Angelyne was the quintessential star of Los Angeles in the 80s: singer, actress, style icon, and model in a series of iconic billboards that showed up all over LA starting in 1984, Angelyne was the prototype of ‘famous for being famous’ that went on to take over celebrity discourse well into the modern-day. She’s been the subject of several documentaries, including Angelyne: Billboard Queen, a feature-length documentary in which she talks about her life in her own words. Now her story is being told for a new audience, framed as a series of present-day interviews and told largely through flashbacks. Based on a Hollywood Reporter article that revealed intimate details about Angelyne’s life and identity for the first time, Angelyne is the bombshell new miniseries from Peacock that premiers on May 19, 2022.
Angelyne was created by producer, writer, and artist Nancy Oliver. Oliver is best known for producing southern-gothic vampire drama True Blood and writing for critically acclaimed quirky romantic comedy Lars and the Real Girl.
Emmy Rossum as Angelyne
Emmy Rossum stars as the titular icon, resplendent in her bottle-blonde bouffant, signature pink Camaro, and unshakeable ambition. The story begins at the flashpoint of her fame, at the commission and creation of the first billboard, one advertising neither art nor product but Angelyne herself. Rossom’s Angelyne carries herself with shameless self-assurance and sharp intelligence (and Barbie-pink style) reminiscent of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, but unlike Elle, there’s not a hint of naïveté in her. Bold, in-your-face sex appeal and commanding attention is the heart of Angelyne’s marketing strategy. While ‘sex sells’ was hardly a new concept in 1984, Angelyne turns the “sexy blonde model” concept on its head by taking control of her own image and using it to her advantage. Nothing illustrates this better than the billboard itself, in which the model stares directly at the viewer from behind dark sunglasses: thus the object becomes a subject, no longer simply an image but a person.
Emmy Rossum’s best-known previous role is that of Christine in the film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera, a role that couldn’t be more different from the ever-forthright Angelyne. More recent work includes starring in the TV series Shameless as Fiona Gallagher, the eldest daughter of a working-class family in Chicago. Coming up Rossum will be starring alongside Tom Holland and Amanda Seyfried in the first season of the anthology series The Crowded Room for Apple TV+.
Alex Karpovsky as Jeff Glasner
Alex Karpovsky co-stars as Jeff Glasner, fictional counterpart to Gary Baum, the real-life Hollywood Report journalist who uncovered Angelyne’s true identity in 2017. While he doesn’t appear in the two trailers for Angelyne, he will likely be the audience stand-in for the series. He also stands to be a controversial figure: Angelyne was always fiercely protective of her privacy and did not approve Baum’s publishing her past. Angelyne: Billboard Queen, Angelyne’s autobiographical series, is still in production, seemingly in response to Baum’s exposè. Baum is serving as a consultant on the production, so Karpovsky has his source of inspiration close at hand to draw from.
Karpovsky’s other work includes music comedy Folk Hero & Funny Guy and the chilling Rubberneck, which Karpovsky directed as well as starred in, but he’s best known for his work on HBO drama series Girls. Karpovsky had previously worked with the series’ executive producer Sam Esmail on the popular Amazon Prime Video series Homecoming where he starred alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Julia Roberts and Sissy Spacek.
Hamish Linklater as Rick Krauss
Hamish Linklater plays Rick Krauss, president of Angelyne’s fan club – and sole member, at first. His faith in Angelyne’s star power is undeniable, however, and even years later in his interview scene, Rick’s affection for her is plain and powerful to see.
Linklater also appears in the Starz limited series Gaslit, a historical drama centered on the Watergate scandal. Previous credits include Netflix’s horror series Midnight Mass and Amazon’s original drama Tell Me Your Secrets.
Lukas Gage as Max Allen
Lukas Gage plays Max Allen, guitar player in the punk band in which Angelyne sings. The two seem to have a volatile relationship and have parted on bad terms – in their interview scenes years later, Angelyne and Max tell very different versions of the story of their time together.
Gage’s other work includes the award-winning HBO Max series The White Lotus, a drama/comedy about the guests & staff of a tropical resort; and American Vandal, a Netflix true-crime satire set in an American high school. Gage will also have a role in Peacock’s forthcoming reboot of Queer As Folk.
Charlie Rowe as Freddy Messina
Charlie Rowe is the man behind the legend as Freddy Messina, Angelyne’s photographer. He’s also one of Angelyne’s first supporters, who dreams of their work together still being talked about 100 years in the future.
Rowe also appears in Elton John biopic Rocketman, Amazon Prime Video miniseries Vanity Fair, and the highly regarded Red Band Society, about gravely ill teenagers finding solidarity in their hospital’s pediatric ward.
Although his role is unnamed, Martin Freeman plays a pivotal role as the marketing executive who finances the Angelyne billboards. He’s dubious at first as Angelyne explains her vision, but the two of them soon come to a meeting of like-minded individuals: both understand the power of the image.
Freeman is best known for the titular role in The Hobbit trilogy, but his long list of credits also includes the groundbreaking Marvel title Black Panther, the wildly popular BBC drama Sherlock, and the critically acclaimed crime drama Fargo. Freeman currently stars in the FX dark comedy series Breeders, which is currently in its third season. He is also set to reprise his MCU role as Everett K. Ross in the highly anticipated sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the Disney+ limited series Secret Invasion.
‘Angelyne’ Images Reveal Emmy Rossum Living Her Best, Most Colorful Life
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