With well over 100 projects to his credit, Mark Margolis can certainly be described as a true veteran actor. He recently joined the cast of “American Horror Story: Asylum” as Nazi hunter Sam Goodman and sat down with Dread Central to discuss the show and his role in it.
“I think it’s a pretty terrific show,” Margolis said about “American Horror Story.” “They don’t cut any corners. They go the whole way even though sometimes it’s incredibly gory or awful.”
Margolis, whose credits include “Breaking Bad,” “Oz” and The Wrestler, had not seen “American Horror Story” before joining the cast but now thoroughly enjoys the show. “They do some interesting editing,” Margolis said. “They do some quick cuts that are very reminiscent of what Darren Aronofsky did in the movie Pi. I’ve been in all his movies. You’ll see a quick flash of a needle and then an eyeball and then something else popping. It reminds me of that stuff.”
When asked how he got involved with the project, Margolis said dryly, “I slept with the director.” Then continued, slyly. “No, they came and requested me. They couldn’t find any professional actors to do it.”
“American Horror Story” is becoming well known for its extreme content. Margolis commented, “My wife can’t watch it. She runs away from it. It’s too gory for her. But on the other hand, she can watch a movie where you see 72 people get shot. She’s fine with that, but the minute somebody comes along with an axe and chops off somebody’s hand, she can’t watch anymore. She’s into a different kind of violence. Gun violence is all right with her, but gory violence with knives and scissors and needles and tools or whatever, that throws her. I don’t have a problem with it because I know this stuff is done by creative people.”
Margolis’ character, Nazi hunter Sam Goodman, was introduced in last week’s episode, “I Am Anne Frank.” He was involved in a scene with Jessica Lange as her character, Sister Jude, attempts to acquire Mr. Goodman’s services. “She comes to me because I’m a known Nazi hunter that survived a concentration camp in Europe,” Margolis said. “Goodman is European. You’ll have to see the other episodes to see what happens. She thinks Doctor Arden (James Cromwell) is a Nazi, but I’m going to point out… he’s just an actor, and I know that because I’ve seen him in films. She’s confused.”
When he discussed working with Jessica Lange, though, Margolis stopped joking. “She’s a marvelous creature to work with,” he said. “She’s an incredible actress, and she’s a very strong lady to work with. When I’ve seen her in films, there’s always a degree of fragility, there’s a fragile side. But in working with her, and watching the way she deals with the director, the writing in the script, she’s a pretty tough lady who knows just what she wants. She’s also a lovely, sexy creature from my point of view. Even though she’s not 27 years old anymore, she’s a very attractive lady. I enjoyed working with her. She’s very real.”
On the day of our interview with Margolis, it was announced that “American Horror Story” had been picked up for a third season. Margolis discussed that success and talked about the secretive nature of the production. “I heard that ‘American Horror Story’ got renewed for a third season. Maybe I’ll be in the third season as some of the cast from the first season showed up in the second. I love doing it. They do some very nice work. The writing is wonderful, but they only let me see pieces of the script so I didn’t actually know what was happening in the rest of the episode. I never had that experience before. Usually you get the whole script, no matter what you’re doing in it. They’re very secretive about everything, and for whatever reason, they don’t want the actors to know what’s going on with the other characters in the show. Like, I knew nothing about the Anne Frank character when I did this.”
However, Margolis said he wasn’t bothered by the unorthodox style of distributing the scripts. “We don’t always know the whole backstory of the characters we’re interacting with in our real lives,” Margolis said. “But when you get a whole script, you know the beginning, the middle, who did what and the end. In this case, I really didn’t know anything but my own character and this nun coming to see me about a guy. It was even awhile before I knew she was talking about the character James Cromwell plays.”
As for upcoming projects, Margolis has an impressive one coming out soon. As he mentioned, he’s been featured in all of Darren Aronofsky’s films and will be included in his newest, Noah, as well. “Aronofsky has an incredible new film, the story of Noah and the ark with Russell Crowe playing Noah and Anthony Hopkins playing Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, and Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife. All very good actors. We shot part of it in Iceland and part of it here in New York. But we used Iceland because it’s an incredible place. It looks like the beginning of the world there in some places. It’s a marvelous country, like no place you’ve ever been to. Lovely people there as well.”
Margolis finally gave us a heads-up as to what to expect in upcoming episodes of “American Horror Story: Asylum.” “Check it out next week,” Margolis said. “There are some surprises coming.”
“American Horror Story: Asylum – Episode 6: “The Origins of Monstrosity” (airing November 21st at 10:00 pm e/p)
A mysterious little girl is abandoned at Briarcliff. The Monsignor makes a Faustian pact with Dr. Arden. The origin of Bloody Face is revealed. Directed by David Semel and written by Ryan Murphy.
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