When the cast of American Horror Story: Hotel were on a panel with creator Ryan Murphy for the Television Critics Association this summer, we learned 13 things about the new season. Set at the Hotel Cortez, Lady Gaga plays the owner of the hotel, with Iris (Kathy Bates) managing it and its daily residents. Sarah Paulson plays a drug addict, Angela Bassett plays an actress who visits the hotel, and Chloe Sevigny lives there as the wife of a detective.
We got to spend a little more time with the women of American Horror Story: Hotel. While Gaga was not present, we did meet Bates, Paulson, Bassett and Sevigny, all returning from previous seasons. Their roles in Hotel are still mysterious until it airs, but they could speak about being part of the American Horror Story sisterhood. American Horror Story: Hotel premieres October 7 at 10 PM on FX.
What is the set like with all the women?
Kathy Bates: We had a dinner before the season started, a bunch of us, so when we have time we do [get together] or we get a chance to talk outside the trailers or whatever. It’s kind of hard and we’re all so focused on the scene and the lines and stuff, trying to do a really great job so there’s not a lot of time to socialize on the set.
Chloe Sevigny: I think that Ryan always writes so well for women and loves women. That’s the best thing about the show is the strong female characters. He hits them out of the park every year and I’m glad to be a part of it.
Once you’ve been in AHS one season, do the actors lobby to be part of the next cast?
Sarah Paulson: I think I was certainly lobbying for it. The first season, I only did three episodes, and I loved my part, Billie Dean Howard, the psychic with the coral-painted fingernails that Ryan insisted I have, which were so great. I didn’t really know that I was going to get to come and be here and play these parts at all. It’s been kind of one of the most thrilling things in the world to, every year, come in and to come to your trailer and have an entirely new wardrobe, an entirely new look, and to begin again. It’s very exciting.
Kathy Bates: First of all, to have a different character, we all want to play different characters. And the fact that we can play such good characters from year to year. I mean, if you weren’t in a show like this and you have to rely on films where you get paid very little, and they are few and few between, you don’t know what you’re going to do. To know that you’re going to have a wonderful character to play, even though you don’t know what it is, and that you have that to look forward to, as well as having a nice pay, and in this case living at home in Los Angeles, and realizing that everybody is bringing their A game, to be a part of that is just a great honor.
Angela Bassett: And having the familiarity with each other also. Even though it’s fresh, it’s new, it’s exciting. It’s not as if you go into the same office for 30 years. We didn’t get into this for the stability.
Kathy Bates: And there is not a bad apple in the bunch.
Angela Bassett: But to have that familiarity and to be able to lean on each of them.
Chloe Sevigny: I really think there is a trust there.
Angela Bassett: And then to meet new folk and work with them.
Kathy Bates: Yeah. Wes [Bentley] and I always wanted to work together, and we finally got to last year.
Angela Bassett: The best of all worlds.
Sarah, could this season’s role possibly be any more intense than playing the two headed woman in Freak Show?
Sarah Paulson: This is less intense, I think. I think anything might be a little less intense than what that was. I mean, it was physically very demanding, having those two heads, and intellectually, very sort of confusing because I had to remember when to use my right hand only and when I was left handed as Bette. It was just a big sh*t show in my brain, I can tell you that. It was really crazy. This character is hard to describe, because there are certain things I cannot tell you that will be revealed in the first episode.
Kathy are you happy to be rid of the beard? Did you ever really adjust to that?
Kathy Bates: Well, there’s always a silver lining. It covered my double chins. It took a little bit of jockeying in terms of finding the different-sized pieces that would keep the face mobile and, at the same time, not require too many touch ups between takes. I got quite used to it. I’m a character actor, and I’ve always been jealous of the guys because they can always do different things with facial hair, so I was actually kind of jazzed about it.
Chloe, did you keep up with the two seasons in between the ones on which you appeared?
Chloe Sevigny: I missed Coven but I just watched all of Freak Show. I wanted to be up on the revelry so when it was nominated, it was such an exciting thing. It’s my favorite season so far. I mean, I have to watch Coven still but Freak Show was so impressive.