There was the whole moral thing of exhibiting freaks for public entertainment. Because when would I ever perform on stage doing these musical numbers? But when that ended, a lot of these people were institutionalized. They shook their hands in the air and gave the thumbs-down as they watched a live stream of the committee meeting on a big screen.
But he LOVED that tiny little square that I left him!
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“And then I thought, ‘This is brilliant.’”Such is the typical progression of events—are you out of your damn mind gives way to ah, this is genius—when you work with Ryan Murphy, the bold, bonkers, and genre-bending mastermind behind FX’s hit American Horror Story franchise, in addition to past successes including Glee and Nip/Tuck.
He’s changed the landscape of the medium by making scorched earth of its conventions and building his own anarchic TV funhouse on the land.
It’s a way of working that Lange has become particularly accustomed to, having finished her final of four seasons as the star of American Horror Story, winning two Emmys in the process and hoping to vie for her fourth for her performance on the most recent Freak Show incarnation.
It’s a tenure that’s seen her effortlessly navigate the delirious maze Murphy constructed for her, first as boozy steel magnolia Constance Langdon in Murder House, then as the terrifying Sister Jude in Asylum and the fabulous Supreme witch Fiona Goode in Coven, who doles out bitchy one-liners as expertly as her spells.With her time on American Horror Story at its twisted happily ever after and awards season firmly underway, Lange spoke to us about why her final season on the show was the highlight, why she’s stepping away from the franchise, and how the Freak Show season was even her idea.(In an article published this month, she also spoke to The Daily Beast about comparisons to Caitlyn Jenner.)Plus, she talks about passing the American Horror Story baton to Lady Gaga, who will star in the next installment, Hotel. I loved every season, some more than others, of course. What I loved most about doing these four years was working with Ryan Murphy, working with this group of kind-of repertory actors, and yet doing something completely different every year. First of all, the character, because this character was enormous. With going back into her history, I was very fascinated with this ’20s and ’30s Germany, between the two World Wars, that period of time that Cabaret takes place. And I loved that my character emerged from that, the whole sordid history that she kept secret. Like, wow, it just keeps getting crazier and crazier. I mean, when it was at its height during the Depression, this was the form of entertainment for rural America. I can only imagine how strange and fun and scary…All of that. It’s amazing, because when he said she was a cabaret singer I assumed we’d be doing period songs. So the more clear question would be: How do you feel about her leading the show in your absence? The same ones I had the great opportunity to work with. But all I can say is she’s going to have good writing and she’s going to have great actors to work with. Yes, she talks about the headlines that were made when she was first asked about it at a recent press conference. Now that the show is finished airing, we’re in the midst of awards season, and the new season is about to go into production—how do you feel now that your four years is over and you’ve had some time to process it? And I appreciate so much the characters that they wrote for me. It was just a lot to play, and to be able to do those musical numbers. Then Ryan, I think in his very brilliant way, decided to run it up against the beginning of TV. She said, “You were like my sister,” and she actually meant it. Then he gave me the first number to learn, which was “Life on Mars.” At first I thought, “Oh, no, we’re way off track.” And then I thought, “This is brilliant.” It was great to learn. Your application will be processed in the next 1 to 2 business days, and you will be notified by email of your approval.Jessica Lange remembers when Ryan Murphy told her she’d be singing a David Bowie song in an episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show set in the 1950s.“At first I thought, ‘Oh no, we’re way off track,’” she laughs.To restore access and understand how to better interact with our site to avoid this in the future, please have your system administrator contact [email protected]