There was virtually no way Fox’s innovative musical comedy Glee wouldn’t be nominated for an Emmy this year (although Season Two lost some momentum) after conventional wisdom declared it a toss-up for Outstanding Series with Modern Family in 2010. This time around, Glee received 12 nominations and co-creator Ryan Murphy isn’t hiding from industry insiders how much he wants the show to get gold. Even though last month’s firing controversy put him on the defensive with the media and even the show’s actors. (See EXCLUSIVE: Glee’s Ryan Murphy Talks For First Time About Firings Missteps.) Here is the rest of his exclusive interview with Deadline special correspondent Allison Hope Weiner:
DEADLINE: How do you feel about Glee being nominated for 12 Emmys and you not getting nominated for writing or directing?
MURPHY: I was really happy with the ones I got. I was a little disappointed with the ones I didn’t get. I just loved so many of the episodes and I think our show is so hard to direct. It’s an hour. It’s musical numbers. That said, I think people are assholes when they say they should have been nominated. Sometimes it’s your year and sometimes it’s not. For a thing like an awards show, you just should be quiet and happy and gracious and say thank you for what you get.
DEADLINE: When Nip/Tuck wasn’t nominated for outstanding series did it bug you?
MURPHY: FX hadn’t really broken through. The first drama that they got nominated was Damages. The thing I was thrilled about for Glee was that we were still nominated for comedy so that we were still in the game, but also a lot of the cast and crew got nominated. Somebody like Gwyneth Paltrow whose father was nominated 9 times and never won. She was nominated. When I called her, she was very emotional because it meant something to her because of her father. I was really happy about that. Would I have liked to see (directors) Alfonso Gomez-Rejon or Brad (Falchuk) or Eric (Stoltz) get in there? Yeah. But when you look at all those nominees, I think those were all great episodes. I think the hard thing about our show is that articles are written asking whether we are a dramedy. I hate that word. They talk about starting separate categories. To which I’m like, ‘Do we really need more categories? Do we really need another half an hour on that Emmy awards show?’ No. I think our first season was spectacular. I think our second season was good. I understand people’s criticisms of it, but I still love it.
DEADLINE: What about last year’s conventional wisdom that it was an Emmy face-off between Glee and Modern Family?
MURPHY: When we first started off with Modern Family, I felt very competitive with them. We were both the babies of (20th Century Fox TV chairman) Dana Walden. We would win the Golden Globe and they would win the Emmy. Now it’s different. I’m really proud of Steven and (Levitan) I’m really proud of Chris (Lloyd) and I’m really proud that they got so many nominations. I salute them. I think that they will win. I would love to win. I would love for our show to be recognized. But I think they’re a classic. I think good for them.
DEADLINE: Do you really think that?
MURPHY: Look, the morning of this year’s Emmy nominations, I was really excited. The year before, we had 19. I got up at 5:30 AM. I saw we got 12, and I was like, ‘Oh, I wish we had a couple more for our cast and crew.’ I would have liked to have been nominated. But I looked at the list of nominees and you can’t argue with that. I was disappointed Matt (Morrison) wasn’t nominated and Lea (Michele) wasn’t nominated. With those things, you have to see the glass as half full. And you call up Lea and say, ‘Next year, we’re writing great stuff for you.” I was really thrilled for Dot Marie Jones. The reason Dot got that part was she was a stunt woman and she hadn’t really acted and she came in and blew our socks off, Brad and I, for a pilot we did called Pretty Handsome. The pilot wasn’t picked up. But I never forgot her performance. We wrote that role for her. We said, ‘You’re a really cool unusual lady and it’s probably hard for you to be cast. We’re going to show the world what we see.’ The fact that she did the part and she got nominated, I was like, that’s amazing. I was so proud of Chris Colfer. And I was so proud of Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth Paltrow is the coolest chick that you’re ever going to meet. She’s talented and the thing about Gwyneth is if you have a friend with cancer or an ailment, she’s the person that everyone in her life turns to. She’s so kind. She knows how to be a good friend. When she first found out about the Emmy nominations, she didn’t talk about herself. She talked about how her dad would be so proud. We love her. That’s how I feel about the Emmys.
DEADLINE: After doing an edgy show like Nip/Tuck, was it hard to do a show like Glee?
MURPHY: What happened was because of the success of Nip/Tuck I was lucky enough to get an overall deal at Fox. And at that point, the two guys who’d greenlit Nip/Tuck at FX, Peter Ligiori and Kevin Riley, were now at Fox. So I was very close with them, and very close with Dana Walden. That first general meeting was, ‘What do you want to do?’ And I think they thought I want to do something dark and upsetting. But I wanted to go from something nihilistic to something optimistic. I said one of my favorite movies is Cabaret and I’d love to do a musical. They said, ‘We’ve always been looking for something to pair with American Idol. It’s never worked.” But I just threw it out there. Two weeks after that meeting, I was approached by Michael Novick who had his friend Ian Brennan’s movie script which was about a glee club. It was much darker, like an independent movie. I read it and I called them in and said, ‘I love this, but I think this could be a cool TV show. I think this is the way to do it.’ Ian was like, ‘I love that idea.’ So with my writing partner at the time, Brad Falchuk, who worked with me on Nip/Tuck, we went to Kevin and Peter and Dana and Gary (Newman) and said, ‘Here’s the idea. It’s youthful.’ And I said, ‘I promise it won’t have transsexuals.’ Peter Liguori used to say, ‘Oh God, another transsexual.’ And to their credit they never said no. They were like, ‘If you believe in it, let’s try it.’ So they read it and they greenlit it within like 12 hours or something crazy. We turned it in and it tested OK. It was one of those things where some of the people in the test didn’t even realize it was a musical because it was sort of its own animal. All of those people, no matter what has been said, always believed in it.
DEADLINE: Did you pitch Nip/Tuck to the same crowd?
MURPHY: Gary and Dana no. But Peter and Kevin yes.
DEADLINE: During Nip/Tuck I know the actors would talk behind your back because I talked to some of them at the time and they were saying “he’s out of control” about some of the problems between you and the executives.
MURPHY: I think that what happened with Nip/Tuck was that I did a show and it was boundary-pushing at the time. It had a lot of sexual context. It got picked up. It did well in the ratings. And my vision was to keep pushing the boundary. And at a certain point it is the network’s job to say, ‘You can’t do that,’ and it is for me to say, ‘Tell me why. Let’s try.’ There were a lot of standards and practices issues on that show. And there was a lot of heat from the different religious groups with that show. Were there battles? Yes. Were there compromises? Yes, 100% of time. I just came from a meeting on my new show with that same group of executives. I’m really close with Peter Liguori, John Langraf, I’m really close with Kevin Riley, Peter Rice, Dana Walden. I socialize with them. They’re my friends. Those people did Nip/Tuck with me and we sort of look back on those days and we laugh. It was a hard show. I feel if you’re a showrunner, your job is to have a vision. Sometimes people don’t agree with that vision. I think that when I was younger, always in the birth of the show, it gets a little difficult. It gets a little bloody. You’re fighting for something. I, at that point, like to push it.
DEADLINE: Glee is so freakin’ successful. There’s nothing that gives you more power with TV execs than a successful business.
MURPHY: I don’t look at it that way, They’re my partners and I don’t do anything. I used to, particularly in the beginning with Nip/Tuck. I had very heated discussions about, ‘It has to be that way. This is how I see it. You have to understand.’ I don’t do that anymore. It’s no mistake that Kevin Riley and I, whenever we do a show, we have very passionate points of view. I like working with Kevin and continue to work with him because he says to me, ‘You’re full of shit. You’re wrong. You’re fucking up. Listen to what I have to say. Reshoot this scene, get the template correct, and then after Episode Six, it’s fine.’ And in every one of those cases, he’s been correct. The battles are always about the work. I think Kevin and John and Dana and Gary are all very smart and if you don’t listen to their points of view, you’re stupid. They never come with page notes. It’s like, ‘I’ve watched the show’, or ‘I’ve read the script,’ and ‘This is the 10 percent I think you can shift to make it great.’ Sometimes I’ll agree and sometimes I won’t. But that’s the deal.
DEADLINE: And the Glee deal with Fox, it was a first look. So if they hadn’t liked it, you could have gone somewhere else.
MURPHY: They were the only ones who were going to make that show. And Peter and Kevin and Dana and Gary really fought for that show. They really fought for it. I know that there were a lot of people at the company who did not like the show. On the day the show got picked up and I was at the upfronts which is a big exciting day, against all odds, one of the executives at the company came up to me and said, ‘I like the show, but it’s no Bones.’ There were people within the company who thought it would fail. There were people who fought for it, and also people like (Fox marketing head) Joe Early and (20th TV PR chief) Chris Alexander who believed in me and are to me the people who deserve a lot of credit for the success of that show. It’s very hard as an executive where much of television is exactly the same to be like, ‘This may not work, but let’s try it. Maybe it will.’ They put all their money that fall into Glee and they continue to do that.
DEADLINE: Who are the people at the company who didn’t like it?
MURPHY: I can’t say that because they’re still there.
DEADLINE: OK, I get that. Was their dislike based on its content?
MURPHY: It was never based on anything other than two things: they didn’t think people would watch it or advertisers would support it. They just thought it was too weird to work. It was never personal.
DEADLINE: Glee does have some crazy stuff in it for what’s supposed to be a teenage show.
DEADLINE: You don’t think it does? I mean, think of what you watched as a teen.
MURPHY: I think the interesting thing about that show is that it started off as a 9 o’clock show. To me the inspiration and Brad’s inspiration and Ian’s inspiration was always Election which had a really strong student and teacher story which was a satire about ambition. Our version was a little bit more heartfelt about teachers and the arts. But that’s how it started off. We never thought that it would become so popular with younger kids and it wasn’t designed for that. And it did. And then they moved it to 8 o’clock which was a risk. They said, ‘Keep doing the 9 o’clock show and don’t change what’s working.’
DEADLINE: There have been objections by the Parent’s Television Council and others.
MURPHY: Listen, I’ve screwed up in hindsight. I admit it. And Brad has admitted it as well. Brad Falchuk has two young children. I hear from mothers that I wish my kids could watch the show, but they’re too young. Ninety percent of what the show has to say is so positive, I feel stupid and bad that the 10 percent would exclude a portion of the episode. There are specific episodes where we did push it too far.
DEADLINE: Like what?
MURPHY: I think the condom demonstration was a road to far. I think showing a kid masturbating was a bridge too far. You know, when you’re creating a show you’re in the middle of it and then you hear the comments.
DEADLINE: Have you had to deal with protests over the show’s content?
MURPHY: I’ve gotten death threats, yes. I have. I think anytime you shine a spotlight on homosexuality or minorities and you try and say they are as normal or as worthy as acceptance as others, the people who are on the fringe don’t like that and they will come after you. And they have come after me. I think it’s such a great show for young kids. The values of it, I think, are great. Can we tell the same exact stories without compromising and maybe not show a person masturbating so that an 8-year-old or 10-year-old can watch it? Yes. So we try and correct ourselves at times because we listen to the audience. That’s not to say that we don’t sort of go back to some things now and again. We do.
DEADLINE: Children are exposed to lots of things these days and every parent has their own rules about what’s OK and what’s not. You clearly care about content, but it seems that concern is based on getting a bigger audience. Some people do think that the show sends the wrong message to kids.
MURPHY: I think there are storylines where I feel it launches a discussion. Every time you hear that you go too far, you also hear that ‘I was able to talk to my kid about teenage pregnancy or coming out.’ You can’t really win. But we do try. We also do things for younger kids that Dana Walden and I really love. Which is releasing all the music videos on a DVD so kids can watch them and the parents don’t have to worry about content. Because I do think those numbers are inspirational. So, we try. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we don’t.
DEADLINE: The condom episode seemed rather extreme for some parents.
MURPHY: Yes, maybe that was a step too far. But, then I think, was it such a bad thing for kids to learn about condoms? I think the network’s perspective on the show is that the audience is smarter than you think. They didn’t want to do a show that was incredibly young. They wanted to do a little envelope pushing. It wasn’t about that for us. We were just trying to stay in the air. We thought if we can get 2 million people a week to watch or 3, we’re good. Then we did the episode where Kurt tries out for the football team and comes out to his father. The show at that point really took off. I think that the episode and those performances and that writing and direction that Brad did, it became a water cooler thing. Then after that, I was so shocked that I got so much feedback. ‘That episode made me talk to my Dad.’ Or, ‘That episode showed me how to talk to my child.’ I thought so you can do entertainment and maybe do something responsible and socially relevant. That’s when I got interested in looking at the impact that we possibly can have and what can we do with that. I don’t think you want to do it every episode. I am bombarded daily by groups and children. Gays, handicapped groups, disability groups. I think that sometimes we get a bit preachy. I have felt that with the gay thing. I think sometimes we say in three sentences what we can say in one. But I think it’s a great gift when I go to those Glee concerts and and look out into the audience and see 20 people in wheelchairs who’ve been driven by their parents across three states because they see someone who looks like them who’s cool. That is an amazing unexpected gift of the show that we take very seriously. One of the things that I’m proudest of the most is that the cheerleader Becky who has down syndrome is the popular hot bitch. It’s important that those characters are not victims. Because I hear from those kids who watch the show that it means so much to them to see an outlet that portrays what they’re going through. I also think that Glee is not the real world. I’ve said it before. It’s the world I wished I lived in. It’s a good thing. You get knocked for it sometimes, but so be it. When I was growing up, I felt like I was alone and there was nobody like me. I wished I had something that even if I wasn’t brave enough to talk to my parents, that I didn’t feel alone in the journey. And I think that’s what the show hopefully does for many kids.
DEADLINE: There have been some really sad episodes like Kurt’s father dying.
MURPHY: My father was dying at the time. And my father died when we were shooting in March. And Jane Lynch’s sister’s funeral was based on my father’s funeral.That’s what happened at my father’s funeral. It was the Willy Wonka song. It’s interesting how those personal things become used. And my nieces did that for my father. I sort of walked into that and they had planned it as a secret and it was very moving. My father took me to that movie, and to hear that song and see the images of him in the slide show, it was very moving. I was glad that I could turn it into something and I’m glad that episode moved a lot of people. I just can’t watch it. I had a hard time watching it to edit it. But a lot of that father/son relationship, even though Brad writes it, is based on my father and myself. I wish that he had been that tolerant and accepting. At the end he was, but he certainly wasn’t in high school. I’m proud that maybe some kids can be accepted by their parents more easily.
DEADLINE: Glee is a liberal show based on tolerance. Do you try to stay away from using the show for political purposes?
MURPHY: One of the things that we’re doing this fall is the Jane Lynch character has a really strong arc where she is running for Congress. And she’s in the race and nothing is working. She’s coming out against deporting illegal aliens. The poll numbers are static. She decides through a series of events to speak out against the arts and suddenly her poll numbers begin to rise. That’s a conversation where you talk about what do the arts do. Her argument is valid that math and science scores in this country have never been lower so why are we giving that money here? I feel we’re having an honest discussion. Actually, behind the scenes, we do a lot of advocacy work. We have a program that we started — Dana Walden, Gary Newman, and myself — where we give money to different groups, disenfranchised groups. Especially pro-arts groups to start programs where there are none. I’m not trying to give people an answer. All I care about is: Did you watch the show? Did it entertain you? Maybe sometimes it doesn’t. I am a liberal Democrat, that’s the way it is. I’m gay. All the writers on the show that I’m aware of are that. We’ve taken jabs at Sarah Palin, and we’ve taken jabs at right-wing Christians. My thing this year is I want to do a Christian kid that we don’t make fun of. We should show that point of view. It may not be our point of view, but it’s somebody’s in the audience. We tried to do it last year and it didn’t work out. They don’t have to agree with that character’s opinions but they should respect it. That’s the idea of the character, to show all different sides. I think it would be interesting and create stories with conflict.
DEADLINE: Changing subjects, there has been some criticism of the show that you were using too many top forty songs this year and writing the show around the songs. It seemed as if the show went more commercial.
MURPHY: I feel that the second season was different from the first season in that it was bigger, bolder, more fantasy, more Top 40 hits. You write what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it and I wanted the show to expand and it did. For all the criticisms, tribute episodes are the most popular episodes.
DEADLINE: It looked, frankly, like a financial decision.
MURPHY: It was not. It was never that. No one has said, ‘Do this or do that.’
DEADLINE: It’s not that they would say it, but when you get an offer from Lady Gaga to come on the show…
MURPHY: Sure, that kind of turns your head a little bit. But I think I’ve recognized that. I love the second season and I understand the criticisms. I sort of feel that you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you change the template at all, you’ve sold out and you’re a failure. If you continue to do the same show, it’s stale and repetitive. I think the kids doing Born This Way on a show about tolerance is the perfect fit. I thought it was good and I liked that episode. I think I should say in answer to every question, ‘Sorry, we’ll try harder.’ I don’t know what else to say. That’s how I feel. When we created this show, we had no template. We were just three guys figuring it out. It was difficult to write what we were interested in and that’s what we’ve always been allowed to do. And that’s a privilege and I’m very grateful that we can do that.
DEADLINE: Do you think that you’ve mellowed with Glee?
MURPHY: Yes, I do.
MURPHY: I was not prepared for Glee to go from being a TV show to a business.
DEADLINE: Are you having trouble with the scrutiny that comes with your success now?
MURPHY: I believe in the law of physics. As much as people love you, they will then tear you down. I used to be a journalist and I get it. I get that now is my time to be kicked around a little bit. I made a lot of missteps this year. I was stupid to say, ‘Fuck you, Kings of Leon.’ It wasn’t that they turned us down for a song. It was never about that. Every day we get turned down for songs. And I respect it. If you don’t want your music interpreted by a bunch of 15-year-olds traipsing around in spandex and glitter, I get it. You’re an artist. Go with God. The thing with Kings of Leon was them saying, ‘Isn’t it cool that we turned down Glee.’ It was stupid and arrogant and I said ‘Fuck you, Kings of Leon’ and I should have never said it. I feel that started a douchey thing about me that I don’t think is true and I’m very regretful about that. I know that’s where it started. Up until then, Glee was gold. I made a mistake. Because the truth of the matter is I love that band. I screwed myself.
DEADLINE: You also ended up looking like an asshole throughout this firing controversy.
MURPHY: Twitter was bad. I was for a solid week the Anti-Christ. ‘What an asshole. He’s a dick. He doesn’t take care of his actors. He doesn’t respect his actors.’ It became a rash of bad publicity that all of us sort of had to endure. The thing that hurt me the most was to open up a website and see a headline that says, ‘Lea Michele fired. Chris Colfer fired.’ That would never happen. And I felt badly for them and I reached out to them.
DEADLINE: Generally, after the first season if a show becomes a hit, there are actor problems. You almost left Nip/Tuck because it got so bad.
MURPHY: It became a very difficult experience.
DEADLINE: Financially or creatively?
MURPHY: I always feel financially compensated. It was just an experience with a group of people who are like family. Then, suddenly, you turn around and they’re not family at all, and it’s painful.
DEADLINE: This show, Glee, is now 10 times the success of Nip/Tuck.
MURPHY: It’s a different animal. There are 14 of those kids. They’re either regulars or about to be regulars. I’m invested in their success. I’ve tried to sit with them privately and say, ‘What do you want? What do you want me to do?’ I give movie outs. I give Broadway outs. For the most part, we’re a very harmonious group. But this is what happens on a television show. You create a television show, at least I have, with material that is very specific and unusual and is destined to fail. So you create a group of people around you and say, ‘Look, this may not work, we’re all in it together, we’re trying to create something cool against all odds two times in a row.’ And it has worked and become a success. Then you have a year and a half, or two years, of, ‘Can you believe that we made this work? Isn’t this exciting? This thing that nobody thought would work?’ We’re winning Golden Globes, we’re winning Emmy awards, we’re getting movie offers. Then it becomes, sometimes, that people surround themselves with handlers — managers, publicists and agents — who talk to actors about using this success to go to the next level of a career. I think that’s fantastic. But with that comes a breaking away from the thing that made you successful in the first place. And I’ve done it, too. Then you start looking at those people that you loved and were family that you were having dinner with four nights ago and wonder what happened.
DEADLINE: Do you think that you’ll have any hold-outs in August among the cast?
MURPHY: No. I don’t think that’s happening here. Listen, I’m always for actors getting as much money as they can get. That’s not my negotiation. There are some people on the show who will be seniors this year and will graduate and who’ve come to me privately and said, ‘I don’t think television is for me,’ and ‘I don’t want to be in a series.’ I said, ‘We will write to that. If you want off, great. If you want to stay, great.’ I try to remember the pressures these kids have at 22. It’s difficult. Some of them can’t leave their houses. I try to let them know that I’ll fight for them and I do. But the studio is also incredibly generous to them.
DEADLINE: Are you doing anything specific to make sure this controversy doesn’t negatively impact the show?
MURPHY: I talked to you to set the record straight and to get the truth out so that everyone understands that the actors weren’t fired and they weren’t going to be written off the show. Hopefully, when the Glee movie comes out, this solves it. I’m very proud of the movie and think it’s very good. I hope that this solves it. There was no bad person taking these kids and getting rid of them. I believe in these kids and believe in their talent and all I was trying to do at the end of the day is have it continue. I tried to involve them in the process.
DEADLINE: What about the talk that there’s a divide between you and co-creator Brad Falchuck?
MURPHY: I think it’s part of the process. When you create something new, it’s about the material. I think that if the material becomes a success, it’s about the personalities. I’m just fucking thankful Glee is a success. I’ve just learned a lesson from this experience. I’ve learned to really really monitor what I say. Before I didn’t do that. My bad. Stupid. But I don’t think you can live in a world where you can’t tell the media anything. Particularly with what has happened with Glee. I just read an article that Glee is one of the most discussed shows on the internet between the blogs and the recaps. I think fans are excited. If I can keep them excited and involved, that’s my job.
DEADLINE: But you do have a reputation for being difficult.
MURPHY: My job is to be a showrunner or a director and to have a vision or a point of view. It’s time for Brad and me to delegate. We break the stories together. My morning is with Glee, my afternoon with the new show American Horror Story. And sometimes, because I don’t have a lot of time, do I appear gruff and taciturn? Probably, After that happens, do I feel badly? One hundred percent of the time.
DEADLINE: Do you think you are gruff?
MURPHY: I think that I’m blunt. The truth of the matter is when I read a Nikki Finke piece where she calls me ‘a megalomaniac in the making’, does it hurt my feelings? One hundred percent. It makes me stand back and say, ‘What? Am I that person? I don’t want to be that person.’ Does seeing that word in print connected to my name make me feel that I need to try harder to express myself in a gentler calmer way? Yes. Everybody wants to be liked. Do I fuck up? All the time.
DEADLINE: Is there a small megalomaniac part of you?
MURPHY: My response to that is I see something a certain way and it’s my job to do it. I’m paid to do that. I have a responsibility to Fox to do that. I was always a kid where you loved me or hated me. I’m an adult where you either love me or you hate me.
DEADLINE: Now there’s a lawsuit over Glee‘s backend.
MURPHY: The lawsuit is very simple. I was approached by a guy named Michael Novick who was a producer who handed me a script by Ian Brennan which became the show became Glee. So, I am very grateful to Michael, but my allegiance is to Ian who is the writer and creator of the show with Brad and myself. The lawsuit is not against me and I’m not involved in it.
DEADLINE: But you’ll probably be deposed in connection with it. So you are involved in it.
MURPHY: I am happy to tell the truth. Michael was given money to be a producer and paid to be a producer, and Michael was ultimately let go as a producer. Which isn’t fun. Michael had an agreement with Ian or so he says. It’s very tricky when somebody comes on board and the show is a success and then that person says, ‘I handed the script to X, thus I get a percentage of your backend.’ I call bullshit on that. I believe in the Writers Guild of America. I think that Ian and Brad and I or any creators of a show are the people who get that money. The lawsuit is between Michael and Ian, not anybody else. I support Ian.
DEADLINE: Let’s talk about your new show, the American Horror Story.
MURPHY: We call it a psycho sexual thriller. It has an amazing cast: Dylan MacDermott, Jessica Lange and Connie Britton. I always wanted to work with all those actors and I went after them and I got them. To me, it’s what I was obsessed with as a kid which were thriller horror movies. It’s my homage and tribute to movies like Don’t Look Now, The Shining, and Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a year-long 13-episode exploration of adultery. It’s about a marriage falling a part and whether the marriage can be saved. It’s very provocative. It’s called American Horror Stories because it’s about the horrors that we endure as a society. Everything. The second episode is called “Home Invasion.” It’s about all the things that we are afraid of as a culture. Brad and I are having a great time. Love the cast, love the writers. Then The Normal Heart is the thing that I’m going to do next. I optioned it and there’s a brilliant script that Larry Kramer wrote and I’m going to do that with Mark Ruffalo and maybe Julie Roberts. I believe in that play.
DEADLINE: Didn’t Will Smith want you to direct his daughter Willow in a reboot of Annie and you turned it down?
MURPHY: They are doing a movie version and I loved the idea that Jay Z was going to do the music. I met with Jay and talked to him about it. I wanted to write the script and direct it. And then American Horror got picked up. Willow is a certain age and you need a script by November. I didn’t think I could do it. So now she’s got Emma Thompson who is 50 million times better than me. LOVE HER. I wish I could have had the time to do it. The thing that was the biggest turn on for me was Jay. We talked about how we were going to set it in Detroit. I love him and Beyonce. I think they’re amazing.
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