Originally a tuberculosis ward, Briarcliff Manor was bought by the Catholic Church in 1963 and transformed into a sanitarium. Monsignor Timothy O’Hara (Joseph Fiennes) and the formidable Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) are in charge with help from Sister Eunice (Lily Rabe). ”People are very dismissive of Eunice and think she’s stupid, but Sister Jude sees something in her and has taken her as her favorite, as her right-hand nun,” says Rabe.
Briarcliff residents definitely do not want an appointment with James Cromwell‘s Dr. Arden. Says the actor, ”He does torture and I think even winds up killing a number of patients.” Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) appears to be at the opposite end of the spectrum. ”He’s the most forward-thinking, contemporary member of this asylum,” says Quinto. ”They seem to be rooted in techniques and in philosophies that he considers pretty barbaric.”
Kit (Evan Peters) and Lana (Sarah Paulson) are both outsiders committed to Briarcliff in the premiere. They’re surrounded by a motley crew of inmates, including a sex addict (Chloë Sevigny), a degenerate bully (Mark Consuelos), and the enigmatic Grace (Lizzie Brocheré), who develops a friendship with Kit. ”I think she’s kind of observing,” says Brocheré of her character. ”You see her always in the corner. And she carries a f—ing story with her.”
Leo (Maroon 5’s Adam Levine) and Teresa (Jenna Dewan Tatum) are the unfortunate modern-day newlyweds who choose to spend their honeymoon within the corridors of the now-abandoned Briarcliff. Once they set foot inside, all hell breaks loose, and the pair are unwittingly thrust into a gory fight for their lives. Teases Levine: ”It’s like this hellish maze that we’re in. A lot of blood, a lot of frightening scenarios.”