Fans of FX’s limited series “American Horror Story” were left scratching their heads when it was first announced that the seventh season would focus on the 2016 election, including star Evan Peters. While chatting via webcam (watch the exclusive video above), he divulges, “I knew it would be big. I knew they would go to the extremes, because that’s what ‘Horror Story’ does. [But] I didn’t know where they were going to take it.” “AHS: Cult” focuses on a woman (Sarah Paulson) who is so traumatized by the presidency of Donald Trump that many of her longstanding phobias begin to intensify, including a fear of murderous clowns. Peters plays Kai Anderson, the charismatic leader of an extremist group who runs for the U.S. Senate.
Centering “Cult” on current events such as the rise of the alt-right made the horror more palpable to everyone involved. “That was one of the things that I thought was very scary about this season,” Evans reveals. “It was already grounded in reality.” Unlike most “Horror Show” villains, Kai is someone “who you can see in news clips, who you can see all over the internet and all over the media. So it was intense, and it was hard, and it was pretty exhausting, having to stretch myself like that, to go to those places all the time.”
In addition to playing Kai, Peters also embodied such real life cult leaders as Marshall Applewhite, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and the recently deceased Charles Manson, plus Jesus and Andy Warhol. He heavily researched the parts, “which was intense.” He adds, “I just tried to immerse myself as much as I could into all those characters because they were real people, and I felt like it was important to try to… make it as real as possible.”
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