You might not ever know it from the stupendously creepy American Horror Story: Roanoke, but the show's cast may just be the coolest accidental comedy troupe ever — when they're not doing the most unsettling stuff you've even seen on television, that is.
Assembled at the closing night of PaleyFest in Los Angeles Sunday, Sarah Paulson, Adina Porter, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kathy Bates, Denis O'Hare and Cheyenne Jackson shared secrets from behind the scenes of the horror-fest and kept the audience in stitches while they did.
During the panel, Paulson said in response to a fan question that the character she'd most like to reprise is American Horror Story: Coven's Cordelia Foxx, so she could see her get her powers as the Supreme and that "maybe we'll get to see that." O'Hare said he'd most like to revisit Larry Harvey, his Murder House character, adding that Harvey's probably organizing musicals in jail.
The panel was missing co-creator Ryan Murphy, meaning the event was without the juicy tidbits of what's to come in Season 7 — which we know is inspired by the 2016 election. It was, however, a chuckle-fest that began with a viewing of the ambitious finale which depicted the cast... at PaleyFest. Watching the ultra-meta moment unfold in the dark theater in real time, you almost expected there to be people wearing pig heads in the audience when the lights came up. Although that didn't happen, the event was much more a hoot than horror.
Paulson, for example, noted how this season's iron curtain of secrecy created confusion. "We didn't know what the f--- was happening." O'Hare joked they'd review the script and be like, "Are you real? Am I in the present? Am I alive?"
That secrecy extended to legal paperwork. Executive producer Tim Minear explained that, for tax purposes, shows have to provide a synopsis of the show. "That was not OK with Ryan, but we had to give something," he said, so they made up "this batsh-- thing."
The cast's silliness on stage made it clear they had a deep admiration for one another — including the absent Angela Bassett, who starred in the series and also directed the season's pivotal Episode 6.
"She played my sister on this show," Gooding Jr. said. "She played my mom in Boyz in the Hood. She might be immortal. The bitch don't age!" People in the audience were howling, as they were practically all night. It was Bates and Paulson though, who kept everyone rolling; they could very well go on the road if the acting thing doesn't work out. Seated next to each other, they had a BFF, touchy-feely rapport and gave each other a hard time.
"Shut your f---in' cake hole," Paulson said to Bates at one point, who was dropping perfectly timed F-bombs left and right. Of the production's use of dozens of cameras, Bates said, "Aw, it was a f---in' nightmare." In one scene, she said, Bates-as-The Butcher was just getting into her hackin' and stabbin' when she could see a camera in a mirror. "I went, 'Aw f--- ,do we have to do this f---in' thing again?"
Paulson said that when she shared a dressing room with Bates, she saw the legendary actress practicing her accent close up — and did an imitation that sounded like a blend of a drunk Eastern European model and the Muppets' Swedish Chef.
"Oh go, f--- yourself," Bates told her.
When the floor opened for questions, someone asked if we'd see "more famous people" next season (she meant like Lady Gaga or Beyonce), but to the panel of already pretty famous people, it sounded a little like shade. Without missing a beat, Bates, Gooding Jr., O'Hare and Paulson snatched off their mics and walked off the stage in faux disgust. They returned though, with more off-the-cuff humor.
Gooding Jr. revealed that Paulson suffered from heatstroke on set. Bates pounced. "You had heatstroke? I'm so glad," she said as the Dolby Theater echoed with giggles. Bates said she had it in New Orleans. "I thought it was because I was old and fat. You had it in Malibu!"
"I hate you," said Paulson. "Where are we going to dinner after this?"
Said Bates: "In-N-Out Burger."
Season 7 of American Horror Story begins shooting in June.