What do brains taste like? Does Jessica Lange do her Tennessee Williams thing when the cameras aren't rolling? (Yes!) How difficult is it to cut an umbilical cord, Dylan McDermott? Who doesn't approve of Connie Britton screaming about vaginas outside Murder House when there is a real-life convent across the street? Is the place really haunted?
snooped around visited the Harmons' haunted house on a mighty chilly day last month, just as the cast and crew of American Horror Story put the final touches on filming "Birth," the season's penultimate episode (Wednesday at 10/9c on FX), creepy, gross and bizarre things were going down. We took notes and quizzed the show's stars for answers! Who is delivering Vivien's, er, offspring? Will anyone else realize that Violet's dead? Could a reconciliation be in the offing for Ben and Viv? The 16 secrets and spoilers we wrangled out of everybody:
1. Get ready for a ghost summit! Those trapped in Murder House will want to attend the coming of whatever is coming out of Viv. Dr. Charles will do the honors (yikes!), and many others will look on. Will any potential baby-snatchers (ahem, Hayden, Nora) be present?
2. The return of the redheads. The slain redheaded twins who bought the farm way back in the first episode will pop back into the Harmons' lives — the scripts refer to them "The Mischief Twins" — and they'll be doing their destructive best to keep the Harmons in the house!
3. Yes, Jessica Lange does her best Tennessee Williams even when the cameras aren't rolling. Sample chatter to Britton, who was hung up on making sure her birthing pains looked and sounded legit: "Oh, Ms. Scaaaahlett, I don't know nuthin' about birthin' babies." (Britton's reply? "I dare you to say that in the next take.") And after one of Britton's more colorful ad-libs: "Girl, that's a convent next door. You can't be yelling about vagin-ahs!"
4. Seriously though, Lange and Britton have fun making this show. "Was that too much?" Britton asks, after her first take at wailing like a banshee (because poor Viv's being dragged back into the haunted house against her will.) Lange laughs and answers: "It's never too much, especially not for this show!" And when "Birth" director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon asked if Constance might be running around in 5-inch heels during the birthing scene, Lange says: "I'm going to sprint like in the olden days!"
5. P.S. It's "Ms. Lange" on set. Because she's Jessica F---ing Lange, that's why.
6. The house could actually be haunted. Even the real-life owners think so. They've certainly decorated Los Angeles' Rosenheim Mansion, a massive 15,000-square foot, six-bedroom home built in 1908, to accommodate souls (or ghouls?) of differing tastes. Alongside the original Tiffany stained glass, the house's bizarre art collection also includes statues of a goat wielding a shield, a monkey with a banana and a knight with a sword, pencil sketches of Japanese children, Italian paintings, a tiger clock...
7. Brains taste like coconut! Or at least something fruity. Britton can't remember exactly because the flavored gelatin looked a little too close to fresh brain meat. "It was all perfectly fine to consume, but my stomach, like, killed. I felt nauseous after I ate it," the actress says. As for the pancreas, which she ate at 3 in the morning, it went down a lot smoother — and Britton has the fun, blood-smeared photos of herself post-organ snack saved on her iPhone to prove it.
8. Tate can't spell YouTube. That's what being trapped in Murder House will do to you. He'll be looking for something on the Web to cheer Violet up because, you know, she's dead, and her parents have a lot going on already....
9. ...or, as Violet puts it: "If they find out I killed myself, they'll go insane. Literally. For real this time." Oh, Ryan Murphy. You slay us.
10. Why are Vivien and Violet both wearing, er, violet? Check out the photographic evidence on this page. Coincidence, or is something up?
11. Ben will be in deep denial until the end. Even though he buried Hayden and then had several conversations with her in the house, Ben won't be able to accept that Violet isn't exactly living. Or that's how McDermott tells it: "Violet's still there," McDermott explains. "It's kind of hard to compute. I don't think Ben really gets it until the finale. That's when he'll realize, 'Oh, sh--.' Everyone's dead.'"
12. Oh yeah, someone else dies! Yeah yeah, someone always dies at the end of the season, but you should brace yourself for this one...
13. Also, Ben can't cut an umbilical cord to save his life. It takes a few takes before McDermott gets the hang of it. But hey, the doctor in this scene pictured below still tells Ben, "You have a healthy baby [SPOILER]!" (Yes, there is something off about this particular photo.)
14. A happy ending for Ben and Viv? Impossible? The pain of labor does funny things to women — and just imagine if some possible Antichrist were fighting its way out! The Harmons will share a sweet moment (read: moment) during Vivien's birth. Britton says she always hoped the two might find their way back to each other. "We always talked about it, that in the end, there was actually going to be a sense of reunion between the two of them, even in death or whatever," she says.
15. Could the house be on supernatural steroids? "Whatever character defects these people had, it's all amped up now," McDermott says. "The house definitely has a huge influence on everybody who enters it and what it does to you and what it tells you, how it talks to you and what it makes you do. Maybe without the house, maybe it would have been different."
16. About next season... Both Britton and McDermott say they want in, dead or alive, but neither has much more to add. Says McDermott: "If this was it, I had a great time."