Everyone in American Horror Story: Hotel is 99 kinds of messed up. That is, except the Cortez's new owner, Will Drake. The fashion icon seems oddly normal compared to the other murderous, bloodsucking and ghostly tenants. But according to star Cheyenne Jackson, Will has a few dark secrets of his own.
Find out what Jackson has to say about Will's mysterious past, his relationship with the Countess (Lady Gaga) and why every man at the Cortez looks exactly the same.
The Countess has her sights set on marrying and killing Will Drake for his money. How will we see her seducing him and putting her plan into action?
Cheyenne Jackson: Oh, my gosh. Well, you're going to see it American Horror Story-style. We're on Episode 9 now, so we've already shot three or four episodes that definitely deal with that story line and I've had to push myself to do things that I've never done on camera, emotionally and physically. There's definitely an episode that my parents will be skipping if I have anything to do with it.
Does that mean we should expect some crazy sex scenes between you and Lady Gaga?
Jackson: Well, it's Horror Story. I'm trying to think of what I can say and not get in trouble. It's definitely what you would imagine. It's The Countess, and when The Countess wants something, she gets it.
Will is gay, so what is it about The Countess that attracts him to her?
Jackson: That is also something that we discuss throughout the season: what is it about her that defies labels? I think she's one of those characters, one of those people, that men, women, everybody's just drawn to because of how they feel when they're around her. She appeals to Will in a fashion and artistic and passion way, and unlocks things inside of him that he doesn't even know was there. So the fact that she's a woman, it's probably just as shocking to him, but it's dealt with really wonderfully.
Will also seemed pretty into Tristan (Finn Wittrock). What does their relationship look like going forward?
Jackson: Tristan and Will definitely have some kind of history. Finn and I have talked about that, what we think it is and why that there is this kind of attraction/disdain. And that is also something that is dealt with very explicitly and viscerally.
I'm a bit concerned about how Lachlan fits into The Countess' plan. Should we be worried about Lachlan's fate?
Jackson: You know, with the kids on this show I think we should all be worried about him. So much thematically about this show is loss. The Halloween episode last [week] really brought that home. Just the idea of turning your back to a second and ... I watched the premiere with my manager who has a little blonde kid, just the age of the kid in the show almost, and it's every parent's worst nightmare. And I think that's what Ryan [Murphy]'s tapping into. So yeah, Lachlan's been running around, finding coffins in pools and jumping around and doing all this stuff. Absolutely, you should be concerned.
Will doesn't seem to be supervising Lachlan a lot. Do you think Will is keeping his son safe the best he can or could he step it up a bit as a parent?
Jackson: I think Will thinks he's keeping him safe. I think kids definitely have their own little world and their own little relationships. I think yeah, Will could definitely do a better job, for sure, but he has so much of his own sh-- going on. He's focused on trying to reinvent himself and how he's going to seem to other people and he's getting caught up. He's definitely losing track a little bit.
Will has made a lot of enemies in the hotel. Will we see him make any friends or allies?
Jackson: Yes. There is a relationship with another person in the cast that I wasn't expecting. I just read it in the newest episode and I thought, 'Oh, wow. That's an interesting dynamic.' Will has been a slow burn. When I first got on the show, my mom was like, 'Oh, good. You're playing the normal guy.' I'm like, 'Mom, you have to remember its Horror Story, though. So nobody's normal. Don't get to attached to what you think things are going to be.' The way Will's story line is propelled has been really exciting to see. And it's cool because Ryan has trust in us. That's one of the best things about working with Ryan is that he sees in people things that they possibly don't even see in themselves as actors. You read something and go, 'Oh my god. OK, he thinks I can do that.'" And then you find yourself doing it and doing it well.
We don't know too much about Will's history. So will we be learning more about his past?
Jackson: Definitely. I think some of the mysteries of how he ended up at the Cortez are answered, because nothing is arbitrary. You'll definitely find out what makes him tick more and the way he ends up — I hate being so cryptic, but you know how we have to be — but it will definitely make sense when it's all said and done.
This season is very much about addiction. What do you see as being Will's vices?
Jackson: Will has been addicted to the approval of everybody. He was a hugely successful designer and is incredibly successful, his stuff is everywhere. But he's no longer cutting edge and he's no longer cool in the way that he was. His stuff is sold in every mall, but people don't clamor to get into his shows at fashion week any more. So he's addicted to that feeling, that excitement, that danger, that 'I got to see what he's going to create next.' And that's why The Countess is so intoxicating to him. She represents the possibility of that happening again.
Will has been living in and owning the Cortez for a while now, but still doesn't have any idea what's really going on there. Will we see him find out about the supernatural elements anytime soon?
Jackson: Yes. Things definitely start to unravel. And things that he didn't know or that he was kind of curious about or didn't quite make sense to him start to reveal themselves.
His friend Claudia (Naomi Campbell) was just murdered and now haunts the hotel. So will we see them possibly reunite?
Jackson: I cannot confirm or deny that.
Will plans on doing some major renovations to the hotel. What might he uncover in the process?
Jackson: The Cortez is just so layered and there are so many horrible secrets, and as walls come down and as doors come out and stairwells are revealed, just the most horrific scary sh-- surfaces. You can't do a renovation without really finding out the secrets. And he's naïve in certain ways, but he's no dumb dumb in other ways.
You, Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock and Wes Bentley all have a very similar look. How intentional is that and do you have any hints about what that might mean?
Jackson: That is something everybody asks and I honestly don't know. We talk about it all the time, because everybody's always talking about it on set. And we do see it. Finn has his own idea of what it is. Wes thinks that it'll definitely be explained. With Ryan, I just never know how things are going to play out. But I can't imagine that it will never be discussed. Because it is kind of remarkable. I've seen certain clips and quick little flashes of something and I can't tell who it is. So I'm sure it'll be explained in a cool way.
American Horror Story: Hotel airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.