'American Horror Story': Lily Rabe talks Mary Eunice's big episode
[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM]
Lily Rabe gave a tour-de-force performance this season on American Horror Story: Asylum as Sister Mary Eunice, a simple nun possessed by the devil. Funny and frightening, Mary Eunice sadly said goodbye last night after being thrown off the asylum staircase by Monsignor O’Hara (Joseph Fiennes). EW talked with Rabe, who played original house owner (and infantata mama) Nora in the first season of AHS, about her character’s death last night, the relationship with Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) and whether she’d sign up for American Horror Story season 3.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you always knew Sister Mary Eunice would die?
LILY RABE: Well, it’s sort of part of being on this show is you know sort of toward the end of this season there’s a high likelihood that’s gonna happen. Then I did know when that was going to happen as things moved along. It wasn’t toward later I knew when and how because it wasn’t all known early on.
And Ryan said you did some of your own stunts when Joseph Fiennes threw you off the ledge!
I did them all! I worked with this incredible stunt double on a couple of things and she was able to work on this job. I had never done wires before. She did some incredible stuff too but I was able to do the whole thing. I was able to do the throw and the fall.
So that was you actually falling?
It was on wires, yes.
Was that scary though?
Well, I love that stuff [laughs]. So it’s scary to me in the way I love to be scared. I have a little bit of a thrill-seeker in me.
That makes sense given the character you’ve played this year.
Yeah. I like it. I jumped out of a plane when I was 16 or something. The first thing out of my mouth was, “I want to do that again and again and again!” But it’s really fun to also be able to do that so you experience it and it was such an important moment. I know Ryan and I when we talked about it, it really is a suicide more than it is a murder.
Arden and Mary Eunice ended up very Romeo & Juliet like. What did you think about how that wrapped up?
Well, it seemed sort of wonderfully fitting. There were lots of Shakespeare references when we got that script because [James Cromwell and I] sit around and talk about Shakespeare all the time so we thought, “How perfect!” But to me they do have this sort of very bizarre American Horror Story love story. I think that it was wonderful. I think it was perfect in its own crazy way. It was very true to the show. That was a very intense scene to shoot also. That was harder for me than the wires. I would do that any day over going into an incinerator, let me tell you.
Did you have a ball with this role? It just seemed you loved it.
That twisted sense of humor is right up my alley. I think both seasons of the show have had a lot of laughs — I know it might not be that way with everybody. I did have a lot of fun with that. Being so cruel to people, it’s similarly painful to Nora where I was suffering from so much heartbreak and loss and pain. It’s a different kind of pain where you are literally the devil. You just sort of lose your soul and detach. But that’s also really fun so there’s no complaining about going through that kind of pain because it’s what gets me out of the bed in the morning, to play parts like that. I even got to sing and dance! I couldn’t believe my luck! I felt very very lucky and in love with the part and I got to do so many different things.
And you’re pals with Sarah and Zach?
Yes! Sarah and I are inseparably close and Zach is a really dear friend. Sarah and I were very close before we were starting and now I feel very close to Zach. You are not wrong to think I was having a really good time.
Do you have a favorite Sister Mary Eunice moment? Or even the craziest, most disturbing moment?
I don’t know if it was my favorite but that first murder in episode three, that was something I will never forget shooting. It was just sort of a very big experience and that was right when the devil was taking over. And singing and dancing was really fun, terrifying and fun. But yeah those murders I would say I never got used to them.
Would you do a season three of American Horror Story?
I would. I would do pretty much anything for Ryan Murphy [laughs]. You just know you’re not gonna get that first script and think, “Oh this is going to be boring.” When you have that kind of relationship with someone and just someone who inspires you and sees you, you just wanna keep working with them in whatever way.
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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.