Sarah Paulson Q&A: ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’
"This was the hardest thing I've ever done, for sure," admits Sarah Paulson ("American Horror Story: Freak Show") during our recent video chat about the challenges of playing conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler. "I played both characters [and] I worked very hard to make sure that the girls had two distinct personalities … In the beginning it was an incredibly terrifying, overwhelming deal in terms of how we were gonna figure out how we were gonna do this."
When she first learned she'd be playing the groundbreaking role of a two-headed woman, Paulson reveals, "I don't think I really believed it until [Ryan Murphy] sent me the first script and I thought, I can't believe this is really happening and that I get to do this. It's really exciting."
Despite the immense challenges that came with playing the two girls, Paulson tells us, "By the time we got to the middle, to the end of the season, I felt that there was nothing they could throw at me within this world that I couldn't pull off in terms of the technicalities of the things we were doing."
Even though Paulson has two Critics' Choice TV Awards victories under her belt, she has yet to win an Emmy despite three prior bids ("Game Change," "AHS: Asylum" and "AHS: Coven"). Could this year be the charm? Gold Derby's combined odds currently have Paulson in first place in the Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress category, one that'll be full of many heavy-hitters. "I feel very honored that when I get nominated I'm up against these sort of very, very celebrated, anointed actresses whom I've always admired," she says. "Pinch me, I can't believe I'm in this company."
Don't forget, Paulson may have a head up on the competition this year because Emmy voters love rewarding performers who play dual roles or have multiple personalities. Just ask Toni Collette ("United States of Tara"), who earned her Emmy in 2009 for showing her range and versatility as a woman battling her alters. Paulson's theory? "I guess it shows a certain range within the show itself."
Also in our chat, Paulson teases her upcoming roles in "American Horror Story: Hotel" (she plays a "badass") and "American Crime Story: The People vs. O. J. Simpson" (she plays Marcia Clark) and relives her favorite moments working with departing star Jessica Lange.