'American Horror Story': Stevie Nicks on 'Coven' cameo, shawls, twirls
The White Witch has arrived! As promised, tonight’s new American Horror Story: Coven will feature a special guest turn from rock legend Stevie Nicks. It’s shaping up to be an exciting episode for Fleetwod Mac fans and Lily Rabes everywhere: Nicks will not only cross paths with her biggest fan, the supernatural swampstress Misty Day (Rabe), but she’ll also perform a certain witchy Fleetwood Mac classic.
Plus, she’s bringing a new course to Miss Robichaux’s Academy: Shawl Twirling 101 (which you can catch a sneak peak of in the video below). EW talked to Nicks about her AHS: Coven debut, meeting Rabe and the gang, and the presents she brought to the set. And if you’re worried about those old rumors about her being an actual real-life witch resurfacing, don’t be: “Don’t you know? I have powers now!” she says.
EW: Ryan Murphy had told us that when he first pitched you to be on the show, you were hesitant. What ultimately made you decide to do it?
STEVIE NICKS: When they called and asked me if they could use my music, they just explained it a little bit: there’s a character, and you’re a muse because she listens only to you — and she lives out in the swamp. And that was good enough for me! I’m like, sure you can! So whether it was a Fleetwood Mac song or Stevie Nicks song, they were going to choose a song that fit into their story. I thought, fantastic — as a songwriter, you could not ask for anything more. And I’m pretty close to them because of Glee, of course. So I said, sure, take my music — absolutely.
We [Fleetwood Mac] were in Europe at that point, but we were able to pull up the first couple of episodes [of Coven]. And I was a little shocked, because I hadn’t seen the first two seasons. So I was kind of like, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Of course, I fell into the spell, so during the tour we would do whatever we could to find that week’s episode.
I had five weeks [at] home, and I was like, you know what? Call Ryan. This is what I said, seriously: Can I just do a walk-through? I’ll just wear a long black dress, really super-super high heels, and be shot from above. I would just walk through and go, “Hello, witches! Goodbye, witches!” I really thought that was going to be it. I had no idea that I’d be written in until I got to New Orleans. I got into the hotel, the script came at 2 in the morning, my assistant read it out loud to me…. Then I walked [onto the set], there’s this spectacular house that’s very similar to my house in a lot of ways. I was like, “Oh my god, did they see my house before they built it?”
How much did you get to dig into the role?
Well, I did these scenes with Jessica [Lange], and I got to really watch an amazing actress act. Because, you know, we’d do something, I’d play piano and then be like, “Well, that was great – we’re done!” Nope. Fifty times later, after they’d filmed from under the piano and hanging from the ceiling and every possible angle, I realize, boy, this is a lot of work. This is much harder than what I do. I get on, I’m on for two and a half hours, I get off stage, I get on the plane and go to the next city and order room service. This is not like that.
Earlier in the season, Lily Rabe had told us that if she were to ever meet you, she “might die on the spot.” Did she survive?
She did faint about 700 times when we were doing that one scene! I was afraid she was going to have to go the hospital. [laughs] She’s really a lovely girl, and she does love my music. Every time I’d play a specific song, she would start to cry. I would say to her, “You know, you don’t really have to cry.” And she said, “No, no — that’s not acting.” So I said, well, then that’s okay, you go right on ahead and cry.
I love Lily. Right before I left, I gave her an amazing black outfit that I’d had a long time. I felt that she should have something, because with her character, she’s really brought a lot of my music to a whole other generation. There’s not enough diamonds and pearls in the world that I could give her to show her how much that means to me.
You give her a shawl-twirling lesson after playing “Rhiannon.” Did you bring your own shawl?
Oh no, that was my shawl [that I wore]. And I brought a couple of really beautiful shawls for [her to wear], but she couldn’t use them because they needed to keep her in hers for continuity. But listen, as far as my signature twirl? Lily needs no coaching on twirling. In the shot, I’m playing, going on and on with the “Rhiannon” take, and I’m thinking she’s just going to drop dead because she’s been twirling for a good minute and a half! So she doesn’t need any pointers from me.
Ryan Murphy mentioned that you’d be returning for another episode later in the season, and that you actually came up with the idea for the scene. Can you tell us anything about it?
It was very serendipitous. I do get on the phone like, “Well, what about this?” I know they’re like, so what, are you part of the writing team now? [laughs] It’s just that I’m so unfortunately full of ideas that they can’t prohibit. So I give my opinion.
So who’s your favorite witch on the show?
Jessica is slinky and sexy and sultry — just the kind of witch I’d want to be. And Kathy Bates is so evil — she’s not even a witch! She’s just an evil, mean, fantastically crazy woman that did horrible, horrible things. And Angela Bassett is just so beautiful, and so voodoo’d out and vibey. She walks into the room, and you’re afraid. So really, all of those ladies.