'American Horror Story': Sarah Paulson on last night's pivotal episode
[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOST RECENT AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM]
Last night’s American Horror Story: Asylum, ended with Lana (Sarah Paulson) trapped in the basement lair of Dr. Thredson/Bloody Face (Zachary Quinto) and there’s not exactly a light at the end of the tunnel for the intrepid reporter (For more, read EW’s exclusive interviews with co-creator Ryan Murphy and Quinto). EW talked to Paulson about the major twist, last week’s truly disturbing de-programming scene, and what’s a head for Lana.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This episode was soooo good. And Ryan told me how he keeps saying, “Pray for Lana.”
SARAH PAULSON: I know! It’s what he does. He kept coming up to me and this is before I really even knew what was coming and he was like, “Oh pray for Lana.” And I would be like, “What do you mean?!”
When I was on set back in July, I remember you told me that Lana was going to some really dark places.
I think I was referring to the aversion/conversion therapy. I think you were there when we were shooting episode one and we only had through episode four. So I thought THAT was bad and that was like going to a beach in Ibiza or something. That’s like nothing compared to what’s going to happen to her. Like I said before it’s the crazy train to Murphytown and I’m on it and there’s no getting off.
How was filming last week’s aversion/conversion scene? It was so hard to watch. I can’t imagine filming.
It was both hard and kind of exhilarating. I know that sounds insane but it’s like what I mean about the whole season so far: although terrible things are happening to Lana, wonderful things are happening to me as an actress. I get to tell this woman’s story and it feels like a big responsibility and a big honor to me. I just feel like I’ve been thrown the ball … I know Game Change was great and Martha Marcy May Marlene, but in terms of a show that’s on television, I haven’t — since Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip — probably had the ball thrown to me and certainly never in a dramatic way. This is the first time I’ve gotten to really emotionally reveal myself in a raw way and that is new so that was very hard that scene but it was very exciting from an acting standpoint.
The best part about it is I was working with Zach and Zach is my good friend. Even though that was a very difficult scene to do, we trust each other and respect each other so much there was a real sense of a net below us. I was just never afraid and I think in a scene like that what I couldn’t have been was afraid.
This must be emotionally exhausting with all the screaming.
We shot the scene in his house when he brings me home the morning after the Emmys and Zach and I had both been out since 4 in the morning. We were both like, “Good morning. Welcome to the pit of hell.”
It hasn’t been emotionally nothing I’ll say that, but in the same breath, it’s been bizarrely fortifying because it’s like I’m being fed as an actress. That is no small thing and you don’t get those opportunities all the time so I’m completely relishing it even though I’m like, Why am I waking up so sad? It’s because I’m holding onto this, especially from episode 5 to episode 9 there’s just a lot of trauma there.
Ryan didn’t have much hope for a happy ending for Lana. Do you think she’ll have a happy ending?
Do I have hope for Lana? I sure do. Do I think I’m gonna get what I want for Lana? I really don’t think so. I don’t know where she’s going to end up and I pray to god it’s somewhere in the sunshine somewhere, drinking a cold drink on a cruise. If this were a different show, I think that would be possible. But on American Horror Story, I don’t think those kinds of things happen.
Did you actually drop through that trap door?
That was a stunt double. But I would like to say I wanted to do it. I begged them to do it. They refused. That was in the original script and then they took it out and then Zach was the one who called Ryan and said, “I think we really need that trap door.” The element of surprise is so much better. To his credit, Ryan was like, “You are right.” So that was a beautiful Zach Quinto/Ryan Murphy collaboration.
Can you tease what we’ll see for Lana coming up?
I can tell you I’m shooting episode 11 right now. I can’t tell you that I have all my eyes and ears and legs and limbs. But I can tell you that I’m still working. I’m still alive but I can’t tell you how alive or in what state. What I can tease about episode six in particular, a thing will be revealed as to why Lana was chosen.
Thredson mentions that he wants Lana to tell his story.
Yeah so I think maybe I’m not a random choice for him. There’s something so scary and horrifying about that.
After all this and it being so exhausting for you, would you still do a season three?
I would do season three, four, five, seven, nine, ten, eight. Yes. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again: There’s no place in the world I’d rather be than working with Ryan. I just trust him. I signed on to doing this show not knowing what my part was going to be and I wouldn’t have cared what it was, I still would have wanted to do it. I can only think of one other person I would do that for and that is Aaron Sorkin. I think that’s saying a lot. But that’s just the leap I’m willing to make because I know he’s got my back.
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An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, and a hotel.