Witches cast spell over Emmy voters: ‘American Horror Story: Coven’

Witches reigned supreme at the recent “American Horror Story: Coven” Q&A with Emmy voters at the TV Academy, but other cast and crew had their say, too. Actors Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Denis O’Hare, Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe were joined by music score composer James Levine and others.

While much of the miniseries’ intrigue involved a battle over which of the show’s younger witches would become the coven’s supreme leader, Sidibe tells Gold Derby that the actresses fought among themselves off screen during production since they didn’t know how it would all end up.

At first most cast members believed Taissa Farmiga‘s character Zoe Benson would be the chosen one, but “then she started saying it in every episode and we were like ‘You are clearly not going to be the supreme,'” Sidibe says. “And so then at the end it really started to become a race and we would sit in our cast chairs and look at each other like ‘Who’s the real supreme? Who’s it going to be? Who do I have to kill in order to become supreme?’”

In the end, the job went to Sarah Paulson’s character, but Sidibe refuses to accept that as reality.

“Pretty sure it was me,” she adds. “I don’t know what happened in the editing room. The ending that I filmed was me being crowned supreme. And you know, I had a scepter, throne, and everything. I guess it got cut? Whatever. In my own home though, I’m definitely the supreme.”

As the creepy, murderously silent sidekick to Lange’s Fiona Goode, Spalding (Denis O’Hare) was never a winner which is why O’Hare tells Gold Derby that he feels Spalding deserves an Emmy: “I absolutely love my characters, so I feel a sort of strange proprietary sense for them. I feel bad for them. So it’s not that Dennis needs to be nominated. Spalding needs to be nominated. I feel Spalding needs that in his life.”

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The next inception of the anthology series has been revealed as “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” which sounds like an easy transition for a character like Spalding to just hop over to, but O’Hare says Spalding has other priorities: “I think the answer is sadly no. You know at the end of season one Larry was in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and it haunted me. So I feel the same way about Spalding. Except Spalding has his baby. So he’s up there with her and his dolls, not a bad life – if he remembers to feed her.”

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In scoring a series like this, composer James Levine says it’s actually quite simple because he can just write music based on the characters themes, “Most of the major characters have specific themes. In this season of American Horror Story there was the Supreme theme, then the supreme getting her power waning theme, then there was the sax man theme which was a big this season. So yeah, we try to do that.”

Levine says series creator Ryan Murphy doesn’t just focus on the stories, “He’s intimately involved in everything. Usually at the very beginning we spend a lot of time working out what the sound of this season is going to be and as we define that, I’m allowed a little more freedom with sort of a little less interaction so I can sort of go do my thing. We’ve laid the groundwork so I can sort of run free.”

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