Yesterday FX held a press screening of the first three episodes of “American Horror Story: Cult,” and quite a few juicy tidbits were revealed by exec producer Ryan Murphy afterwards. We’ve compiled the highlights for you here – be sure to click the various links for more.
And, because no day is complete without a new “AHS: Cult” teaser, of course we have another one of those to share as well!
First off, we learned that fan favorite Evan Peters will not just be playing the previously announced character “Kai,” but also cult leaders Charles Manson, David Koresh, Andy Warhol, and Jim Jones (although TVLine quoted Murphy as saying Peters is playing “six different cult leaders” so there might be a surprise still in store for us).
Speaking of Manson, he’s a character Murphy has tried to incorporate into the show for several years… per THR, while putting Season 7 together, he realized that the 2016 election would serve as a better entry point to the story he wanted to explore. “We’re trying to understand how someone who is very charismatic in the culture can rise up and become a leader. We’re not going to say we hate Trump,” said Murphy. “What did Trump tap into? We’re interested in his rise and how that happened.”
One big surprise is that Murphy said “Cult,” unlike every other season, will contain no supernatural elements.
With regard to Warhol, he’s the foil for Lena Dunham’s character, the real-life Valerie Solanas, who tried to kill the artist back in June of 1968. She will appear in Episode 7, “Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag,” in flashbacks. Murphy explained to TVLine, “That episode is about female rage then and in the country now. Valerie Solanas created a thing called the ‘SCUM Manifesto,’ in which she told all women to kill all men [in order to achieve equal power]. We also examine our female characters as they’re trying to figure out a way they can have equal power within this cult that Kai has created.”
The site also provided some insight into Emma Roberts’ character, a newscaster named Serina Belinda who gets a promotion above Adina Porter’s character “simply because she’s much more superficial and willing to do what it takes to survive.” Murphy said that Roberts did one episode “as a favor,” carving some time out of her busy movie schedule.
Finally, with regard to “Cult’s” pedigree, Sidney Lumet’s Network was a big influence on the season. “That movie captured how everyone was losing their shit at the time; and no matter if you’re Democrat or Republican, everyone is still losing their shit,” the “AHS” co-creator told Deadline. But don’t expect this season to be all about Trump and Clinton. “…It’s about somebody who put their finger up to the wind and rose up in power and used people’s vulnerabilities, and they feel the world is on fire.”
“American Horror Story: Cult” debuts on September 5th.
Returning stars include Sarah Paulson (as Ally Mayfair-Richards), Evan Peters (as Kai/Manson/Jones/Koresh/Warhol), Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, Cheyenne Jackson (as Dr. Rudy Vincent), Emma Roberts (as Serina Belinda), Adina Porter (as Beverly Hope), and Chaz Bono. The newcomers announced so far are Lena Dunham (as Valerie Solanas), Billy Eichner (as Harrison Wilton), Billie Lourd (as Winter Anderson), Alison Pill (as Ivy Mayfair-Richards), Colton Haynes (as Detective Samuels), and Leslie Grossman (as Meadow Wilton).
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