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Halston: Who's Who in Ryan Murphy's New Netflix Series

The famed fashion designer's life was populated with some incredibly glamorous stars. Here's who's plays who.
  • Top row: Ewan McGregor, Krysta Rodriguez, Bill Pullman; Bottom row: Rory Culkin, Vera Farmiga.
    Top row: Ewan McGregor, Krysta Rodriguez, Bill Pullman; Bottom row: Rory Culkin, Vera Farmiga.

    The latest Netflix project from uber creator Ryan Murphy is a five-episode limited series on the life and career of the famed fashion designer and mononym Halston. The onetime designer for Bergdorff Goodman — where he designed the famous pillbox hat that Jackie Kennedy wore at her husband's inauguration — became a fashion brand in his own right, becoming synonymous with women's fashion in the 1960s and '70s and especially the New York nightlife scene at Studio 54. If this sounds like it would be right up Ryan Murphy's alley, you would be correct. But what kind of star-studded cast did he attract to roles such as Halston, Liza Minnelli, and Joel Schumacher?

    Ewan McGregor as Halston

    In the role of Halston himself is Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, who's making his first appearance in a Ryan Murphy production. McGregor first broke through in the films of Danny Boyle, specifically Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. He famously played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels, fell in pop-star love with Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge!, and most recently played the grown-up Danny Torrance in Doctor Sleep. He was also nominated for an Emmy in 2017 for his dual role performance as twins on Fargo.

    Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli

    One of the limited set of entertainers famous enough to be known merely by their first name, Liza Minnelli is the Academy Award-winning daughter of the great Judy Garland. Liza was great friends with Halston, and the two of them were synonymous with the New York City nightclub/Studio 54 scene in the late '70s. She's one of the most colorful, interesting, and messy characters of her era. In Halston, she's played by Broadway actress Krysta Rodriguez, who is probably most well known for her role as Karen Cartwright's best friend on NBC's musical disasterpiece Smash. Rodriguez made her mark on the stage in the original Broadway productions of Spring Awakening and In the Heights, as well as originating the role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family musical. She also had a main role on the too-short-lived NBC sitcom Trial and Error.

    Rebecca Dayan as Elsa Peretti

    French model/actress Rebecca Dayan has appeared in such movies as the Rashida Jones/Andy Samberg romance Celeste and Jesse Forever, the Elle Fanning modeling-world horror The Neon Demon, and as a nun in the indie drama Novitiate. In Halston, she plays famed jewelry designer Elsa Peretti, who got her start as a "Halstonette," one of Halston's most favored models. She became a longtime friend of the designer and, along with the likes of Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, and Andy Warhol, became one of the mainstays at Studio 54.

    Bill Pullman as David Mahoney

    No matter what else happens in his career, Bill Pullman will always have the climactic speech at the end of Independence Day, where he played the heroic President of the United States. Beyond that, Pullman has enjoyed a long and successful career, one that's included roles like Sandra Bullock's love interest in While You Were Sleeping, the Han Solo analogue in Spaceballs, and Meg Ryan's doomed fiancé in Sleepless in Seattle. More recently, he starred on all three seasons of the crime drama The Sinner. In Halston, Pullman plays David Manhoney, the businessman attempting a corporate takeover of the Halston brand.

    Gian Franco Rodriguez as Victor Hugo

    Not to be confused with the 19th century French author, this Victor Hugo was an artist and a professional window dresser for the Halston storefront on Madison Avenue in New York City. He was also Halston's romantic partner. He's played by Gian Franco Rodriguez, who's making his television debut with Halston.

    Rory Culkin as Joel Schumacher

    Film director Joel Schumacher, who died this past June at age 80, was the man behind such popular films as Flatliners, The Lost Boys, Batman Forever (the one with Nicole Kidman), and Batman & Robin (the one with nipples on the batsuit). Schumacher befriended Halston in the 1960s and helped him launch his own brand. In the miniseries, he's played by Rory Culkin, who's worked in film since he was an actual baby. The younger brother of actors Macaulay and Kieran Culkin, he had a breakthrough role in his own right opposite Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo in You Can Count on Me. He played Mel Gibson's asthmatic son in Signs, won an Independent Spirit Award as part of the cast of Mean Creek, and played an AV-obsessed teen in Scream 4. Most recently, he starred on Showtime's City on a Hill and the miniseries Waco.

    Kelly Bishop as Eleanor Lambert

    (photo: Gilmore Girls)

    Eleanor Lambert was a notable American publicist who lived to be 100 years old. In life, she was incredibly influential on the fashion industry and New York fashion in particular, having founded both New York Fashion Week and the Met Gala. She's played by Kelly Bishop, the stage and screen actress best known for playing Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. Her other well-known roles range from Dirty Dancing to Bunheads, and she also originated the role of Sheila in the Broadway production of A Chorus Line, for which she won a Tony Award.

    Vera Farmiga as Adele

    Academy Award-nominated actress Vera Farmiga plays the role of Adele in Halston. Farmiga's critical breakthrough was her role as a drug addict in the Debra Granik film Down to the Bone, for which she won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for Best Actress. She also earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role opposite George Clooney in Up in the Air. She was caught between mobsters Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in The Departed, and played the mother of Norman Bates in the A&E series Bates Motel, although she is likely best known for her role as paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in the Conjuring movies.

    Halston drops on Netflix Friday May 14th.

    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Halston (2021 series), Netflix, Bill Pullman, Ewan McGregor, Gian Franco Rodriguez, Kelly Bishop, Krysta Rodriguez, Rebecca Dayan, Rory Culkin, Ryan Murphy, Vera Farmiga