In the past four seasons of FX’s “American Horror Story” franchise, Emmy nominee Sarah Paulson has played a psychic, a journalist, a witch, and conjoined twins in “Freak Show.” However, this season on “American Horror Story: Hotel,” she stars as Hypodermic Sally — a drug addict who (spoiler alert) was pushed from a window at the end of the season premiere.
“American Horror Story” cast love working for the secretive executive producer Ryan Murphy. Recently Paulson, who will also star in Murphy’s “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, spoke about the scary role she plays in “Hotel.”
We did see Sally have a horrifying fall in the season opener, so what is she? “I am trapped at the hotel. So yes, I guess I would be a ghost. No one has ever defined that for me. It’s one of the things about “American Horror Story” that I like. I don’t really have the answer. I know I definitely fell. I know I definitely didn’t survive the fall. And I know I’m definitely still on the show. You can deduce what you will from that.”
Adding, “This year, I’m having a lot of fun. On “Freak Show,” it was hard work, mentally and physically, to play those twins. We were in New Orleans shooting, so it was very hot and the conditions were not conducive to doing anything other than lying with an ice pack on your head. Season Three (“Coven”) was fun for me as Cordelia, but I spent a lot of time blind so it was hard to know where the bathroom is. This year for me, I can make really crazy choices in my scenes because Sally just doesn’t give a bleep. She’s incredibly selfish, so I can make selfish choices. That’s really fun, because that’s not really how I work as an actor. I haven’t really had an opportunity to portray any of it.”
Will we find out more about who Sally was before she arrived at the Hotel Cortez? “Yes, but that will be later in the season. I’m doing double duty. I’m playing Marcia Clark on “American Crime Story,” which is luckily shooting on the same lot. But it’s meant that my time in “Horror Story” is not as full as it will be later,” Paulson added.
Sarah and Kathy Bates (Iris) have grown closer over the years working together on “American Horror Story,” so what does she think of Kathy? “She is so much fun! Because we have such a delightful relationship in life, we actually just go for it. We both get the giggles, and she’s much better than I am at keeping it together. I’m the first person to laugh — always have been, always will be. It happened with Jessica (Lange), too. Typically, I’m the aggressor in my scenes with Kathy, so she’s in a different headspace with me. It’s not my buddy Kathy that I’m playing with, it’s Iris, and she’s a real pill! I had almost nothing to do with her on “Coven.” And on “Freak Show,” we had one or two scenes early on, and then none again. So it’s really wonderful to get to work with actors in a different way. Different sides of your personality come out. It’s very exciting.
She also admitted Sally’s addiction is more love than drugs. We’ll see where this all goes this week, when Angela Bassett arrives as actress Ramona.
“American Horror Story: Hotel” airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays at FX.