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American Horror Story: Asylum features an ensemble cast, but it’s easy to argue that Jessica Lange is the central actress on the show. She won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her role as Constance in the first season of the hit FX horror series, and will likely at least be nominated for her performance as Sister Jude this year. Her character found herself not doing so well after this week’s “Unholy Night,” and it remains to be seen if she can climb back on top of the food chain in the final episodes of the season.
Spinoff Online caught up with Lange during a conference call earlier today in which she discussed her time with American Horror Story. According to her, the boundary-pushing drama has only gone too far a handful of times.
“There are times when I’ve said I think this is too much, but that’s not been too often because they tend to write for me less kind of action and, I don’t know, more kind of psychological. That’s been better,” she said. “I wouldn’t really know how to do a lot of the really intense action scenes, so I have a few of those but not many. I think there was a leap of faith on my part just thinking if I’m going to do this I’m going to do this.”
She added, “You have to have trust. You have to believe that someone is taking care of you and someone is watching your back. With a part like this and especially where we’re going with it, I can’t pull any punches and I can’t do it half way.”
The key for her has been embracing the roles presented to her by series co-creator Ryan Murphy “100 percent.” There are some things she’s asked for specifically this season, like getting a chance to sing, dance and play a lounge singer from the ’40s, but she says she hasn’t appreciated all the caning scenes. “I’ve never worked this way before where it’s so fluid between the creators, the writers and me,” Lange admitted.
She wouldn’t reveal much about what’s to come in Season 2 other than that it will continue this “descent into hell.” “I don’t know where it’s going. It’s kind of like life,” she said. “It’s been an interesting way to work.”
Her new approach to her career has been to take every chance that comes to her because she no longer cares about being judged as an actor. That time has come and gone (and she won two Oscars along the way), but right now the way that Murphy is pushing her has turned her into a better actor, at least according to her.
This season of American Horror Story is undeniably darker than its predecessor, and Lange understands that makes it harder for some people to watch.
“There’s a descent into madness that is completely different and for me much more interesting to play,” she said. “I think you have to strike a balance. This season became darker than anybody kind of anticipated just because of the subject areas that they laid out in the beginning.”
Lange has already signed on for a role in the recently announced Season 3, but she said she hasn’t given any thought to what it will be. She admitted she;s still waiting to find out what the character is and what the season is going to be about from Murphy.
“When we started talking about Season 2, I had very clear ideas of what I’d wanted to play. … I wanted to play a great drunk scene. I remember, I asked Ryan for that. I wanted to play someone who was really down and out, and also the whole area of madness,” she said. “I’m just exhausted from this whole experience and this season has felt like it’s gone on forever. I really don’t have a thought about next season yet. There’s a lot of stuff that will come up, but I hate to say I haven’t thought about it yet.”
American Horror Story: Asylum airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.