Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto will be joined by American Horror Story alums Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Lily Rabe for Season 2, series executive producer Ryan Murphy announced Friday night.
He revealed little else about the premise of the next batch episodes during a PaleyFest event for the FX drama, moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Tim Stack. But Murphy did say writing has begun with shooting set to begin in July. He previously said that the second season would be set in a “horror institution.”
Before the panel, Lange, who had just gotten back from Mexico, told TVGuide.com that she’s still “in the dark” about her new character. Asked if she wanted it to be someone different or similar to Constance, Lange said she’s hoping for both. “I wouldn’t want to reprise the same kind of character, but the thing I loved about Constance was that she was a big character,” she said. “It was very emotional. There was a lot of dark humor to her. She had many contradictory aspects. All of those things, I hope we can find a way to create with the new character.”
Asked about bringing the same actors back for a show that would be basically resetting itself next season, Murphy compared it to Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre, the repertory company of stage and radio performers founded in the 1930s. Paulson, who also claimed not to know much about the plot, told us she was happy to return just to work with Murphy again. “I don’t think they’ve ever done a show where a group of actors then came back the next year and played entirely different people and even called it the same thing. Leave it to Ryan Murphy,” she said.
As far as character descriptions, Murphy would only say, “everyone will be playing the opposite of what they played.”
Will the second season focus on a new set of ghosts? Not likely. “Every season is a new haunting,” Murphy said. “There are so many great genre subsets of horror… there’s only one rule for the show: no werewolves, no vampires.” He promised the new episodes would be “equally terrifying” albeit “totally different” from the first season, and further teased that he’s much more interested in something that’s “historically accurate” rather than more traditionally supernatural stories.
Murphy said he expects the second season of American Horror Story to return the third week of October on FX.
Other tidbits from the panel: Asked about filming Vivien’s gruesome birth, Season 1 star Connie Britton said “it was hilarious… poor Matt Ross spent hours at my crotch. It was a fun time.” (She added the scene took three days to shoot.) Lange said she believes “there was a lot of poetry to Constance. I don’t know if it got lost in… everything.” Series executive producer Brad Falchuk said the show had always been planned as an anthology series because it would be very difficult to maintain the suspense of a horror show season to season. Their idea is “every year you have a new tension, a new group of people to f— with,” he said. As for the Harmons, who all died in murder house by season’s end, Murphy said it wasn’t a sad fate as far as he’s concerned. “I thought it was a happy ending. I did!”
Finally, for viewers still curious about Constance’s never-revealed fourth child, producers know exactly who it is. The kid’s scenes were just cut — and perhaps they’re not dead yet. “We have not lost sight of the child,” Murphy said. “And a show like this? That could be Season 4!”
What do you think the “horror institution” — allegedly teased in the penultimate episode of the first season — is? Who else from the first season would you like to see pop back up into the Horror Story world?