Denis O’Hare Q&A: ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’
“I was so happy with the part, and then around episodes five and six, it really blossomed,” recalls Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story: Hotel“) in our new webcam chat about his breakthrough performance as transgender bartender Liz Taylor. “They started to really give me some amazing stuff, [like] the backstory episode and the love story with Tristan (Finn Wittrock). It was a really family oriented group and so it made sense to me that we structured a lot of stuff around real basic issues of family, love and fulfillment.”
“I think that’s the thing that was so amazing about this season,” O’Hare continues. “We’re not just genre, we’re not just doing crazy stuff. It’s always about real people — or real vampires or real ghosts or real freaks — but it’s real characters who are struggling with basic human emotions. And as actors, we have to go there in every one of these scenes.”
Liz Taylor had an affinity for beautiful makeup and dresses, but why does O’Hare think the character didn’t wear wigs? “Our hairdresser Monte Haught was desperate to get me in a wig because we’ve worked together for four seasons now and he’s always done my hair. But I think from Ryan Murphy‘s point of view and the other writers, it was a form of honesty. This is a character who has nothing to hide. She absolutely was who she was … and part of that was just shaving her head and just letting it all hang out.”
Turning the discussion to the Emmy Awards, O’Hare reveals that he has a “conundrum” this year if he’s nominated as Best Supporting Actor because he has too many great episodes from which to choose as his Emmy submission. “I’m totally torn,” admits the two-time nominee for “AHS: Murder House” (2012) and “AHS: Freak Show” (2015).
“The backstory episode where Lady Gaga helps Nick become Liz is an amazing episode. But then so is the love scene between Tristan and Liz, and then the whole death scene is an incredible mini opera.” (Gold Derby readers, visit our forums right here and say which episode YOU think O’Hare should submit to the Emmy judges if he’s nominated.)
Also in our chat, O’Hare talks about working with Wittrock, Lady Gaga and Kathy Bates and teases what little he knows about the next cycle of “American Horror Story.”