Ryan Murphy wasn't present for American Horror Story: Coven's panel at the Television Critics Association fall previews on Friday, but his cast is well-trained in the art of keeping secrets. That said, there was one mother of a reveal that should get AHS fans salivating for the third installment of FX's horror anthology series.
In the third season, returning castmembers Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Denis O'Hare, Alexandra Breckenridge and Frances Conroy, are joined by newcomers Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett,Patti LuPone and Gabourey Sidibe in the New Orleans-set drama that features witches throughout different eras.
"I play Jessica's daughter this year," Paulson revealed before joking, "Chew on that for a while. That's tasty."
Paulson will play Cordelia — a la King Lear — while Lange will play Fiona. "Everyone knows the subtitle is Coven, so some of us play witches, some play historical characters," Lange said. "I do play a witch. We move back and forth in time so it encompasses a lot of different stories."
While Paulson and Lange play fictional characters, Bassett and Bates are playing more historical figures. Bates will play Madame LaLaurie, who in real life was a socialite and serial killer. Bassett, meanwhile, will play Marie Laveau, a Voodoo practitioner. "It's been interesting being in New Orleans because there's such a regard and respect for who she was," Bassett said of her character. "There was a woman in the 1800s who was very influential person in the city, so my character is based loosely on her."
But the women insist that even they don't know much about their characters, keeping with the theme of how Murphy has worked the last few seasons on AHS. "It's been a huge adjustment to work this way without knowing for sure or knowing at all who the character is," Lange said. "It allows you to work very much on the fly. The great thing about this entire cast is that you have to be brave. You just have to jump in and do it and not be cautious because you've got 12 episodes to create this character."
While this season will have more levity in comparison to Season 1's Murder House and Season 2's Briarcliff Asylum, executive producer Tim Minear notes that oppression of all minorities will be a big theme of the season. "While there was a very strong feminist theme that runs throughout Coven this year, there's also themes of race, themes of oppression and there's a very strong theme of family and specifically mothers and daughters."
Will you be watching American Horror Story: Coven?