Let's keep her up top, shall we?
Nice little interview with Lange on playing Constance Langdon and on Season 2 of AHS:
Eye on Emmy: Jessica Lange on Playing Horror Story's Hell of a Belle and Season 2′s 'Wild Ride'
Get More: Dream Emmy Nominees, Emmys, Interviews
Matt Webb Mitovich
Constance Langdon is not a neighbor you want to borrow a cup of sugar from, and you most definitely should beware when she comes bearing home-baked gifts (or, for that matter, “sweet breads”). And yet as portrayed by Jessica Lange, who came into FX’s American Horror Story with two Oscars and one Emmy on her mantel, the Harmon family’s oft unwelcome visitor did not repel but regale us.
Thus far, Lange has netted a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for her first venture into series television. Will claiming another Emmy, for Lead Actress in a TV-Movie/Miniseries, make her housewarming complete? Here, she talks about bringing great things toHorror Story’s not-so-good neighbor.
RELATED | Emmys Buzz: American Horror Story to Enter Race for Best Miniseries, Not Drama
TVLINE | When you first started seeing the American Horror Story scripts, did you suspect the role of Constance could be Emmy-worthy?
I didn’t really know what to think. We were shooting really fast, so I don’t think anybody was thinking about the outcome as much as the process of getting through it. This was the first time I’d ever done this kind of television — a miniseries — and not being all that familiar with the world of TV, I didn’t have any frame of reference. So when the performances started getting recognition, yes, it did kind of surprise me. I mean, I knew how good the writing was, and I knew there was a great deal that I could do with it — it’s a big character with a huge range of emotions.
TVLINE | Given how dicey the subject matter could get, how did you find the humanity amidst of all this surreality?
I just paid attention to creating this character and playing her as absolutely real as I could, in the context of all this other stuff. I really didn’t think in terms of the overall sweep of the piece, or the tone of it.
TVLINE | Because of the intensity of the material, was it a particularly galvanizing experience for the cast?
I can’t speak for the others, but I know that for me there were moments where it was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that they’ve written this!’ [Laughs] It’s always a leap of faith. The only thing you can think about is: What are you given to do, and how well do you do it?
TVLINE | Was there a past performance of yours that informed your portrayal of Constance? Perhaps Queen Tamora in Titus? Maggie in TV’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?
Certainly there were moments where I felt that there were shades of Tennessee Williams — because she’s Southern and because it was about failed dreams and disappointment, and loneliness. Those themes crop up in a lot of Tennessee’s women — like with Blanche (in A Streetcar Named Desire) or Amanda Wingfield (in The Glass Menagerie). But that’s really where the comparison ends. Constance’s actual behavior has nothing to do with any character I’ve ever played before.
TVLINE | How did doing a TV miniseries further shape you as an actress?
It shifted something profoundly, because this piece forced me to work in a way I’ve never worked before, and that was with complete immediacy — and in some odd way it was very liberating. It forced me to be extremely bold. I couldn’t approach this with any kind of trepidation, and in that way it felt expansive to me.
TVLINE | Would you concede that Constance is a despicable person? Or was she coming from a place of misplaced love?
Certainly you can look at her actions and say that she was horrendous. However, in the playing of it I had to find her humanity, and I did that through her emotion and her capacity for love. The fact that it was so twisted in many ways came out of circumstances rather than the essence of the character. What I kind of loved about her is she did not mince words. Sometimes, like when you hear her speaking to her daughter or in a scene with her son, as a mother [myself] I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ But again, there was something very enjoyable about playing someone who was no-holds-barred.
TVLINE | She certainly stood out in today’s ever-PC climate.
I thought she was kind of a throwback to another time, pre-political correctness, when people said things that would now be seen as shocking. Like some of the dames from the films in the ’30s; hard and rough-talking but honest and forthright. Yes, we had scenes where what she did was reprehensible and criminal, but there was an element to her I found very refreshing.
RELATED | American Horror Story Season 2 Pits James Cromwell Against Jessica Lange
TVLINE | With the next chapter of American Horror Story, you have the rare opportunity to create a new character. How will your insane asylum administrator differ from Constance?
It’s a different time [the 1960s], first of all, and she comes from a completely different background. There’s also different geography [being set on the East Coast], and that informs a character tremendously. So without giving away too much, I think there are similarities — they both have a history, and I’m not entirely stellar! [Laughs] — but that’s probably where the paths diverge. She is very different from what I’ve played. It’s going to be another wild ride!
I adore Jessica Lange but she is one of the true examples of someone winning Oscars for the wrong roles, though she is also the biggest example of being the "if only it was another year" nominee (obviously, for "Frances").
I love "Tootsie" and hate "Blue Sky" and feel that while she was good in "Tootsie", it really wasn't an Oscar worthy performance. Yes, you can claim it was a makeup Oscar for losing to Streep that night, but the fact she won critics awards proves there was a wealth of support that I still find a tad baffling.
"Blue Sky" was a mess and she was not that great in it, but she benefitted from her name value and a weak category (I would have given the Oscar to Miranda Richardson).
I think she was really strong in "Titus", "Grey Gardens", "Country", and "Music Box".
I would have loved to see her win for "Country", I didn't at all agree with Sally Field winning. I loved Lange's expression, and I am glad she didn't hide it.
What was special about Terri Garr? She wasn't even funny let alone nomination worthy, probably just on the Tootsie train of nominations. Lange gave a subtle performance that wasn't over the top, it was pure realism. And no, no matter how much screen time she had, Lange was definitely not lead in that film. You were never saw her side of the story, something that a lead performance should contain.
Quote by Poubelle
Can anybody play, or just crazed Lange fanboys?
Oh, be quiet.
Now, we got some juicy news from MTV re: Lange's new character!!!!
Adam Levine, Jessica Lange 'American Horror Story' Details Revealed
In 'AHS' season two, Lange is 'a bride of Christ,' writer tells MTV News.
By Jocelyn Vena (@) , with reporting by Tami Katzoff
While there have been scant details regarding the second season of "American Horror Story" floating around since it was announced it would be rebooted in a new time and place with spanking-new characters, what fans have been most clamoring to know about is how season one bad girlJessica Lange will be re-imagined for the series.
"She's not playing this kind of ersatz Tennessee Williams character this time," "AHS" writer Tim Minear told MTV News about Lange in season two. "She's playing something that's a little more East Coast, a little more patrician."
While she was a bit of a darkly motivated, self-involved floozy in season one, her new backstory seems to paint a different picture for the character. "She's playing a nun," he said. "She's playing an administrator of a facility. It's different. In this instance, she's a bride of Christ."
Season one of the FX horror series took place in sunny Los Angeles, which served as the backdrop to Murder House and its disturbed inhabitants, both living and dead. But, season two will take place in the 1960s on the East Coast with a mental institution as the locale for all the creepiness. Lange will call the shots, which is sort of what she did in season one as well, but it seems she'll be motivated in a whole new set of ways.
"We thought it would be cool. I mean, the truth is, when I first met with [creators] Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk about the show, I came in, I read the pilot script, and I'm like, 'OK guys, this is all very well and good — I don't know how you make this into a TV show. I don't know how you sustain this,' " Minear recalled.
"And Ryan immediately had the answer, and that was, 'Oh, the way we sustain it is by the end of the season, we have killed off every character.' And I'm like, 'I'm in!' And then you revamp it. Basically, in season two, you have a whole new story, a whole new location, a whole new time frame. You just do something different," he added. "The reason we're doing it in the 1960s is because that fits the story that we want to tell."
Given that anything is possible in the "AHS" world, there's a chance that the infamous Murder House just might make a cameo. "I wouldn't rule anything out," Minear shared.
Sure, everyone has been salivating over details about Lange and her newly learned good-girl character, but there's another casting that has everyone intrigued: Maroon 5 leading man Adam Levine has been cast as one of "The Lovers." "Let's say that Adam's character is kind of a nod to contemporary sensibilities, as opposed to something from the mid-century," Minear noted.
Levine joins other returning castmembers Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Lily Rabe as well as Lange.
Levine and his bandmates will drop Overexposed on Tuesday. They will sit down with MTV News for an "MTV First" on Monday to discuss the new album, and perhaps Levine will share more details about his "AHS" role.
ON JUL 1, 2012 IN PROFESSIONAL TRAVELLER | NO COMMENTS
Photography is an unknown facet of this famous actress and capturing time and space has been one of her main interests over the last twenty years. A face, a building, a landscape. From all over the world, moments to remember and keep at home in a box. To show just a few. Sometimes.
She’s very tall, very slim and, despite arriving in Cascais rather tired, she’s smiling. Her stature and the fact she’s resisted the cosmetic surgery so fashionable in Hollywood are both impressive, with her sixty-two years imprinted on her face in very fine lines. “Unbelievable! I’ve been all over the world but I’d never been to Portugal…”. She’s come because of her love for photography. “In 1967, I entered the University of Minnesota, where I studied Arts and Photography. However, I didn’t learn very much. At the end of that year, a group of young photographers that I met at university dared me to go with them to Europe and I dropped out.” One of the group was Francisco ‘Paco’ Grande, the photographer she would later marry in 1970.
Jessica and her friends lived like true hippies on the Old Continent. They made documentaries about gypsies and flamenco dancers. “I learnt a lot about photography in that period of my life but, unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures during those years. I witnessed remarkable events, like May ’68 in Paris. I often think about the photographs that I could have taken throughout my life, in all the places I’ve been to… It would have been an incredible record! But, at the time, I wasn’t interested in taking photographs.” Meanwhile, Paris got her interested in mime. She studied with Etienne Decroux and she was willing to stay for a few years until Watergate called her home: “I wanted to see Nixon’s demise at close quarters and, so, I returned to Minnesota”. The following autumn, contrary to what she’d planned, she didn’t return to her mime classes in Paris. She went to New York to study theatre while working as a waitress at the Lion’s Head. “I was also on the books of Wilhelmina Models, but earned very little modelling. However, the agency knew I took acting very seriously and was very committed to becoming an actress, so, just before Christmas 1975, they told me that they’d be contacted because of a major casting for a film and they thought I should go. That’s how I got my first acting job, in King Kong”.
The discovery of solitude
It took two decades and the birth of her children for Jessica Lange to pick up a camera: “At the beginning, it was a completely different interest. I wanted to capture my children growing up. Perhaps, because I thought that I was missing something important. They would travel, play, see new things and, while that was happening, I would be working and wouldn’t be part of those experiences”.
Oddly, when she started taking photographs in the 1980s, she was no longer married to photographer Paco Grande. Alexandra, her eldest daughter, and the result of a relationship with ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, was born in 1981, and the following year Lange began living with actor, writer and director Sam Shepard. Then saw the birth of Hannah, in 1985, and Samuel, two years later. They were her first priority; however, that long-dormant, old passion made her restlessness again. “After a while, I started to carry a camera with me wherever I went. It was like an antidote to my work as an actress. When I’m acting, I always have lots of people around me, there’s always a huge crew. But, with photography, I found a wonderful way of being alone because photography is a very personal, very solitary act. It’s almost meditation and allows me to go to the other side. When I photograph, I’m the one observing, while when I’m acting, I’m the one being observed. When I realised that, I never left the house without my camera, even when I don’t have time to use it, which has happened in recent weeks, in Belgrade, where I’ve been filming. I haven’t taken any pictures yet.”
Because of films, being a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and for personal reasons, Jessica Lange spends a lot of time travelling. From her travels, she’s been recording the moments that have touched her over the last twenty years. And always in black and white. “I like photographing in black and white because it defines things more, with greater precision. Colour is distracting”, she says. She also likes developing her own photographs: “For years, the darkroom was in the basement of my house, next to the washing machine. And that caused a few disasters, of course… When I lived in New York, I met great photographers like Ralph Gibson, Danny Lyon, Robert Frank, Larry Clark, and I remember seeing them develop films and hanging up the negatives and setting up makeshift darkrooms in motel bathrooms and thinking it all very sensual. At that time, photography and photogrpahers’ work amazed me but I never imagined myself in that role.”
The secret box
For years, she kept the photos she took in boxes, inside a cupboard, and never showed anyone outside her circle of friends. “Sometimes, when my children were younger, I’d show them and ask: ‘Do you think this is a good photo?’. They would look at me with that ‘what-do-you-mean-by-that-are-you-mad?’ look and I’d put the photos back. Until one day, a friend of mine said: ‘Let’s take them to an art director I know’. And I thought: ‘Why not?’ It was good to hear someone else’s opinion, although it was only that, an opinion, because I had no intention of doing anything with the photos. However, it led to my first book and that was exciting, as exciting as it was unexpected.”
Perhaps, it was only by showing the world what her eyes see via the camera lens did she feel like a real photographer. She published a second book and has had exhibitions all over the world. Now, it’s Portugal’s turn to discover her work. The actress gave the title Unseen to the 134 photographs on show at the Centro Cultural de Cascais until 19th August. They were taken in Mexico, Italy, Scandinavia, Minnesota, Scotland, Russia and in various countries in the Middle East. They are divided into two series, Things I See and Mexico, on Scene.
She recognises that there’s a lot of cinema in her photographs. “It’s the theatricality of the moment that interests me. It’s the light, some gesture, the context or some other special aspect that gets my attention and makes me want to take that photograph, tell that story”. “I love taking photographs at night. There are things that only happen at night and there’s something about the night that makes people behave differently and the atmosphere different.”
She spent less than 24 hours in Portugal and it’s unlikely that she had time to use her camera much. She was tired and stayed there on the hotel terrace, gazing at the sea and sipping sangria.
by Maria João Vieira