[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE FINALE OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM]
Last night’s finale of American Horror Story: Asylum was great for many reasons, most notably the award-worthy performance of Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters. Paulson’s Lana was the only character to survive the season and finally ended her own nightmarish journey by killing her serial killer son, played by Dylan McDermott. EW talked to Paulson about the role of her career and why she signed on for another round of American Horror Story.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First of all, I love when you’re about to start the interview and you say, “Honey, I like to do my own brows.”
SARAH PAULSON: That’s actually something they stole from me. It was originally supposed to be, “I like to do my own mascara.” But I have an eyebrow obsession. So the makeup artist on the show was like, “You should make it about her eyebrows.”
This has been such a wild run for you and Lana’s arc. What did you think about Lana’s wrap-up?
I thought it was amazing. It was more than I could have ever imagined. Part of the reason this part has been a part that I have loved playing almost more than anything I’ve ever done is very few times do you have a full trajectory and full story. I started as this intrepid reporter that was a little nosey and a little confident and really wanted to get her scoop. She gets held hostage at Briarcliff and given electric shock treatment and all because she’s gay. Then to only have her escape and be taken by the serial killer who rapes her and tortures her and kills her lover. And then only to have her get out and be an enormous success and have that fame rush. If there’s any person in the world who deserves to forget about what happened to her and embrace some giant fame ball, it’s Lana Winters. For her to be the last man standing and to have a whole story and all that stuff in the ‘70s, it was very moving.
How long did the old age make up take?
I had a 3:45am pick up for a 4am make-up start. And I was pretty much ready 4 and a half hours later. It was pretty brutal and I’d never worn prosthetics like that before. They’re itchy as hell. It’s just a bizarre feeling. It’s like wearing a mask. It’s hard to feel like yourself.
What was that scene like at the end with you and Dylan?
I’m a huge Dylan McDermott fan from Steel Magnolias and The Practice. I was very excited to do that scene. That was a very intense night. We were running out of time and it was a very big scene. That was the last thing we shot. We wrapped shooting that scene so we finished the season doing that stand-off. We finished at like 3:30am in and we all had a big toast of scotch. It was kind of wild. Lana’s old enough now to go, If I’m gonna die now, I’m gonna die. Little does he know, she’s prepared for him. She probably had a gun in every pocket of every chair in that house. She probably has a panic room.
You were in that smock for most of the season and then you got some awesome outfits at the very end. It must have been so fun to finally dress up.
I know! I felt like Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City. If I could have burned that blue smock, I would have. I didn’t realize there were options, like Lizzie got to wear a smock with a tie to define her waist. I was wearing a f***** housecoat. I had no idea I was gonna be in the asylum for that long. So by the time I got out Ryan was like, “Put that b**** in some nail polish!” Like let’s go! I looked just like my mother. I kept sending my mother pictures being like, “Does this remind you of anyone?”
It’s interesting think about the beginning of the show and see how Lana really became the focus of the series as it progressed and it’s really about her journey.
I knew up until aversion/conversion therapy. I didn’t know Zach was going to take me. I didn’t know anything like that was going to happen. Even up to the aversion/conversion therapy, I was like, this is the greatest thing I’m ever going to get to do and I didn’t know what was coming. There’s kist no doubt about it: I feel like I got the greatest part I’ve ever had.
And you’ve signed on for season 3?
I have, yes.
Do you know anything?
I know jack s***. If this year is any indication, I certainly know that if there’s any person I’m going to go into something blindly with, it would be Ryan. He trusts me to show up and do the best to honor what he’s written. I don’t know what he has in store for me but I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get in the muck.
He always has people play the opposites each season.
Right. I was thinking about that so I was thinking I might not be a very nice person. I might be a perpetrator of horrible things as opposed to being perpetrated.
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