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Yahoo! TV Q&A: Mark Consuelos disappears into 'American Horror Story'

Sarah D. Bunting
November 28, 2012
"American Horror Story: Asylum" -- "Nor'easter"
Mark Consuelos as Spivey in the "American Horror Story: Asylum" episode, "Nor'easter."

You may know Mark Consuelos as Mateo Santos from daytime drama "All My Children"; you may know him as Mr. Kelly Ripa (the couple married in 1996 and have three kids). But you may not have known him as Spivey, the creepy peeping Tom with dysfunctional dental work who was lurking in a closet on last week's "American Horror Story." We didn't recognize the guy.

And that's just fine with Consuelos, who's thrilled to be on "AHS" and doing something different, despite lengthy stretches in the makeup chair and never really knowing what the script is going to make him do. He spoke to us earlier this week about Spivey's grill, Ryan Murphy's vision, and what's next for him.

So…your character's exposing himself to little kids, getting injected with syphilis…


It's kiiiiind of a far cry from your previous work. How did you come into this role?

Thank God. I was so happy, to try to, to have the opportunity to take stuff in a different direction, I really really am.

I was speaking to Ryan Murphy about a project, another project that we didn't work together on, and he insisted that I didn't do it, I turned it down, and I -- that would never happen; I would never turn something down that he was giving me the chance to do. And he says, "You absolutely did," and we were laughing about it, and he [said], "Oh, I think there's something else we can work together on," and we had dinner and we discussed "American Horror Story"; I was such a big fan of the first season.

I knew that some of the same actors were coming back, but playing different roles, which I thought was just brilliant, and a [true] opportunity for those actors as well; and then we started getting into me, playing Spivey, started talking about specifically the central characteristics, not so much of a backstory -- a little bit of a backstory, but we wanted to, I guess for lack of a better word, make me unrecognizable in it, which I was so so excited to do. "Your teeth, we've gotta start with your teeth," you know, and his physicality and his hair … and how are you gonna get away from what people are used to seeing -- it's always exciting.

Watch a preview clip for this week's episode:

So the darkness and creepiness of the show attracted you to the role?

Uh huh.

You did do a guest shot on "[Law & Order]: SVU," but this is kind of another level of darkness and intensity.

Yeah, yeah, after watching it: "Wow. I mean, this could be some -- he's asking me to do some things that I haven't done." And as an actor … you're like, "I'm not sure I can do that," [but then you think], no, actually, I can do that, I'm being assigned to do it, and I was really happy, you know, once you get into it and once you're on set with great directors and great crew -- they set you up to absolutely succeed, on that show.

In terms of the physical transformation, Chloe Sevigny was telling me that it just took hours to achieve those revolting boils on the face. Were you in the makeup chair for half a day?

I'm the eternal optimist; if somebody said, "It's gonna take four hours," or it's gonna take four months to construct something or do renovation, I'm like, "Yeah, yeah -- we're gonna get that done in two months," or somebody says it's gonna take four hours for makeup, I'm like, "Yeah, right -- it's gonna be so easy, it's gonna be so fast, I'll be done in an hour." They meant, and were right about, every single minute.

[laughs] You're listening to, like, 15 podcasts.

I did not mind; I did not mind a bit; I enjoyed every last second of it, I thought it was really, really cool. Now, if I had to do that every single day, for six months, I'm sure it would start to become…less than interesting. But to do it the couple times I've done it, and see -- they're such artists, they really are, and they're really good at what they do. That whole team there is just absolutely fantastic.

But to answer your question, it took every bit of -- like, I think the first time it was around three hours? So, yeah.

[Related: Read the Y!TV interview with Chloe "Shelley" Sevigny]

So is your character…done, on this series, on this season? Or do we see more of him?

The great thing about the show is that you never really know? When someone's been off, or if they're going away, or they're coming back, and to be honest, a lot of times I, I would not know until like five days before whether I was working that week or not. So, in true "American Horror Story" form, I'm gonna tell you that you're just going to have to wait and see.

Yeah, we figured.

Anything could happen on that show.

Flash-forwards; you never know.


Did you always know that this was going to be the direction that the character went in, that you would wind up as this experimentee, or was that also something that you didn't know until you showed up, or you got the script?

No, I think we did talk about it; I don't think I fully understood the vision in Ryan's mind. You know, he's like, "You have this and that, and you turn into this," and I'm like, "Yeahhh" -- I was still thinking about the teeth. I was still thinking about this grill of teeth that they gave me.

So, absolutely. I didn't quite understand it; even when you describe what the transformation would be, until you get there and see what they do, you're never really prepared for it. I was so blown away by what they do.

What is coming up next for you? Are you gonna do a little Disney-princess movie to cleanse the palate?


Or are you going to keep going in this horror-movie direction? What do you think is next for you?

You know, it's so funny, because in between a couple of these episodes, I did an episode of "Guys With Kids," so I literally went from doing what you saw me do last week, to carrying a kid around all week. So much fun.

I really love the opportunity to get into this dramatic stuff, it's so fun; I would like to obviously do a little bit of everything. You know, the past couple years I have been kind of focusing more on the production company and doing that, being closer to home while the kids were young and growing up, but they're getting a little bit older now, so I think opportunities are presenting themselves which I'm really, really excited about.

I just shot a pilot that's [for] Comedy Central that's really super-funny…I don't know, I think I'm just gonna have to wait and see what happens, but I would love to continue on this trajectory of getting jobs that people didn't expect that I would get.

Watch Consuelos (with his regular teeth) and Kelly Ripa on "Watch What Happens Live" as they re-enact a "Real Housewives" moment:

"American Horror Story" airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on FX.