Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed 11 of the 13 episodes of “American Horror Story: Coven,” but it was the pilot that earned him his first Emmy nomination.
“Bitchcraft” was especially challenging to helm because “there was so much packed in the episode,” he says in our webcam chat (watch below). Viewers had to meet all of the budding witches at Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, their devilish “Supreme” Jessica Lange, her fiendish foes Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett, and defiant daughter Sarah Paulson. All of those stars earned Emmy nominations – thanks largely to Gomez-Rejon’s deft guidance.
“First episodes of TV shows often have a problem with exposition,” he notes, “but Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and everyone in the writers’ room crafted such a beautiful episode that was so hyper-real. It had its own rules and I just went with it.” His biggest challenge was trying “to create something that is unmistakenly ours while pushing the limits visually.”
Ironically, Gomez-Rejon is nominated against Ryan Murphy (“The Normal Heart”) at the Emmys.
“I’m only in the category because of Ryan,” he notes. “Ryan gave me my first shot at directing. It was an episode of ‘Glee’ in the first season. Since the very beginning, he’s been encouraging me, giving me so much creative freedom and nurturing my career. So to be in the category with him is such an honor.
“I don’t have a chance in hell” to win, he laughs. “‘The Normal Heart’ is a masterpiece!”