Ryan Murphy says he contacted Jeffrey Dahmer’s friends, family on series – The Hollywood Reporter

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Creator Ryan Murphy said he and his team reached out to the families and friends of 20 victims over the course of three and a half years to research and prepare for the Netflix series about the serial killer.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for a very long time,” Murphy said at an event for a performance at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday. “And we, during the three, three and a half years when we actually wrote it, worked on it, we reached out to 20, about 20 families and friends of the victim trying to get input, tried to talk to everyone and no one responded to us in the process. So we depend a lot on our incredible team of researchers who… I don’t even know how they found so much of this. But it feels like a day and night effort for us to try to uncover the truth of these people.”

Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer brutally murdered 17 men. According to the program description, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a series that exposes these unscrupulous crimes, revolving around underserved victims and their communities affected by systemic racism and institutional failures by the police. allowed one of America’s most notorious serial killers to continue his killing spree for more than a decade. Despite its stated goals, the show has been criticized for focusing too much on Dahmer’s horrifying behavior and framing the stories of its victims.

Additionally, the series received backlash from the victim’s family, some of whom accused the streamer and the team for not contacting them. Rita Isbell, sister of Errol Lindsey, who was murdered by Dahmer at the age of 19, has criticized the streaming giant for profiteering in the tragic story. Shirley Hughes, the mother of Tony Hughes, who was in a relationship with Dahmer before he was murdered, said the series dramatized her son’s story. But Murphy and Paris Barclay, who directed episodes 6 and 10, say the show aims to make victims a statistic.

“One thing that we talked about a lot during the making of it was that we weren’t too interested in Jeffrey Dahmer, the human, but what made him the monster he became,” Murphy said. explain. “We talked a lot about that… and we talked about it all the time. It’s really about white privilege. It’s about systemic racism. It’s about homophobia. ”

“We really wanted it to be about celebrating these victims,” added Barclay. “When Tony wrote ‘I won’t disappear’ on that last card, that’s what this show is all about. It’s about making sure these people aren’t wiped out by history and that they have a place, they’re recognized and they matter, and they’ve lived life to the fullest. And they come from all sorts of different places, but they’re real people. “

He continued, “They are not just numbers. They are not just pictures on billboards and telephone poles. They are real people with families that love, breathe, live and hope. That’s what we want it to be. “

Rodney Burford plays Tony Hughes on the show, and through an interpreter said, “You see that Dahmer is just killing people left and right, no emotion, no remorse. However, then Tony shows up. He is deaf. He is black, like all the odds are against him. However, Jeff still liked him compared to the others, and they made a connection. I’ve got Evan [Peters]and I’ve got everyone supporting me, so seeing that reflected on Netflix is ​​great. “

Niecy Nash, who plays Glenda Cleveland, Dahmer’s neighbor who repeatedly tried to alert the police about Dahmer’s murders but was always ignored, questioned why no memorials had been set up. for the victims.

“Anything we can do to make that happen, you know, I would even be happy to pay for it myself,” agreed Murphy. “I think there should be something. And we’re trying to get people talking about that. I think there was some objection because they thought the park would attract people interested in paying homage to the macabre…but I thought something should be done.”

Peters and Murphy previously worked together on American Horror Story, and Peters has expressed that he wants to play someone “normal” and maybe do a rom-com, Murphy explained. He said that after auditioning about 100 people for the role of Dahmer, he went to Peters with the script. “He called me the next day, and he said, ‘What a challenge. It was so hard that I had to say yes to it, even though I was terrified of it. ”

Peters told of his process of wrapping up Dahmer, saying that he read all of the books and articles on the killer as well as psychological reports, confessions and timelines “to try to understand why. why he did what he did and the struggle he had with it. “

He added: “Then the physicality of it, which I know is going to be difficult. He has a lot of things outside from the way he walks, he doesn’t move his hands when he walks and talks. And so I did a lot of research about tracking him and seeing how he moved and worked with the weights in my hands, wearing a wardrobe, all of these things that I would carry around all day trying to try to stay in it so it will be. second nature. And then I created a 45-minute audio compilation, which I listen to every day to try to understand his dialect and how he speaks and really try to understand why he does what he does. what he does or thinks. “

Peters was so ingrained in the process that Nash said she didn’t even really know about the actor on set.

“I don’t know Evan, because Evan was in his process,” Nash said. “So, you know, as his nosy neighbor, and a thorn in his flesh, we weren’t really connected. I thought maybe we said good morning twice? Because I forced it… I realized, [I have to] stay in my lane because I don’t want to mess up your process and what you need to do to stay where you need to stay. ”

The show hit number one on Netflix in its first week of release, and Murphy says that sometime in the next few days it will surpass 1 billion hours streamed.

“I don’t know how this became a phenomenon,” Nash said. “But what I hope is that wherever her spirit lives in the universe, Glenda Cleveland finally feels heard.”

Netflix aired episode six of the show before the Q&A. Writer David McMillan was in the stands.


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