During the final night of PaleyFest LA, the always intense “American Horror Story” fanbase zeroed in on fan favorite Sarah Paulson, to the point that Kathy Bates took great pleasure in dubbing Paulson “the People’s Princess.” It was all in good fun, though, as the cast goofily bantered back and forth — and, in the case of Cuba Gooding Jr., twerked.
Unfortunately, executive producers Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear spent the night relatively secretive about the upcoming Season 7 of American Horror Story — all we know, so far, is that Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will definitely be returning as leads, and that the season would have something to do with the 2016 election. Falchuk did say, though, that any fan of the series should “set your TiVo.” ‘
The cast was still happy to share details from this past season, and where they’d like the show to go next. When asked the classic question on what characters they’d like to revisit, Sarah Paulson, who got to revisit her “Asylum” character Lana Winters in the finale of “Roanoke,” immediately went to Cordelia from Season 3’s “Coven.” In elaborating on that, she emphasized that “we only got to see her just getting her power… I wonder if she’d end up more like her mother. If the power changed her.”
Denis O’Hare was open to revisiting several of his characters, wanting to get Larry from “Murder House” out of jail. But he is also curious to see his “Coven” character, Spalding, grow up with the baby he stole from Marie. Despite Paulson poking fun at Kathy Bates, in suggesting they just return to her head on a platter from “Coven,” Bates stuck with her interest in continuing into new characters — although she was open to bringing in her portrayal of Joan Blondell in “Feud: Bette and Joan.”
Known for the wide variety of accents she has used during her time on “American Horror Story,” Bates was asked about how she went into the process of putting on her Colonial Era accent for Agnes Mary Winstead, the Butcher. According to Bates, she was channeling the father in the 2015 film, “The Witch,” directed by Robert Eggers — Paulson recalled sharing a dressing room with Bates and listening to her practice her lines in that accent over and over again in awe.
The cast had nothing but kind words to say about Angela Bassett’s TV series directorial debut, “Roanoke’s” pivotal Episode 6. Cheyenne Jackson noted that she directed in the most actor way possible, by asking him before every scene, “What do you need?” And she offered only intensity, even when she, herself, was also acting in a scene.
Kathy Bates also credits Bassett for the wild edge of Agnes Mary Winstead — while Bates had originally played the character as meek, Bassett pushed for her to embrace the role of the Butcher with a bit more glee. Bates couldn’t have been happier with the effect, citing that as something “you only get from an actor-slash-director.”
The panel ended with the cast and producers excited for what’s to come — and there’s plenty in store, given that the series has already renewed up to Season 9. While rumors include a cruise-centered season and a possible upcoming season tying together all the previous seasons, Falchuk simply stressed that “every season, we’ve always tried to do something different from te season before.” Just as the focus on “Roanoke” was to be as scary as possible, compared to the lighter affair of “Hotel,” Season 7 will likely find its own unique path.
PaleyFest L.A. 2017 ran through March 26. Check out IndieWire’s coverage here.