Ryan Murphy unveiled the first three episodes of “American Horror Story: Cult” to journalists on Friday, and Gold Derby was present at the screening in the Zanuck Theater on the Fox Lot in Los Angeles, CA. Murphy spoke about the horror anthology’s politically charged seventh season in a Q&A moderated by FX Networks and FX Production CEO John Landgraf. Fans fear not: we can’t reveals specifics about the episodes until the embargo lifts on August 31, ahead of its September 5 premiere.
Like many anthology series, “American Horror Story” features a large ensemble cast that assumes different roles from season to season. And while favorites like Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates may not be back this year, Murphy hinted of their future returns. “I’m sure [Jessica] will be back one day,” he told the crowd. “Kathy Bates went off to do Chuck Lorre‘s show. She’ll come back one day. Wants to come back. It’s just a very fluid way of working to have a group of people that you love that you can bring back and forth.”
Murphy revealed he had been mulling the idea of “AHS: Cult” for quite some time. “Many seasons, the runner-up idea for the show had been Charles Manson and the Manson family,” he explained. Despite researching the idea for several years, he kept putting it on the back-burner because, “I didn’t know how to make it fresh. But the thing that I just kept being drawn back to was the idea of cult of personalities.” It wasn’t until the 2016 election, when the country watched Donald Trump ascend to the presidency by appealing to, “a sort of disenfranchised community,” that Murphy finally had the creative twist he needed.
Like “Roanoke” last season, “Cult” features a more stripped-down aesthetic than previous installments. “By design, the first five seasons of this show were very operatic,” stated Murphy. “With Season 6, we really wanted to strip everything away and sort of deconstruct it,” which provided, “a really good jolt.” This season, “Everyone seems really turned on because they’re able to express as an artistic family and a community what everybody’s talking about in the world, pro or con.” They were certainly helped by the fact that, “Politics in the past year has become entertainment in a weird way in our country.” He added, “I’ve loved it because the writer’s room has been so volcanic and so emotional.”
When Gold Derby asked whether or not he was prepared for Trump to tweet about the series, Murphy responded in kind. “Well, I would hope that he’d have more important things to do.” But if it happens, “I guess my response would be, ‘Well, I’m not going to respond to that because I think the work speaks for itself.’ But I would be so shocked if he did, and yet not.”
This season features “AHS” stalwarts Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters in the lead roles, former series regulars Cheyenne Jackson, Adina Porter, Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham and Chaz Bono, plus newcomers Billie Lourd, Alison Pill, Colton Haynes, Bill Eichner, Leslie Grossman, Lena Dunham and Randall Park.
Throughout its run, the series has reaped 81 Emmy nominations and 15 wins, including Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress (Lange) in 2012, Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor (James Cromwell) in 2013, and Best Movie/Mini Actress (Lange) and Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress (Bates) in 2014.
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