The actor also discusses the possibility of reprising his Apocalypse role on American Horror Story proper.
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Warning: Spoilers from American Horror Stories season 1, episode 6, "Feral" are discussed in this article.

When Ryan Murphy comes knocking with an acting opportunity, it's hard to say no — even if he hasn't technically come knocking yet.

Cody Fern, who played devil child Michael Langdon on American Horror Story's Apocalypse season and camper Xavier Plympton on the 1984 arc, shared with EW that he first found out about returning for the American Horror Stories spin-off from Instagram. What was strange was that he hadn't received a call from Murphy at that point.

"I first heard about it on Instagram because Ryan announced that I was going to be in it. So, I was like, 'Wait! What? What am I doing? OK. Cool,'" Fern reveals. "So, that was where I first heard about it. Then he got in touch while they were in production and asked me if I was available to come and do this episode, and I was only happy to oblige."

It might've been an awkward situation if Fern had declined after all that, but he added, "So much has been going on. The world turned on its head, so everything has been kind of topsy-turvy, and the schedules have been very difficult to figure out [with COVID]."

American Horror Stories- Cody Fern
Cody Fern in 'American Horror Stories' episode 'Feral'
| Credit: FX

Fern arrives in the sixth episode of American Horror Stories, titled "Feral," as Kern Canyon National Park's Aussie ranger Stan Vogel. Ten years after losing their son on a camping trip in the surrounding woods, Jay (Aaron Tveit) and Abby (Tiffany Dupont) Gantz return to the park after getting a tip that their child is still alive. That tip ends up being a complete scam to extort money from them, but they find that part out when it's too late and they are trapped deep in the park with a bunch of cannibalistic inbred "yowie" people.

"When Ryan rings, it's very hard to say no," Fern says. "And I love working in Ryan's world."

As the one to give much of the episode's exposition about the mythology of the yowie, Fern understood his role well. "If there wasn't some comedic relief, it was just going to be too bleak," he said. "My job as Vogel was going to be straddling that horror trope to a certain extent of the outsider who comes in and shakes up what it is that you think you know, and where you think you are in the story. I really wanted to nail that and to make choices that were going to unsettle everybody."

He had a bit of an advantage, aside from being a veteran of AHS. Manny Coto, who wrote the "Forbidden Fruit" episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, wrote and directed the "Feral" episode of American Horror Stories. That brought a certain "Manny flair" to what they were doing, Fern said. "Manny is just such a badass. He knows what he wants. He knows where he wants to go. He sits at the back, outside the trailer during the long breaks [in production] and smokes a cigar with a pair of vintage aviators with his script." Coto gave Fern liberties to bring his own interpretation to the character and find things in the moment as they were filming, like when Vogel spies the Gantz's limping out of the woods after a yowie attack and he utters, "F---ing Americans."

"That wasn't in the script," the actor noted, "but it was something that came out of knowing that the camera was pushing in here and gliding off, and they'd come out of the woods, there's ferals on the loose, and you need something that is kind of like a wink, wink."

This relationship with Coto helped tremendously with Vogel's bloody death scene, which sees the ranger getting eaten alive by a pack of yowie, blood spurting from his mouth. Dying is very "technical" on American Horror Stories, Fern points out. You've got to really nail that in one take.

"It was also so gross because there's all these fake guts and blood, and everything's flying everywhere, and you've got these freaky-looking people with hair and makeup and costuming," he remembers. "There's a camera, you can't get blood in your eyes. You've got one take to go with the guts. It has to be a particular thing: you can't get [blood] on this costume, you can't destroy this set piece. It feels like a craft thing where you have to be really aware of where the camera is and what the moment is and then also play that you're being ripped apart."

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Cody Fern in 'American Horror Story: Apocalypse'
| Credit: Kurt Iswarienko/FX

Beyond "Feral," Fern isn't sure when his next foray in the American Horror Story universe will be. Though his costar Tveit appeared twice on the spin-off already, his involvement was one and done.

"It depends on what Ryan wants to do and where he sees me in that world," Fern says. "There were so many things going on a year ago. I was not coming back for American Horror Story season 10, but we'll see. In the future, if Ryan wants me to come back... never say never. We'll just have to wait and see."

He is, however, always up for returning as Michael. And with Murphy saying that the witches of his Coven season could return, that means Michael might also be coming back. "If the Coven witches return without Michael, I feel like there would be a riot," Fern says with a laugh. "I am sure I've been on the record saying that before, but if [Murphy] ever calls and asks me if I want to play Michael Langdon again, the answer is, 'Absolutely, yes.' I love playing Michael."

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