Is ‘Meg’ From ‘Hollywood’ A Real Movie? Not Exactly
Netflix’s Hollywood is a period piece fantasy, set in the real world of Los Angeles, 1947, but centered on a situation that did not come to pass at the time. It’s being compared to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which featured the Sharon Tate murders, but with a very different outcome for the Charlie Manson gang. With so much blending of fact and fiction, it’s natural for fans to wonder what is real. For instance, is Meg from Hollywood a real movie? The story is true, but the film? Not so much. Warning: Spoilers for Hollywood follow.
When Hollywood begins, Raymond Ainsley is attempting to get a film made starring Anna May Wong, a real-life legendary Chinese-American actress from the period. When he fails, he is given script submittals to find a new project. He comes across a script called Peg, written by Archie Coleman, an aspiring African-American screenwriter.
The story behind Archie’s Peg script is real. Millicent "Peg" Entwistle was a British stage actress from Broadway who moved to Hollywood in the late 1920s to try and make it in the talkies. She only made one movie, an anthology film entitled Thirteen Women. But before it was released, Entwistle heard entire segments of the film were cut. She despaired of ever making it and committed suicide by jumping to her death off the "H" in the famous giant Hollywoodland sign.
Ironically, though several significant roles were cut, and the completed film only contained 11 of the planned 13 stories, Entwistle was not one of those removed. To this day, her legend remains, with some believing her ghost haunts the sign.
But though the initial script for Peg is based on a true story, the story of it being the basis for a hit Hollywood film is not. There has never been a film made about the life of Peg Entwistle, nor a heavily-fictionalized version of it called Meg. Ironically, Netflix’s Hollywood is the first mainstream piece of media to feature her story.
As for all those groundbreaking firsts that happen in Meg, none of them are real either. The first on-screen interracial kiss, for instance, arrived a decade later in 1957, in Island in the Sun. The first openly gay actor to win an Academy Award was John Gielgud in 1982. The first African-American woman to win Best Actress didn’t happen until this century when Halle Berry won for Monster’s Ball in 2001. The first African-American writer to win Best Original Screenplay only happened a couple of years ago, in 2017, for Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
But there was one groundbreaking thing that happened at the 20th Academy Awards, which the TV series doesn’t show. That was the year an African-American actor, James Baskett, took home an Oscar for the first time. He didn’t win; this was a "non-competitive" Honorary Academy Award for his voice work as Uncle Remus in Disney’s Song of the South.
While some of the pieces of Hollywood are true, the story of Meg is sadly all a dream.
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