Sarah Paulson, known for her ever-expanding presence on the Ryan Murphy produced show, American Horror Story, recalled her “responsibility and contractual obligation” to appear on the show’s sixth season Roanoke, despite feeling quite underwhelmed and trapped within her character.
Paulson, 46, is no stranger to the twisted alternate realities that Ryan Murphy produces. She first made her debut on American Horror Story in 2011 and has been on every season since then. The Ratched star played everything from the scheming journalist to an actress/ yoga instructor trapped in the woods in a colonial nightmare. In a recent interview however, it can be said that Paulson fell out of love with the critically acclaimed show.
Now I think we can all agree on this, but Roanoke, the sixth season of American Horror Story which aired in 2016, brought with it an underwhelming response from fans everywhere. The attempt made at a Blair Witch-style found footage horror scenario was a seemingly interesting departure from the show’s usual formula of Lynchian cinematography and intricate setting. But after the operatic fifth season of “Hotel” starring Lady Gaga, Roanoke didn’t fulfill all that it promised, something Paulson agrees with.
“I was so underwhelmed by the whole experience because I felt like I had entered into a new place inside of myself in terms of what I thought possible, in terms of what I might be willing to see if I can do,” Paulson said. “I felt really kind of trapped by my responsibility and my contractual obligation to do American Horror Story. As much as it’s my home and I’ve loved it always, it was the first time I felt like I wish I could have gone to Ryan [Murphy] and said ‘Please let me sit this one out, let me out. ”
Paulson cited the fact that prior to the filming of Roanoke, she had just come out of playing Marcia Clark, the notorious prosecutor in the 1995 OJ Simpson trial, on the debut season of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. In this show, Paulson expanded her acting repertoire into something different, a character that toned down the usual unhinged nature of Paulson’s usual type casting. It’s no wonder that she felt underwhelmed by having to return back to something that was unchallenging and arguably formulaic for the actress.
But the show must go on as Paulson agreed to return for the show’s seventh season Cult, which aired in 2017 following the presidential election of Donald Trump where she played a (say it with me) unhinged and paranoid Ally Mayfair-Richards. While predictable, this character was an important link between entertainment and reality where the true feelings of the audience were validated by what they saw on their televisions.
“I didn’t really have to be there, I wanted to be there, because of what we had all just been through,” Paulson said. “I felt, as a country, as this new place we felt we were in, I liked the idea that it was sort of mirroring what we were experiencing, and enough time had gone by … I was happy to be back for Cult but Roanoke, I kinda went kicking and screaming.”
Now it’s doubtful that these recent comments will have any impact on Paulson and Murphy’s professional relationship, she is poised to play a character by the name of “TB (Tuberculosis) Karen” in the upcoming American Horror Story: Double Feature. But Paulson is worried about Murphy not being the most enthusiastic about her critiscm.
“I’m gonna get a call from Ryan like, ‘Why are you saying that?'” Paulson said jokingly of Murphy.