Cast interview – American Horror Story: Hotel
We couldn’t be more excited to check into American Horror Story: Hotel when it premieres in the UK on October 20th. Judging by the imagery and teaser trailers we’ve been given so far, this next instalment of the horror anthology is set to be Ryan Murphy’s most stylised and chilling series to date. But who would know better than the people bringing the characters to life? Here’s what the cast of American Horror Story had to say about Hotel.
Matt Bomer – ‘Donovan’
What’s happening in this season of American Horror Story?
I’ll tell you what I can which is limited. We’re at the Hotel Cortez in Los Angeles. The hotel really is a character in itself in this show, just the way it’s shot and the way as an actor you are constantly having to think about what your relationship is to that place, because it’s changing over the course of the season. It’s really the most magnificent set I’ve ever been on, it’s massive! It’s got a working elevator, it’s so ornate and specific and detailed, it really has to be seen to be believed. It’s completely immersive and transporting as an actor, and it’s been really fun to get to play in that set.
Tell us more about your character.
I play Donovan, who is a resident of the hotel and is closely affiliated with Lady Gaga’s character. He’s somebody whose dreams and aspirations for being in Los Angeles haven’t quite worked out as he had hoped. [Donovan] is a darker soul; he’s somebody who has a very complicated relationship with his mother Iris, played by Kathy Bates. I think their relationship influences all the relationships in his life.
Sounds a bit like Bates Motel, perhaps! So why is the new season set in a hotel?
I think Hotel really in many ways harkens back to Murder House (season one) in terms of a location that’s really relatable and so primarily frightening, because it is so close to home. We’ve all been in a place where our wellbeing, our sustenance, and our safety is being looked after by an entity that we’re not entirely in control of. I think there’s something really frightening about that.
Kathy Bates – ‘Iris’
What’s happening this season in American Horror Story?
The hotel is a hotel that you’ve never seen before, but also it’s something you might have seen in Los Angeles during its hay day. Now it’s in the present day, so it’s a bit shabby, but it’s stunning to walk into. Iris is at the desk, she checks people in. In her spare time she does crossword puzzles. She also makes sure that the hotel’s activities are going in the right direction, and she completes everything she needs to do for The Countess (Lady Gaga), who is the owner of the hotel .
What’s it like to work with Lady Gaga?
I thought it was brilliant casting and I saw a bit of her first incarnation – ‘mother monster’. She really reinvents herself and that really surprised me. To see her singing on the Oscars and then here, she seems like a young woman who can really transform herself. She brings a lot to the company and also fits in very well.
What can fans expect from this season?
I think their jaws will drop, I really do. Because there are characters who come out of nowhere, that you’ve never seen before, that you will hope never to see again. Also, the evil in the hotel has a logic, which I find particularly disturbing, because that means that there is an intelligence operating behind it.
Finn Wittrock ‘Tristan’
Why is a hotel such a great location for this show?
Hotels are scary! This hotel is kind of creepy. It’s beautiful, but there’s something oddly mysterious and dark about hotels, especially one with a lot of history. Hotel Cortez has a lot of dark twisted history, weird things lurking in the hallways. You don’t know what’s happened in the room before you’ve been there, you don’t know what your neighbour is doing in the next room. There are a lot of possibilities in terms of horror, of what you can do and what’s scary about a hotel.
Denis O’Hare and Cheyenne Jackson – ‘Liz Taylor’ and ‘Will Drake’
Why the hotel?
C: There’s nothing more frightening than a hotel, its fraught with so many things. There are so many people coming and going, there are so many strangers, so many secrets, you never know who’s on the other side of the door… You’re nothing, you’re just a number.
D: The idea that people go to hotel to get lost, to escape, to be anonymous and usually people are doing things in hotels that are illegal or immoral. They’re in there for a reason – whether they’re having sex, doing drugs, hiding body parts, they’re in there for a reason… My character Liz Taylor has a master key to all the rooms…
C: Liz Taylor’s full gorgeousness. I got on set and I saw him from behind and I just saw his bald head, an earring and a lash, I was like ‘please god let that be O’Hare’, and it was!
What makes you keep coming back?
D: [Ryan Murphy] offered me the part this year. He wrote me an e-mail and I read it and I went ‘ahhh no, this is not something I want to do’, for all kinds of reasons. And then I wrote back and I was like ‘yes, I’m game’. But I didn’t want to shave my head, wear six inch heels, I didn’t want to put on a dress… These are not things I had envisaged for myself. Because its challenging, it challenges my notions of who I am, my own identity. I’m a gay man who has eschewed a certain kind of behaviour for maybe bad reasons, and this is like smack that right in the middle of it, so you have to come to work and confront stuff that you don’t want to confront. We as the actors are doing stuff that is dangerous to us personally, and it shows up on screen.
C: Absolutely, I have things in this character too that I am having to face about myself; masculinity, all these kind of things.
D: But I am loving, loving, loving this character and now of course find myself looking at peoples shoes and going ‘what are those? I couldn’t wear those heels it’s too much for me’!
Angela Bassett – ‘Ramona Royale’
Tell us about this season.
It’s set in present day this time, so we’re up from the 1800’s. It’s set in Los Angeles at an old hotel that’s seen its hay day. The proprietor of it is Elizabeth being played by Lady Gaga, so that’s an interesting thing because she’s mysterious and intriguing and she’s quite a character herself, so they’ve written a larger than life character for her. There’s closed doors and things that go on behind closed doors, that you don’t allow the world to see, or that you only do at night, or that you only go to hotels at night, behind closed doors to act upon, desires and fetishes and dreams, so we will see… I think it can be very dark, very nasty, very exciting and titillating.
American Horror Story: Hotel premieres on Tuesday 20th October at 10pm on FOX UK.