He’s American Horror Story’s school shooter, rapist, demon daddy, and homophobic killer who should never be allowed near a fire poker again. And, yet, depending on who you ask, Tate Langdon (played by Evan Peters) is also the show’s heartthrob: He’s misunderstood. He’s protective. He wants to spend all of eternity with Violet. (Never mind that he’s insane!) We spoke with Peters ahead of tonight’s season finale about whether his fangirls are right in the head, auditioning for The Hunger Games, and lube.
Violet said at the end of last episode that Tate is all darkness. Is that how you see your character?
No. I mean, I think he wants to be good. I just think that he messes everything up. He goes about it the wrong way; he goes about it in a dark way, I guess.
Yes, killing and rape are dark! Are you surprised that you have so many fangirls, considering? There’s a Tatesfangirl Tumblr.
I literally didn’t know what Tumblr was [until] I did a photo shoot with Tyler Shields, and he texted me, and he’s like, “Dude, all the girls love you.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” And he said there were all these Tumblr views or something. And I didn’t want to text back, like, “What’s Tumblr?” So I just Googled it.
What do you think it says about girls, that so many of them like Tate?
I think that it’s fascinating. I mean, I think there’s something kind of sexy about Tate. There’s something that’s sexy about a guy who has the strength to kill somebody, but is also vulnerable enough to be in love. It’s just those two sides — like, I don’t know why, but women for some reason aren’t attracted to normal guys, like, guys who are in between. But if you really take a step back and look at Tate, he’s insane. The way he loves Violet is creepy; it’s completely unhealthy. But I can see why they are attracted to him: He’s totally in love with Violet. And he’s a gangster.
Are there any unanswered questions that bother you about the show?
Not really. I don’t know what they’re going to do next season. So that would be nice to know. [Otherwise], it’s a ghost story. So it’s like, Okay, in this ghost story, ghosts can get humans pregnant. Cool. You know?
How into ghost stories were you before all this?
Not that interested. Because they were really scary to me and sort of gave me anxiety. I like to watch comedies; the most dramatic that I used to get was Forrest Gump. And then this show came along and now I’m watching really dark stuff and scary stuff.
Have any scenes been hard for you to shake?
Not really. To me, it’s really technical when we’re shooting. It’s very demanding work. You sort of just have to be there all the time, in terms of being in the character and stuff like that.
Do you always stay in character? Are you a Method actor?
I would love to be able to stay in character the whole time, but it’s just too crazy. I like my friends, I don’t want to lose my friends. And I don’t want my family to hate me. And I just feel like if I stayed in character it would be very self-destructive. He’s too unpredictable and crazy, and to take that person home with you at night, I think it’s dangerous in a way.
You tested for the role of Peeta in Hunger Games, right?
I did, yeah. That was really cool; I got to do a scene with Jennifer Lawrence. I was nervous as hell, because she’s such a fantastic actress. And the movie is such a great story — I love all those books. I can’t wait to see the movie. I’m so psyched.
Have you seen the trailer?
Yeah, it looks amazing. And I love Jennifer Lawrence. She’s a total fox. And such a good actress. It’s ridiculous.
Were you as nervous for your American Horror Story audition as you were for Hunger Games?
It was so weird how relaxed I was for the audition. I wasn’t, like, freaking out or anything. I guess creepy comes natural to me — I hate to say that.
Was Ryan Murphy in the room when you auditioned? Were you intimidated by him?
Ryan was in the test session. If anything, I was more intimidated by the producer Dante [Di Loreto] — he was giving me notes and stuff before the actual test took place. I didn’t even know which one Ryan was. I looked him up online to see what he looked like, and he looked all sharp — he was wearing a suit or something in the picture I saw online — and then I saw him in the test room and he was wearing some funky clothes. He had a cool hoodie on, some cool pants. Very stylish-looking, but very laid-back. Almost kind of hip-hop looking. He was just sitting there in the bottom row and I saw him out of the corner of my eye and went, I wonder if that’s him?
Were you not a big Glee fan, then?
I watched the first couple of episodes with my girlfriend at the time, and then we split up and I didn’t really watch it anymore. I think it’s a cool show and very positive.
What would you think of a musical episode of American Horror Story?
Ha. That would be hilarious. I’ve been pitching that for a while now, but they’re not really going for it.
Is shooting in the latex suit the worst?
It’s really uncomfortable in the — I don’t know how else to say it — crotch area. It’s tight; it’s tight everywhere. It’s all latex, so it’s very thin, almost like you’re walking around naked, and it’s chilly. You gotta lube up for it and slip it on.
How long does it take you to clean yourself up afterwards, so you don’t feel all gross?
Well, I just basically peel the suit off and hang it up and put on my normal clothes and go home and take a shower. I don’t know if you’ve ever put on lube before, but it’s not like there’s a layer of Vaseline on you; it’s just almost like your skin is super smooth and slick; it feels kind of gross, but at the same time, you feel really well moisturized. You’re not like, “Ew, get it off of me.” You’re more like, “This is kind of gross. I want to get this off as soon as possible. But maybe I can stop and get a sandwich first.”