Last fall, FX's "American Horror Story" burst onto the scene as one of television's best drama miniseries and was nominated for 17 Emmy Awards. This season, co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk flipped the script by changing characters, plotlines and the show's setting from the "Murder House" to the dank and chilling Briarcliff Manor mental asylum.
Over the next few weeks b will post Q&As with cast members of "American Horror Story." First up: Chloe Sevigny ("Big Love," "Boys Don't Cry"), who plays the impulsive Shelley the nymphomaniac.
Sevigny spoke to b about her experiences on the "American Horror Story" set, her time in the acting business and about the chance we'll see her in season three.
You have experience on the small screen with "Big Love" and "Hit & Miss" and also in movies. Do you have a preference between movies and TV, or is it all about finding a role that intrigues you?
I can't really say I have a preference. There is more of a chance on TV. Sometimes TV can make you feel freer because you don't have to get everything just right.
What about the role of Shelley interested you?
I actually didn't get to try out. I was asked about taking the part and it was one of those things where you just have to sign on line face.
Did you follow any of Season 1?
I watched it all in two or three days. After the first couple episodes I was so spooked! You don't see many horror shows on TV.
You shaved your head sometime during your junior or senior year of high school. There's a scene in the "American Horror Story" Season 2 opener where Jessica Lange started shaving your head before being interrupted by Sister Mary Eunice and Lana Winters. Was that a déjà vu moment for you?
I actually had that hair cut about 10 years ago. For the show, it was either that or have to wear a prosthetic hair piece. (Laughs) But now that I'm over 30 years old, it's not as cute as it used to be.
Most of the characters in the show are portrayed as good or evil. How would you describe Shelley?
I think Shelley is good. She was very promiscuous in her life. Her husband didn't like how sexual she was, so he had her locked away.
Shelley seems drawn to Kit or "Bloody Face" as he's called, in the premiere. Do you think Shelley is attracted to dangerous types of people?
I think she's just really into men and he's fresh blood. Maybe she gets off on the tease. Her choices are pretty limited in the asylum and he's a good-looking man, so why not?
Without giving away too much, what was your favorite scene to play as Shelley?
Probably the first scene I had because I was in the room with three amazing actresses — Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, and Sarah Paulson — for the first time. While we were shooting the show, we all got to hang out all day.
What types of conversations did you have with Jessica, Lily and Sarah? Did you pick their brains about acting?
A little about acting, but more about guys and about New York. We talked about men a lot.
Did you talk about modeling at all? I read that you spent time as a model.
I only modeled a bit when I was about three years old. It was more of a personality thing then a "look" thing. And later in my career it would have interfered with acting.
Aside from "American Horror Story," what projects are you currently working on?
I just shot "Portlandia," a show on IFC. I did a guest spot.
Is it hard for you to do different types of roles? American Horror Story is a horror with some dark comedy thrown in and Portland is a sketch-comedy.
It's not hard acting. That's the job. But I was doing both shows at the same time, so it was hard having to fly between two cities and get up at 5 a.m. The logistics are more difficult that way. The acting wasn't hard work though.
Is there any chance we will see Shelley in Season 3?
I hope I get asked to come back. I think Ryan and Brad enjoyed having me. It would be as a different character though because that's the way Ryan and Brad are doing the show. The characters are going to keep changing every season.