Ryan Murphy Has Big Plans for Pandemic Superstar and Human Delight Leslie Jordan

The character actor has become an Instagram sensation in recent weeks, and his old pal and superproducer has a new role in mind
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Until recently, 65-year-old Leslie Jordan was largely known for his turn as Beverley Leslie, the wildly funny arch nemesis to Megan Mullally’s rich bitch Karen Walker on Will & Grace. Then when COVID-19 struck back in March, Jordan packed up and headed from L.A. to Tennessee, home to his mother and sisters, snagged an Airbnb, and continued making his hilarious confessional-style Instagram videos, but with a bewildered, quarantine twist.

In the span of about seven weeks, Jordan went from 80,000 Instagram followers to 4.2 million. His signature, drawl-drenched “What’re y’all doin?” became the mantra of the coronavirus era. He throws in the occasional workout video too.

“I’d do an exercise video because there are so many gay men with these perfect abs and they do exercise videos,” he recently told The Advocate, which featured him on their April digital cover. “So I did an exercise video where my stomach looked like my water’s about to break.”

His new cadre of social media fans aside, Jordan counts prolific producer Ryan Murphy among his admirers. Jordan has appeared in three seasons of Murphy’s American Horror Story franchise—including as actor Ashley Gilbert playing medium Cricket Marlowe in a hilarious Village of the Damed-style wig in Roanoke—and, as Murphy let slip this past weekend, the megaproducer has further plans for his friend.

On Instagram, Murphy said that he’s writing a project that will star Jordan and Dylan McDermott, who’s delightfully sleazy as a pimp on Murphy’s new Netflix series Hollywood. “Should it be a romance? A buddy comedy? A heist movie?” Murphy asked. “All I know is Leslie is going to be fabulously wealthy in it, and Dylan will have a backstory as a former masseur.”

 

McDermott subsequently told People that his dream for the project is that Jordan plays a character who’s “completely straight” and he plays one who’s “completely gay.”

Of course, all film and television production is at a total standstill right now, so who knows when we’ll get a peek at this delicious-sounding new Murphy project. Meanwhile, we’ll get to see more of Jordan in a new Fox project called Call Me Kat, in which he stars as the owner of a cat cafe alongside Mayim Bialik and Swoosie Kurtz.

His Instagram might be good for a laugh in a rotten time, but in The Advocate interview, Jordan gets serious when discussing the COVID-19 pandemic, referring back to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s: “We figured out as a community of gay people, we have to take care of our own. I was there when APLA was started in somebody’s living room. Project Angel Food was started at the church at Fairfax and Fountain. What we came out of that as a community was, we were kinder to each other. I’m hoping that the whole world, having gone through something like this, is going to come out of all of this kinder.”

He added, “We’ll hunker down, and we’ll figure it out, and we’ll get through it.”

From his mouth to god’s ears. With a little help from his Instagram, which provides some welcome distraction.


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