Reality Shows

AHS Roanoke Wanted to Beat Actors In A Different Way

Posted on April 06 2017 by Editor

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AHS Roanoke Wanted to Beat Actors In A Different Way

This year’s Paley Fest closed with a panel from FX’s “American Horror Story (AHS): Roanoke”. A screening of the finale episode was following by a discussion panel lead by Tim Stack from Entertainment Weekly.

In attendance were cast members from “American Horror Story: Roanoke” Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Denis O’Hare, Cheyenne Jackson, and Adina Porter. Executive Producers Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear were also on the panel to divulge exclusive behind-the-scenes information that went into the making of season 6.

AHS Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Denis O'Hare, Cheyenne Jackson

(l-r) Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Denis O’Hare, Cheyenne Jackson (Photo: HOLLYWOOD JUNKET)

It was a fitting close to the Paley Fest this year by showing the season 6 finale of AHS. This episode opened with its own characters who are cast members on a TV show, that are being adored by their fans at a mock Paley Fest.

It was revealed by Minear that real-life AHS bloggers were used in the opening sequence. This later got really real! He also said why they decided on the plot line. “Roanoke is one of these great American legends of what happened to the people there,” stated Minear. He said it’s why they revisited Roanoke. The season was depicted as a paranormal documentary titled “My Roanoke Nightmare” which recounted the nightmare story of a couple’s (portrayed by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr.) terrifying experiences after moving into a haunted house.

Falchuck stated that “every season we try to do something really different from before. We wanted it to be as scary as possible. We really wanted to beat the actors in a different way.”

Roanoke was the first season where the plot and cast were not revealed before the first episode aired. One security step taken, Minear said, was that the Roanoke scripts were water-marked. “We tried to make sure nothing got leaked.” At the beginning of every season in order to secure the tax credit to film in Los Angeles, they have to submit a synopsis. “We made up a bat-shit crazy story. Next season, we’re doing it!” Minear said. Weather or not he was joking is yet to be seen.

On the secrecy, Sarah Paulson said of Roanoke, “this was really blacked-out. There was nothing we could say.” One surprise came even to producers was when Adina Porter’s character “Lee Harris” became the focus of Roanoke. Falchuk said they hadn’t planned on that.

When Cuba Gooding Jr. got tapped for AHS, he said he binged watched from season one to five. “I actually fell in love with the idea of the show.” He compared it to the Twilight Zone. “It’s brilliant. It’s really brilliant.”.

The exterior of the house used in Roanoke was in Malibu and the interior was in Calabasas. “We built that. That wasn’t a real house,” said Minear.

Later, the discussion was opened to fans in the audience who were allowed to ask uncensored questions. This also led to some fans “fanning-out” as one approached the stage to give Paulson and Bates letters. One fan question was, did the actors who played the “real people” on the show stay separate from each other? Adina Porter, who played Lee Harris, said “I’m not going to tell Angela Basset (who portrayed “Lee Harris”) how to act.” Paulson said they shot their (real people) stuff in an entire day.

Cheyenne Jackson who plays a TV producer on Roanoke was asked who he base his character on. He answered, “I love UnReal.” He credited actress Constance Zimmer’s “Quinn King” reality television producer character for much of his inspiration. He said, Quinn is so single-minded that nothing would get in the way of her shot. He wanted to be the type where if someone is getting their head cut off in the background, it’s not going to get in the way if him getting his shot.

Although fellow cast member Angela Bassett was not in attendance on the Paley Fest panel, everyone there had very fond memories of and she left great impressions on them all. Bassett also directed an episode. Minear said Bassett was going back and forth from her Lee character to her own character and it just blew him away. He added, that the found footage stuff was really shot on phones by the actors, along with security cameras.

Kathy Bates chased someone down Hollywood Blvd. one early morning during the filming of a scene. It happen to be the same morning that she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Falchuk said “this season was different because we were more isolated.” Minear stated that it was actually hard to write Roanoke season with all the uses of the cameras and having it written in the script when someone was holding-up a camera. “There were hidden cameras, then there were the cameras that the actors were wearing.” Producers said there were 20-30 cameras. Bates called it “a nightmare.”

Bates continued, “I remember in a scene when I was sawing off her arm, I could see the cameras in the mirror.” They said, “Fuck! Are we going to do this again!” Bassett directed the sixth episode. Cuba Gooding Jr. pointed-out that the actress played his sister in AHS, and his mother in “Boyz in the Hood.” “She doesn’t age!” exclaimed Gooding Jr.

Paulson also commented on Basset’s directing of the show. “She wanted to be there for all of us. It was a pivotal episode.” Paulson was asked when did she know she’d be playing three characters this season. Paulson said Ryan Murphy called her on the phone and said “lady, it’s going to be the return of Lana Winters!”

What character would Paulson like to revisit? She said Cordelia because Cordelia was just getting her. “I wonder if that would have changed her.” On the same topic, Bates said she’d like to revisit “a new character” as she nudged Minear. Joan Rodell. Denis O’Hare said “I want to go back and get Larry out of jail. I want Spalding and the baby to grow-up.”

The next season of “American Horror Story” is rumored to be Election. The producers on the panel did not confirm. One fan noted that Paulson consistently portrays media related characters. Is this intentional? Producers said it’s not, and that viewers wouldn’t like the characters that Paulson plays if it wasn’t her portraying them.

Another fan question was if they would consider bringing to “American Horror Story” some real horror stories from slavery. Producers on the panel responded that “we’re never worried about controversy. So, it’s possible.”

AHS Roanoke, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr.

(l-r) Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr. (Photo: HOLLYWOOD JUNKET)

The lighter side of AHS is that the actors seem to have a lot of fun together. Particularly, Bates and Paulson. In response to a question about naming one of her “great” stories about AHS any season. Bates recalled when she and Paulson ended-up at a Dominos while Paulson was “drunk off her butt.” A bad story, Bates said was when Rose passed-away.

Producers stated to the fans about AHS being connected. “It’s always a little bit of both.” One fan in the audience got up to tell them she runs an online community of about 20,000 AHS fans. She said “there’s something about the show why we tune in. It makes us feel so much better.”


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