I’ve achieved everything, the end’.
“Sometimes the goal isn’t what you think it is, and it isn’t the end. The be all and end all doesn’t really exist, there’s no black or white, no one is entirely a villain or entirely a victor. Everyone’s something in the middle.”
The Politician is streaming now on Netflix.MORE NETFLIX... Orange Is The New Black Producer Lifts The Lid On Creating The Show’s Biggest Moments Instant Hotel's Babe Scott Reveals 15 Filming Secrets You Didn't Know About The Netflix Show Simon Amstell: 'I Wanted To Be A Comedian Before I Wanted To Be A Gay Comedian' The Royal Family Wants You To Know They Don't Endorse The Crown
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Davina Potratz wishes her softer side was shown on ‘Selling Sunset’ | Page Six Celebrity News
July 31, 2020
5E6w1CgPiEI
Will Ellen DeGeneres become a canceled celebrity amid investigation? | Page Six Celebrity News
July 30, 2020
qL3cje-HhPM
Selling Sunset’ star Christine Quinn on feuds with Heather Rae Young, Davina Potratz | Page Six News
July 30, 2020
s7kL7qBqzg4
Chris Meloni talks 'Maxxx' and His Return to 'Law and Order'
July 30, 2020
ZFTDB-dwyUA
'The Fugitive' Star Boyd Holbrook Shares Why He Left 'Narcos' After 2 Seasons
July 30, 2020
2kTuD8LTGCE
'Umbrella Academy' Season 2 Finds The Hargreeves Navigating the 1960s
July 24, 2020
JdPgaIxmUKg
Tekashi 6ix9ine Shoots Music Video After Release from House Arrest
August 02, 2020
VyVVV5Tg1EA
Montana Couple Married at Age 91, Signed a Prenup | TMZ
August 02, 2020
1sImDqNXfko
Donald Trump Suggests Presidential Election Should Be Delayed | TMZ
July 31, 2020
dueLNw16vkY
New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes "Opts Out" of 2020 MLB Season
August 02, 2020
nqEcJqVd4vw
Nikki Bella Gives Birth to Her First Child
August 02, 2020
f2OuJHTG-Ic
Brie Bella & Daniel Bryan Welcome Baby No. 2
August 02, 2020
TNjzetFVHn0
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Verona
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Torino
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Lecce - Parma
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Udinese
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Fiorentina
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Roma
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Cagliari
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Lazio
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Roma
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Juventus
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Sampdoria - AC Milan
28
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Napoli
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Norwich City
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Watford
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Manchester United
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Sampdoria
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Wolves
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Tottenham Hotspur
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Fiorentina
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Inter Milan
24
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Atalanta
23
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Juventus
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Chelsea
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - West Ham United
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Fiorentina
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Roma
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Napoli
21
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - AC Milan
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
-g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.