In the days following the Orlando shooting, Ryan Murphy’s phone was ringing of the hook, says The Hollywood Reporter. People in Hollywood were searching for a meaningful way to respond to the massacre at Pulse. The Hollywood Reporter says that one call came from Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin and the two “quickly crafted a plan to recruit 49 altruistic celebrities to memorialize each of the Orlando victims by reading a brief eulogy of their lives.”
They edited the clips into an 18-minute video that went live June 29.
Producer Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter:
I think the topic of gun control had become something that everybody was talking about, particularly in this community, but now I feel people are very mobilized…It’s madness that 90 percent of our country wants stricter gun control laws and yet we’re held hostage by this select group of Republicans. I think people are getting angry about it.
The list of participants included many castmembers from Murphy’s shows like Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens and the upcoming Katrina: American Crime Story. Lea Michele, Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, Cuba Gooding Jr., Sara Paulson, Angela Bassett, and Lady Gaga were some of the participants.
The project also attracted Kerry Washington, Caitlyn Jenner, Chris Pine, Laverne Cox, Rob Reiner, Sofia Vergara and others. Murphy directed the video.
Reiner, a long-time activist, expressed his frustration with the NRA to The Hollywood Reporter on set:
It’s astounding that one organization can have that much of a stranglehold on Congress. Who are we protecting here? We’re protecting gun manufacturers. It’s absolutely crazy.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the atmosphere was intimate and disarming. None of the actors brought handlers or glam squads. Most of them arrived on time and drove themselves onto the lot. The crew was less than 15 people and all part of Murphy’s regular team. They donated their time as dirotating team of hair, makeup and costume professionals.
Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden, a longtime friend and champion of Murphy’s, offered up the vacant stage. Much of whatever small bill remained was footed by Murphy.
The emotional video ends with a call to action for people to “stop the bleeding” and stop the hate by supporting the HRC.