American Horror Story: Freak Show star Angela Bassett took some time from her busy shooting schedule to dish about working on the show, how she reacted when she found out about her role as a woman “and THEN some!” and more!
Angela Bassett is a Hollywood icon, hands down. From portraying Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It? to a woman scorned in Waiting to Exhale, Bassett has graced movie and television screens for years and somehow has never aged during a second of it (the secret to which I’m STILL trying to figure out). She’s currently in the middle of her sophomore appearance on Ryan Murphy’s hit horror anthology series American Horror Story after portraying Marie Laveau in last season’s Coven, and has been knocking it out of the park as the fun, sexually-free “freak” Desiree Dupree. Read on to find out what she revealed about her time on the show this season!
When you signed on for this year’s episode for Freak Show did you know what the part was? What was your reaction when you found out what the part was?
I didn’t have a clue whatsoever what the part might be, what it might encompass when I signed on. I just knew I had a great time the previous year, and if that was any indication, it was going to be a wild ride. I think it was about two weeks before I was scheduled to come down to start shooting that I got the, you know, the hot off the press script. I sat down to read it to see and I remember wondering, “Now, how am I going to know who I am?”
Then you read the stage direction, “African American woman in her 40s, hermaphrodite, three breasts, and a ding-a-ling.” You’re like, oh, my gosh. You immediately close the pages, and have to walk around, and process that for a minute. You’re thinking, “What does that mean?” Oh, my gosh. If they thought I was crazy demonic last year, what are they going to think this year?
Can you describe what it’s like to work with such an unbelievably talented ensemble cast?
That was one of the prevailing reasons for me joining the cast. I couldn’t believe I’d get an opportunity to work with Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates in a lifetime, especially at the same time. It’s wonderful. In some years, I mean, well, last year most of my scenes were with Kathy and Jessica. This year, mostly Chiklis and now Emma Roberts and the like. We’ll see. We’ll see. Everyone is just an ultimate professional. We have a good time. We have a good time with it. We all have an appreciation for this crazy world and the things that we’re asked to do. It stretches us and grows us. The fact that we get to come back year after year and they fashion some completely new insanity for us to play out is a plus. It’s thrilling.
Is there anything that freaked you out on the show, this season or last, that just kind of got to you?
Oh, freaked me out? I think, well, when he took that mask off, and I saw where he had put a gun in his mouth, and shot half his face off, you know? The way the little people treated him, which spurred him on to do that. I didn’t like that. That sort of freaked me out, just how people treat one another. He was innocent in his mind, so taking advantage of that. Pushing him to that point. That was a lot for me. That made me very sad.
Can you tease anything about the possible friendship or will they team up against Dell?
That’s the thing. We really don’t know what’s coming in the subsequent episodes and the subsequent scripts. That’s the aspect of this that makes it a little bit frustrating or difficult for us. I guess we don’t have input, but we might have influence. We’ve played it as good, good friends. It remains to be seen. Maybe they’ll see that in the writer’s room and it’ll take them down a different road then they had anticipated. That can, and does happen, and has happened in the past. We’ll see. I’d like to be friends with Ethel. We were such archenemies last year for all eternity as it turned out.
How was shooting your scene with Evan Peters? Would you say that that was awkward at all on set?
Well, it’s not too awkward. He’s a cute a little boy, who’s engaged. No, it wasn’t too awkward. I mean, you’re playing characters. He’s quite a professional. I think the most awkward part of it was he was so emotional, and just tears, and things coming out of one’s nostrils. I think that was the most awkward part, but sexually, it wasn’t.
A new episode of American Horror Story:Freak Show airs tonight at 10pm on FX!
Photo Credit: FX