Ryan Murphy is a name synonymous with some of the most successful TV shows of our time. His work on Glee, American Horror Story, and American Crime Story has won critical acclaim and made him one of the most sought-after talents in Hollywood. But long before he became the creator of some of television’s biggest hits, Murphy had to fib about his astrological sign to land a job with one of pop culture’s biggest icons: Madonna.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Murphy recounted the time he pretended to be a Libra instead of his actual Scorpio sign to impress the Material Girl. Murphy had just moved to Los Angeles from Indiana and was working as a journalist for small publications. He was eager to land a gig that would allow him to work on bigger projects and make a bigger impact in the entertainment industry.
At the time, Madonna was casting for her directorial debut, a film called “Truth or Dare.” Murphy heard about the casting call and decided to try his luck. He was brimming with ideas and creativity, but he knew he needed to make an impression to get noticed by the pop star.
“I remember being in the waiting room and seeing all these cool people, like Debbie Harry and Sandra Bernhard,” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I had on, like, a green corduroy suit that my mom had gotten me. I looked dorky and uncool, but I had confidence.”
When it was finally Murphy’s turn to meet with Madonna, he knew he had to make a good first impression. In an unlikely move, Murphy decided to lie about his zodiac sign. Scorpio is known for being intense and passionate, but Murphy figured Libra might come off as more fun and easygoing. He wasn’t sure if Madonna was into astrology, but he decided to hedge his bets.
“I lied and said I was a Libra,” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think she wanted a Libra because she was a Leo. She was into astrology, I knew that, so I thought I’d give her what she wanted.”
Murphy’s plan worked. Madonna hired him as a second unit director for the documentary-style film, and Murphy got to work alongside one of the biggest stars in the world. He quickly learned that the Queen of Pop was every bit as fascinating and demanding as he had heard.
“She was the hardest-working person I had ever seen,” Murphy said of working with Madonna. “She was so well-prepared and so detail-oriented. She was very bossy, but in a great way. She knew what was on her plate, and she knew how to run a set. It was an incredible experience.”
Although Murphy was excited to be working on “Truth or Dare,” he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was in over his head. He had virtually no directing experience, and he was working with a bunch of seasoned professionals. But he wasn’t going to let fear or doubt hold him back. He would go on to direct music videos for the likes of Cheryl Crow and Justin Timberlake and eventually create and helm his own shows.
Looking back on his early days in Hollywood, Murphy said he never imagined he would become as successful as he is today. He credits a lot of his success to his willingness to take risks and put himself out there, even if it means telling a little white lie about his astrological sign.
“It was a Hail Mary on my part, but it worked,” Murphy said of his fib to Madonna. “Sometimes you have to bend the truth a little to get the job done.”