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Lee Daniels on ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’



At the intersection of artistry and addiction, director Lee Daniels found his connection with late blues icon Billie Holiday. 

“I had to tell her story because it lived in me on so many different levels,” Daniels told The Post. “Not just as an artist, but as an artist who also struggled with addiction.”

Daniels, 61, pulls back the curtain on the troubled 1940s jazz singer’s simultaneous battles with substance abuse and the federal government in his new film, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” out Friday on Hulu. The movie stars Andra Day as Billie Holiday, who has already been nominated for two Golden Globes for the performance.

The harrowing tale of Holiday’s traumatic childhood and tumultuous life in the spotlight has been famously recounted in the 1972 classic “Lady Sings the Blues,” starring Diana Ross, and on Broadway in the musical “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” led by Audra McDonald in 2014.

But in his tribute to the legendary songstress, Daniels chose to focus less on Holiday’s troubled past, and more on her ill-fated relationship with federal agent Jimmy Fletcher.

“It’s not a biopic,” Daniels said. “It’s really an espionage love story.”

The affair started when Fletcher was tapped by openly racist Federal Bureau of Narcotics Chief Harry Anslinger to take Holiday down for her heroin use. 

But Anslinger’s true motive for targeting Holiday was to stop her from singing her anti-lynching anthem “Strange Fruit.”

‘She called out social injustice when no one else would.’

Lee Daniels

“I get chills thinking about those lyrics,” Daniels said. “They’re so powerful because she called out social injustice when no one else would.”

“Strange Fruit” was originally a poem written by Jewish high school teacher and civil rights activist Abel Meeropol in 1937. The Bronx native penned the verse after seeing a haunting picture of a double lynching, and set the words to music for Holiday to begin performing at racially integrated New York City nightclubs in 1939.

The protest song infamously exposed the violence committed by white people who murdered black Americans by hanging them from trees in the segregated South. 

Amid the spectacle of Holiday’s opioid abuse, extramarital liaisons — including an intimate relationship with actress Tallulah Bankhead — and repeated stints in jail on drug charges, the movie reaches a climax: a lynching scene, in which Holiday stumbles on a terrible crime. 

“[The lynching scene] was the hardest thing I’ve ever shot before in my life.”

Lee Daniels

“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever shot before in my life,” said Daniels, who also directed the Hollywood blockbusters “Precious” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

In the scene, Holiday wanders off of her tour bus and sees children crying in front of a burning cross, a signature of the Ku Klux Klan. Their father helplessly tries rescuing their mother as her limp body hangs from a branch. 

At that moment, Holiday vows to continue performing “Strange Fruit,” despite the FBI’s attempts to silence her. 

“She didn’t want to be a hero,” Daniels said. “She would not think of herself as a civil rights leader even though she was one. She just knew she had to sing this song.”

Daniels and Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter Suzan-Lori Parks wrapped the film before the nationwide demand for social justice, spurred by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, in 2020. Daniels said he hopes the movie inspires the Senate to pass the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, legislation that would officially designate lynching a hate crime. 

‘I want this film to open up conversations that promote change.’

Lee Daniels

“I want this film to open up conversations that promote change,” Daniels said. “If we are doing the work to address systemic racism, I think we will have a better America.”

Holiday’s call for change, “Strange Fruit,” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978, declared the “Song of the Century,” by Time in 1999 and added into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2002.

As for Daniels’ homage to the late Lady Day, who died of cirrhosis handcuffed to a hospital bed a few months before he was born in 1959, the filmmaker says she approved of the film. 

“On the last day of shooting, I dreamt I saw Ms. Holiday sitting in a 1950s car,” Daniels said. 

“I asked her, ‘Is it okay that I’m doing your movie?’ 

She said, ‘Are you going to do me right?,’ and I said, ‘I think so.’ Then she smiled.”



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James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti collab on Hulu show


It took nearly three years for “Everyone is Doing Great” to find its home.

The comedy series, available only on Hulu starting Wednesday (Jan. 13), was created by pals James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti, who co-starred on the long-running teen-angst drama “One Tree Hill” — and who used a combination of gumption and crowdfunding to ultimately land their eight-episode series on the streaming network.

“Stephen and I had wanted to collaborate for a while, we just didn’t now what that was going to be,” says Lafferty, 35, who played Nathan Scott on “One Tree Hill.” “Eventually we got to the point where we’d lived enough life and had that ‘light bulb’ moment where we went, ‘OK, this is actually kind of funny. We’re seeing these things happening around us and to us.’”

Their idea morphed into “Everyone is Doing Great,” which centers around thirtysomething actors Seth (Colletti) and Jeremy (Lafferty), five years removed from their hit vampire TV series “Eternal” and coming to terms with their lives and their relationships. For Jeremy, that includes his wife and “Eternal” co-star, Andrea (Alexandra Park). The cast also includes Cariba Heine (“Designated Survivor”) and Karissa Lee Staples (“S.W.A.T.”)

Lafferty and Colletti shot the series pilot in 2018, then turned to the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise enough money to finish shooting the next seven episodes, which took them through the late summer of 2019.

“We knew there were resources — crowdfunding and going around to some festivals and seeing if we could generate interest and financing,” says Colletti, 34 (Chase Adams on “One Tree Hill”). “We really didn’t want to leave it up to the industry — we knew we could do it ourselves the way we wanted to do it and keep the creative integrity at the heart of the show.”

"Everyone is Doing Great" centers around thirtysomething actors Seth (Colletti) and Jeremy (Lafferty), five years removed from their hit vampire TV series "Eternal" and coming to terms with their lives and their relationships.
“Everyone is Doing Great” centers around thirtysomething actors Seth (Colletti) and Jeremy (Lafferty), five years removed from their hit vampire TV series “Eternal” and coming to terms with their lives and their relationships.
Getty Images for SeriesFest

Colletti says the choice of using “Eternal” as Jeremy and Seth’s previous hit TV series made a lot of sense in setting the tone of the series.

“I would say that ‘One Tree Hill’ and the vampire series are two of the same, but different in the sense that [‘Eternal’] was something very visual, with the vampire aspects and how we thought it would be really fun to play with that,” he says. “When we have the flashback scenes with Jeremy and Seth sitting on the set in full makeup with blood dripping down their mouths, complaining that the sushi they ordered for lunch didn’t come in time…we knew that would be a little more interesting.”

Park’s appearance in the “Doing Great” pilot was brief, since she was still working on E!’s “The Royals” (she played Princess Eleanor Henstridge); once she finished shooting that show’s fourth season she was back on board.

"Everyone is Doing Great" is available only on Hulu starting Wednesday (Jan. 13).
“Everyone is Doing Great” is available only on Hulu starting Wednesday (Jan. 13).
Hulu

“I’d say she’s strong-willed and no-nonense, for sure,” she says of Andrea. “What drew me to her was that she’s an interesting girl who’s set the bar quite high for herself and finds herself in a very difficult position. Andre has gone straight from ‘Eternal’ to finding success in another show almost immediately and is having all these problems in her marriage, with Jeremy spiraling into a stage she sees as beneath her on the surface because she’s a bit of a perfectionist and control freak.

“We all struggle with that need for control and perfectionism and she starts to realize that’s not really the key to happiness,” she says. “She learns a lot about herself and her choices and what’s important to her…and we see her unravel in that way.”

Lafferty and Colletti say they had shows including “Dol & Em,” “Catastrophe” and “The Trip” in mind as they were constructing the series.

“When people read the logline they think it’s similar to ‘Entourage’…but we didn’t want it to feel so aspirational and fun,” Lafferty says. “We wanted the humor to come from the awkwardness…those little moments where it seems like nothing’s happening but everything’s happening.”

“It’s about trying to look around and re-evaluate your life — how did I get here? Where am I going? — and being honest with yourself,” Colletti says. “The big arc for our characters this season is trying to figure it all out, adjusting from there and finding new growth.”



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Charli D’Amelio Is Getting A Hulu Series


Way longer than your typical TikTok.


Monica Schipper / Getty Images

Charli’s increasingly everywhere, and you’re about to see even more of her: Variety reports that the entire D’Amelio family is getting a Hulu docuseries that will follow their day-to-day happenings.


Jason Kempin / Getty Images

The eight-episode series The D’Amelio Show is set to air some time in 2021, and Variety claims it will follow the whole fam as they “navigate their sudden rise to fame, all the while still staying true to their family values.”

Along with Charli navigating the highs and lows of massive fame, the show will also follow Dixie as she pursues a music career in Los Angeles, as well as parents Marc and Heidi’s attempts to “protect their girls from the dark side of fame, while also finding their place in the spotlight.”

In a statement, Marc D’Amelio said, “We’ve always been a very close family, but this experience has brought us even closer and we’re really excited to share a glimpse of our lives with the world.”

“Many people create impressions of us based off of short content, a few minutes or even seconds. But now, we’re looking forward to sharing a side that you likely don’t get to see on our social channels.”

It’ll be fascinating, to say the least, to witness what goes on behind the scenes for one of the most famous teenagers on the internet.

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The Kardashians Are Headed to Hulu With Multi-Year Deal in 2021


The Kardashians are moving to Hulu.

Following the news that Keeping Up With the Kardashians will air its 20th and final season on E! in 2021, Hulu announced on Thursday, Dec. 10 that the family will create exclusive content for the streaming service after the hit E! series’ ending next year.

The multi-year deal was announced during Disney’s Investor’s Day today.

“Announced today at Disney’s Investor Day, Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie will create global content, which will stream exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. and in multiple territories on Star internationally,” the company shared. “Expected debut is late 2021 and additional details will be shared when available.”

“Excited to announce our new multi year partnership with Hulu and Star and what’s to come in 2021 @hulu,” Kris Jenner tweeted about the news while Kourtney Kardashian added, “#HULU2021.”

Back in September, E! and the Kardashian-Jenner family announced KUWTK would end after it’s 20th season in 2021.





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Dining News

How the Show ‘Eater’s Guide to the World’ on Hulu Was Made 


What if you could turn a map… into a TV show? That was one of the big ideas with Eater’s Guide to the World: taking the many, many maps published on Eater and bringing them to life — to see the food up close, go inside the kitchens, meet the people making it all, and explore the neighborhood and city that make each dish unique to that place.

The result was a colorful, mouth-watering journey that took a ton of behind-the-scenes work to make. Now that the show’s live on Hulu (you can stream all seven episodes here), we brought a few members of the production team together to tell us how the sausage (and soba and pastilla and Hawaiian fried chicken) got made, for the latest edition of Eater Talks. Below are lightly edited excerpts, as well as a full video recording of the conversation.

It took nearly two years to make.

Maureen Giannone Fitzgerald, production executive, Vox Media Studios: “The show was two years in the making — Eater pitched the series in late 2018 and was thrilled to eventually get the green-light from Hulu. We began production a year later… and soon after we began to build out our show team.”

It was essential that the diverse food and “characters” drive the show, not a host.

Lauren Cynamon, executive producer: “When we approached this, we actually watched a lot of narratives and talked about how it would be fun to do a narrative food show.”

Alex Craig, director: “The fact that there was no host and instead it was character-driven was really appealing to me.”

Giannone Fitzgerald: “That was one of the biggest luxuries of working on this kind of un-hosted series: The characters and the places truly became our guiding light and we were able to really diversify the show wherever we went.”

Nicola Linge, supervising producer: “We really wanted stories that hadn’t been told or locations that hadn’t been highlighted in food television. Like when we talking about Morocco — Marrakech, Fez, Sahara desert had all been covered, but no one had really touched upon Casablanca. And Casablanca is such a diverse and mixed city of different cultures, so we really wanted to dive into that different perspective, of it being a place we have seen before but a different story and different take.”

Some of the filming was… pretty intense.

Giannone Fitzgerald: “Think back to the the coldest and rainiest week in December. That was our first shoot, in New York, and it was a pretty untraditional one because the team just jumped right in — no pilots, no practice shoots — and filmed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.”

Craig: “The weather was freezing and I was just trying to get acclimatized to New York and the whole reality that we’d be shooting just nights for the week… but I actually really enjoyed it. I think shooting at nights was a lot better than expected. Big cities in the middle of the night, in that four- or five-hour timeframe, is such a weird vibe anyway. So I thought it was a great concept, focusing on what you can eat at that time.”

Cynamon: “I think you’d get to the first location at 3:00 in the morning, so by the time you were setting up for another one, it was 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m…. But I thought it was really fun. When else do you get to hang out for five days straight and document those hours of the day? It felt like a really New York experience that now I long for so much.”

The onset of COVID-19 forced many plans to change.

Giannone Fitzgerald: “In March 2020, when our world literally came to a halt, we’d shot seven episodes at that point.”

Craig: “There were three more episodes planned that got cancelled, right?”

Linge: “And we were in the middle of filming one, and the crew got sent home.”

Cynamon: “We had a shoot in Budapest that had to be cancelled. We were doing stuff in Toronto, New Mexico; and we were going to go to Singapore and Tokyo that we had to move because of COVID, even before it hit in NYC…

When we first closed down production, we all had a debrief: What did this mean for the world? What did this mean for restaurants? We took a decent chunk of time off to wrap our heads around how are we going to tell this really celebratory story on these places, when COVID just happened? What does the voice need to be? And then also, how do you [remotely] spread out seven edit stations and keep the creative juices flowing?”

Sydney Mondry, narration producer: “When editing the show, we didn’t mention [COVID-19] outright, but it was top of our minds the entire time — especially with the ‘taking off’ airports episode, which was such a doozy as you can imagine. We were trying to sort of allude to how much [coronavirus had changed things], like saying, ‘Traveling is even more difficult right now…’ and using some of that language without saying ‘It’s COVID time,’ because we wanted the show to be sort of timeless. It was definitely a challenge.”

Maya Rudolph’s narration came from a carefully crafted script.

Giannone Fitzgerald: “When Maya signed on to be our narrator, it was a get we didn’t see coming.”

Mondry: “I cowrote her script with a bunch of very talented people. We were all very big Maya fans before we came to the show, so I think we had a pretty good idea of what she sounded like and her mannerisms. But she also plays a lot of characters, so we had to decide: What does this Maya character sound like? Lauren [Cynamon] had said early on that she was going for this all-seeing, cheeky storyteller [for the narration], and she kept referencing the cartoon rooster from the beginning of the Robin Hood movie — which luckily, I found on YouTube and could reference. So I think that really helped us begin to shape it.

Then we actually started recording with Maya before we had finished writing all the episodes, so we were able to hear how she was reading and tweak the scripts to accommodate the narrator that she had created separately.”

Cynamon: “We couldn’t have envisioned a better person to narrate. She’s just the funniest, the nicest, great to work with, and just feels like a true friend bringing you along the way. She’s also just as food-obsessed as we are and wants to talk about it.

Also, she would be talking about all this amazing food all day [when narrating] and she’d be like, ‘I am starving.’”

Giannone Fitzgerald: “Yeah, we had to food-ferry Maya a little bit and give her some of the treats along the way.”

Watch the entire panel conversation:




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How to Watch ‘Eater’s Guide to the World,’ Now Streaming on Hulu


Eater’s Guide to the World takes viewers on a wild trip through some of the planet’s most awe-inspiring food scenes, from Tijuana to the Pacific Northwest to Casablanca, and beyond. The premiere season’s seven episodes showcase a whole new, delicious side of the culinary destinations you think you know — and a few of the ones you don’t. (Who knew you could eat this well at the airport?)

Here’s how to watch:

All seven episodes of Eater’s Guide to the World begin streaming on Hulu at midnight on Wednesday, November 11. Watch them all right now, here, or stream the whole season on your preferred device. Then come back to Eater for exclusive content, recipes, explainers, features, and more coming soon!

Here’s what to expect:

Dining Alone in the Pacific Northwest
The best part of dining solo? You can focus on what deserves your attention most: the food. Time to eat your way through the Pacific Northwest, savoring all the juicy pork steak, soba noodles, and piping-hot fried chicken.

A Cultural Oasis in Casablanca
No cool friend would let you skip Casablanca while on a trip to Morocco. This can’t-miss port city boasts snails, traditional pastilla, and unreal tagine — you’ve gotta taste it all.

The Ass Crack of Dawn in New York City
You know you don’t have to go home, right? There’s a whole world in New York City after last call. Dig into Korean barbecue or grab some empanadas to keep the good times rolling.

Jungle to Table in Costa Rica
The Costa Rican jungle is basically nature’s candy store — bursting with delicious guanabana, cainito, cas, pejibaye, and, of course, cacao — and we’d like to invite you in. These juicy treats are drip-down-to-your-elbows good.

Eating on the Hood of Your Car in LA
Your long-ass commute in LA just got better. In between the red lights, stop for hot chicken, fresh bread, museum-worthy bento boxes, and more.

Finding Roots in Tijuana
Tijuana is as much a place for locals as it is for newcomers. So don’t be shy — try the craft beer, birria, Caesar salad (trust us), and more. You’ll be glad you did.

Taking Off in America
Just beyond the departure terminals of JFK, DCA, ATL, MIA, and LGB, you’ll find smoky barbecue, sweet ’n’ fluffy pancakes, and spicy jerk wings that are worth a second trip through security.




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Here’s the coolest stuff to watch on Labor Day 2020


Barbecues and far-flung vacations might be iffy this Labor Day — but, luckily, TV can still take you on a journey from the comfort of your couch.

From old favorites to new releases and specials, here’s what to watch on the small screen on The Big Day.

The latest in Disney’s live-action adaptations of its classic cartoon films, this version of “Mulan” hews closer to the original Chinese folklore and cuts the animated version’s music numbers such as “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” The result is a gritty war epic following a young girl (Yifei Liu) who disguises herself as a man to fight for her country so that her ill father doesn’t have to. It has a premium fee of $29.99 if you want to watch it now, or you can wait until December and watch it at no extra cost to your regular Disney+ subscription.

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Netflix)

Written, directed, and produced by auteur Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) and based on a novel of the same name, this new psychological horror film follows an unnamed woman (Jessie Buckley) who considers breaking up with her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) amidst the backdrop of increasingly surreal events.

Jessie Buckley stars in Netflix's "I'm Thinking of Ending Things."
Jessie Buckley stars in Netflix’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.”Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX

“Madagascar: A Little Wild: Part 1” (Hulu)

The latest entry in the animated “Madagascar” franchise follows animal pals Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo when they were kids in the Central Park Zoo

“Employee of the Month” (Amazon)

If you’re looking for your entertainment to be Labor Day-themed, this 2006 comedy follows Zack Bradley (Dane Cook), who’s on a quest to become the employee of the month at the retail store in which he works.

Dane Cook wants accolades in "Employee of the Month."
Dane Cook wants accolades in “Employee of the Month.”Lions Gate/Everett Collection

“Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne” (A&E, 9 p.m.)

All aboard the “crazy train.” This 2-hour special looks at the life and antics of rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, 71, covering his childhood in poverty, his time in “Black Sabbath,” his solo career and his entry into fatherhood.

Ozzy Osbourne in 1989
Ozzy Osbourne in 1989Everett Collection

“Devil’s Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren” (Travel Channel, 9 p.m.)

This 2-hour special follows the couple who inspired the “Conjuring” horror films. For over 50 years (mostly in the 1970s and ’80s), the duo were paranormal investigators examining hauntings such as the real “Amityville Horror” house. Their daughter and son-in-law, Judy and Tony Spera, appear in this special.

“The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever!”(ABC, 8 p.m.)

The season finale of “The Bachelor” recap series looks at Juan Pablo Galavis’ stint in Season 18, which aired in 2013, to gear up for “The Bachelorette,” premiering Oct 13. Starring Clare Crawley, who was in Galavis’ season.

Clare Crawley and Juan Pablo Galavis in "The Bachelor."
Clare Crawley and Juan Pablo Galavis in “The Bachelor.”ABC

“Pool Boy Nightmare” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.)

If you’re in the mood for a tawdry, cheesy movie, this one’s out just in time to ring in the end of summer. The suspense thriller follows Gale (Jessica Morris), a divorced woman who gets involved with her pool boy Adam (Tanner Zagarino) — only to have events spiral out of control as Gale tries to end it and Adam becomes obsessed. Of course he does.

“Back to the Future” (Netflix)

All three “Back to the Future” movies are currently on Netflix, so why not make it a marathon? Follow Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) on his travels through time thanks to his eccentric friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd).

Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox in a scene from "Back to the Future."
Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox in a scene from “Back to the Future.”Universal/Everett Collection

“Miss Congeniality” (HBO Max)

This Sandra Bullock classic fits a Labor Day theme — if you squint. It follows FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart (Bullock) on an undercover mission at a beauty contest, as she goes above and beyond in the course of doing her job.

Sandra Bullock gets glam in the 2000 film "Miss Congeniality."
Sandra Bullock gets glam in the 2000 film “Miss Congeniality.”Warner Brothers/Everett Collection



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Zoë Kravitz Criticizes Hulu for Its Lack Of Diversity After High Fidelity Cancellation


Zoë Kravitz hit all the right notes on Instagram.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Hulu’s High Fidelity television show wouldn’t return for a second season. Zoë, who played the lead role and told the story through a female perspective, said goodbye to the series in an Instagram post on Wednesday, August 5.

However, the 31-year-old star didn’t hold back when Tessa Thompson commented on her farewell message. If anything, the High Fidelity lead called out Hulu for its lack of diversity.

“I will miss you alllllllllllll so much” Tessa wrote, to which Zoë replied, “@tessamaethompson it’s cool. at least hulu has a ton of other shows starring women of color we can watch. oh wait.”

Zoë’s followers reacted to her response with supportive messages. “I STAN THIS QUEEN,” one user shared. Another chimed in, “SPEAK ON IT SIS.”

One fan expressed, “This is why their decision was so nonsensical! Cancelling [sic] this show, taking away this nuanced portrayal of a woman of color …one of their worst decision. Btw, where was the promo? I only found out about this show by stumbling upon an article online.”



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‘Eater’s Guide to the World’ Premieres This Fall on Hulu


Hulu Original Eater’s Guide to the World, a food-and-travel series produced by Eater and Vox Media Studios, will celebrate some of the world’s most storied culinary destinations when it debuts on the streaming service this November. Emmy-nominated actress Maya Rudolph will provide narration.

Each of the seven episodes in this season invite the viewer along on a singular quest — whether in search of the best bite for when you’re on-the-go, or finding dining destinations in the dim hours before dawn — at different locations around the world. Season 1 includes stops in Casablanca, Tijuana, New York City, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, Miami, DC, the Pacific Northwest, and Atlanta.

In the current and impossibly difficult time for the industry, the series provides us a tremendous opportunity to celebrate restaurants and the beloved talents behind them. It’s a reminder to the world of what we lose when restaurants shutter, with a hopeful eye toward the future. And it’s the ultimate love letter to eating.

Stay tuned for more information about our premiere season on Hulu and Eater’s coverage of the series — including maps, recipes, and more of those restaurants featured in each episode — starting November 11.



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Christopher Meloni takes it to the ‘Maxxx’ in new Hulu comedy



Christopher Meloni shows a completely different side of himself in “Maxxx,” Hulu’s six-episode comedy series created by star O-T Fagbenle.

Meloni, 59, plays Don Wild, the flamboyant, coke-snorting, sex-fueled record exec who takes a second chance on Maxxx (Fagbenle), a washed-up boy-band singer attempting a precipitous comeback.

Meloni and Fagbenle previously worked together on Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in which Fagbenle plays Luke, June’s (Elisabeth Moss) husband who fled to Canada to escape dystopian Gilead. Meloni guest-starred in Season 3 as Commander Winslow.

Meloni, who’s back this fall as Elliot Stabler in the NBC spinoff “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” spoke to The Post about playing Don Wild … and his fear of long fingernails.

Did your connection to O-T Fagbenle factor into your role on “Maxxx”?

There was no connection. I guess I never even brought it up. He was like, “I’ve just been a fan and your name came up and everybody was like, ‘Oh, man, that would be great.’” I’m always surprised when that happens. I don’t know that they see in me, but God bless ’em for their vision (laughs).

Was Don based on anyone you know?

He was built out of whole cloth, but one of the pictures I had in my mind was … [British-born New York club owner] Peter Stringfellow. I actually worked at his club as a bartender in the late ’80s before it was a strip joint. He always struck me as a little bit of a Peter Pan guy, someone who thought of himself as a 26-year-old trapped in a 65-year-old’s body. Don is a little more of an erratic, crazier guy.

Did you have input into Don’s accoutrements?

He was originally written as guy in his 70s and I had a lot of questions right out of the gate like, “Have I not aged that well?” O-T said, “No, your name just came up” and they decided to throw [Don’s age] out the window. I came up with the perpetual tan thing — I think we’ve all seen that — and I came up with Don’s earring. I had my ears pierced a thousand years ago and [the piercing holes] were actually still open. I couldn’t believe it; I was fully prepared to get my ears re-pierced.

The costume designer was amazing and put the accoutrements together to give Don that Bono-type flair.  O-T and the director said, “We see a goatee thing” and I said, “OK, I’m fine with that, but it has to be dyed” — you know, that Las Vegas dye job where it’s like, “I’m going to continue to keep this mirage alive — I’m wrinkly but just look at my tan.”  I still don’t understand what this means but I grew my fingernails long, and that had a huge effect on everything else. It nearly drove me crazy. I like my fingernails short and it was such a mind-f–k. I was laughing at myself the whole time, like, “Really dude? You’re growing out your nails? Isn’t that mentally traumatic for you?” I didn’t touch my nails for three months, only filed them to make them look nice. I brought my acoustic guitar to London, but my nails became so long I couldn’t play it — they kept hitting the fret board.

Season 1 ends on an open-ended note. Any chance the series will return?

That’s a question for O-T, but I’ve already begged him. I love London, and I loved working on it.



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