'Halston' Producer Defends Casting, Creative Choices

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday May 24, 2021

"Halston" executive producer Christine Vachon reaffirmed Ewan McGregor's rightness for the titular role and defended the miniseries' depiction of the legendary fashion designer whose story it purports to tell.

In a new Insider report, Vachon called McGregor — who is straight — "absolutely the right person to play Halston and that's really what it comes down to," adding that she could not "imagine anyone else in the role" of the iconic gay designer.

That assessment, Vachon added, comes from a deep well of experience. "As somebody who's been telling these stories for many, many years, I think a lot about representation and gender and what makes a film a gay film, as opposed to a non-gay film or simply a film that has gay people in it - all of that nuance that we've been wrestling with as a community for years," she explained. When it comes to "Halston," Vachon added: "I believe we made the right decision, creatively for, our show."

As Insider noted, Vachon has produced "some of the most celebrated LGBTQ cinema in recent years, including 'Carol,' 'Boys Don't Cry,' and 'Far From Heaven.'"

Openly gay producer Ryan Murphy, who executive produced the miniseries and contributed to the writing, also addressed that issue earlier, telling Vogue, "The thing that Ewan got about Halston was that Halston had a vision in his mind of who he wanted to be in life."

Murphy added, "Ewan really connected with the pain of Halston and the longing of Halston, and how confusing it is to have to be an artist and a businessman at the same time."

But apart from any controversy around a straight actor playing a gay role, the question has also arisen of the biopic — or bio-miniseries, more accurately — taking creative liberties with the life story it's supposedly telling.

As EDGE previously reported, Halston's family has condemned the Netflix show's "inaccurate and "fictionalized" elements. "The Halston Archives and Family were not consulted," the family asserted in a statement. "The Halston Archives remains the only definitive and comprehensive source on the man and his legacy as the personally appointed custodian of his private papers and effects."

To that criticism, Vachon freely admitted that "our show has to take dramatic license, like any other show that's based on somebody's real life.

"But I feel like there are many more people who feel like it is true to his spirit - who knew him, knew who the other people in his life were - then there are people who say that it isn't true."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.