Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Season 2 premiere of Scream Queens, “Scream Again.”
When Lea Michele found out her character, Hester, was the mastermind behind the murders of Scream Queen’s first season, she was elated … for about 10 seconds.
“It was pretty cool to go from being good girl Rachel Berry to a murderous, scheming Hester [Ulrich]. I was so happy when we finally found out at the last minute that I was behind it and I got the Chanels blamed for it,” Michele tells Yahoo TV . “But then I immediately freaked out. I said to the producers, ‘I am happy to be the killer, but I want to make sure that I still get to come back next season.’ I just want to work with Ryan Murphy forever. Because [exec producers] Ryan and Brad [Falchuk] see things for me that I don’t see for myself. Playing a killer was never on my acting bucket list, but it clearly should have been.”
Luckily for her, the Chanels did take the fall for the crime spree at Wallace University and the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house that she, her brother Boone (Nick Jonas), and her certifiably crazy adopted mom, Gigi (Nasim Pedrad), planned and perpetrated, so she lived to fright another season.
Yahoo TV: The first season was so well received. I’m not sure you guys can top it.
Lea Michele: We are certainly going to try. Partly for selfish reasons because I had as much fun, if not more, making it than everyone did watching it. I’m working with some of my best friends. I’ve known Emma [Roberts] for many years. And having gone from Glee to this, I have such a great working relationship with Ryan and Brad, so coming on to do this show was so exciting. We filmed in New Orleans last season. I honestly think Scream Queens, that first season, is going to be a cult classic. That first season is going to be watched and passed from friend to friend for years down the line. They had a lot to top in the sorority season. But so far I am pretty positive that this season is going to be just as loved.
We have a new location. There are some great new and handsome actors coming in, like John Stamos and Taylor Lautner. We’ve only done one episode so far, and I have high hopes. I laughed a lot, and I can’t wait for the fans to see what we have up our sleeve.
Were you excited to do something scary and gory with Jamie Lee Curtis, an icon of the slasher/horror genre?
I am obsessed with horror films. I have been watching them since I was a little kid. Sitting on the couch with pizza and a glass of wine watching Jawbreaker or Halloween or Evil Dead is a perfect night for me. It has been a real treat getting to know and to work with Jamie, who between her and her mother [Janet Leigh] have such an amazing lineage in the genre. I rewatched Halloween on Halloween last year, and I sent her pictures throughout. We are following in the footsteps of Halloween 2, which was set in a hospital. I think it is cute that Ryan is continuing to pay homage to the movie and other classics in the genre.
What can you tell us about this season?
That is the frustrating part. I cannot tell anybody much about my storyline. I am so grateful to Ryan and Brad and [creator] Ian [Brennan] for giving me such fun stuff to play with as an actor for the last eight years. I got to play someone so feisty, so naughty, and a little bit evil last year. This year I am just bats*** crazy and there is nothing I like to play more, as it turns out, than f***ing bats*** crazy.
I will say that I have worked with Niecy Nash already, and that was a highlight because she ad-libs a lot and they really just let her play. I can’t wait to see how they edited that scene together and which of the crazy stuff she said made it. Brad directed it and he just stood back and let her have fun.
We know the girls you framed get exonerated and released from the mental hospital. Are they out for revenge?
So far there’s been no attempts at revenge against me. The girls are just happy to be out and free. They are working in the dean’s teaching hospital. I am somewhere else entirely. I am not working with the girls in the hospital. Obviously, if they are no longer to blame, someone else has to be. When a new killer shows up at the hospital, Jamie Lee Curtis comes to ask my thoughts on what is happening, as she knew I was the killer last time. That is a little tease on what I get to do this year.
Last year, they kept the killer’s identity a secret until the very end. Did you like getting information on a need-to-know basis? Do you hope you are the bad girl once again?
I didn’t know it was me until I got the script for the last episode right before we filmed the finale. I am glad I didn’t know it was me; I would have played it differently. I genuinely did not think that it was me. I thought she was weird and a little dark, but I did not think she was one of the killers. I went along completely unassuming. I think they will handle it the same way this year and keep it completely under wraps from us actors until we need to know. They even released the finale script but held back the last few pages until the very end. That made it more exciting for all of us. You never knew if it was your last week or if you were a red devil. I will be happy just to be back whether I am up to my old tricks or innocent this time around.
Jamie told us that she was so impressed by how well the cast gets along.
These girls are my best friends. Everyone can see on social media that even when we aren’t working we are spending our free time together. They are all great actresses. I’m 30 now too, so I feel like a big sister sometimes. I know Taylor was really nervous about joining the cast because he’s never done anything like this and we are already all friends, but literally within one day he felt at home. We love him and he is a part of the crew now. He and John came and fit in immediately. And who doesn’t want some nice eye candy walking around set?
Are you happy to be filming in Los Angeles this season, where you live, instead of relocating to New Orleans again?
We loved New Orleans. It is a great town ,but our personal lives are here and it is good to be home. Billie [Lourd] and I go to SoulCycle. Emma and I are together doing dinners all the time. I get to sleep in my own bed. And for me it is an extra homecoming, as we are back at Paramount using the same soundstages as we did for Glee. They look very different.
The show is know for its biting insults and one-liners. What has been your favorite line?
The one-liners are already incredible, but it will be hard to top my best line — “Be man enough to attack my crack” — from last year. But, writers, please try.
Can we expect the costumes to be as outrageous and as glamorous as last year?
At the moment, Scream Queens is a little more accessible costume-wise this year. The Chanels have had some hard knocks so they are not quite as glamorous as last season. There’s less fur and fewer baubles. It is funny to see them in that position. But they don’t follow rules and they definitely aren’t just going to wear whatever hospital uniform they are given as is. They are still the Chanels, no matter how far they’ve fallen.
As for my wardrobe, I am not a Chanel on the show at the moment. I’m not back to the Doc Martens or the neck brace, but am going more simple with jeans and tees and an eye patch. But I will move into a different uniform that is more interesting than the neck brace. I can’t say any more. I can’t wait for [the premiere] so we can stop keeping secrets. My life will be so much easier then.
Scream Queens returns for Season 2 on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 9 p.m. on Fox.