Chloe Sevigny Promises ‘Tragic’ Change on American Horror Story
We’re only three episodes in to FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum, but already terrifying — and permanent — things are happening to the show’s main characters. Last night’s episode, “Nor’easter,” ended with an intense revelation about Chloe Sevigny‘s Nymphomaniac Shelley, so if you haven’t yet seen it and want to remain unspoiled, you should stop reading.
For those of you who are still here with us, Spinoff Online took part in a conference call with Sevigny this morning where she talked about her character’s legs — or rather, lack thereof. In the final moments of “Nor’easter,” it was revealed that James Cromwell‘s Dr. Arthur Arden had cut off Shelley’s legs as a way to “trim her wings.”
This is a scene Sevigny found out about after she signed on for the series, and she teased repeatedly that it’s far from the worst thing that’s going to happen to Shelley this season. When asked if Arden was turning into Frankenstein, Sevigny replied, “Something like that.”
“Her disadvantages only increase. She becomes more and more and more helpless. It’s really tragic actually,” she said. “I don’t know how much more dialogue I have. There’s a lot of gurgling. … You see her transform into something not so pleasant to look at.”
As Arden continues to experiment on Shelley, it’s only a matter of time before someone at the Briarcliff Mental Institution notices. Sevigny teased that fans will be surprised who finally realizes Shelley is missing.
The Shelley who gets discovered might not be someone we recognize, either. Sevigny underwent four hours of prosthetic make-up, and promised that her character is being turned into “something else.” She also said that other characters that we think are dead might return farther down the road, also “as something else.”
When we return next episode in “I Am Anne Frank: Part 1,” though, Shelley’s first goal is going to be to find her way out. It sounds like that will be easier said than done, but at least Shelley has the right mindset about the situation.
“I think she’s pretty pissed off, I think she’s pretty helpless,” Sevigny said. “I think the audience goes through a lot with the character.”
Shelley was a role that American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy had in mind for Sevigny from the start, and she said that she didn’t have to audition for the part. Instead, Murphy called her up and they talked for a lengthy period of time about his plans for Asylum. Since Sevigny was a fan of the first season, it didn’t take much convincing for her to sign on board. It was only after she accepted her role that Murphy told Sevigny about Shelley’s nymphomaniac tendencies and gave her the scripts for the first three episodes.
“It’s a different kind of scare last year,” she said. “With this season, [Murphy's] exploring different things than before. … I think there’s a lot of really rich female characters.”
Looking forward, Sevigny said it will be hard for fans to prepare themselves for what’s next. She said she was taken aback when she found out what was going to happen over the rest of Shelley’s character arc, and that we likely will be too.
“I thought ‘I can’t believe I’m here doing this, how did I get here?’” she shared, and that definitely sounds like a good thing.
American Horror Story: Asylum airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.