Actor had to pronounce “the most amazing words that I had never heard before”
“American Horror Story: Hotel” star Evan Peters revealed that he had to use a dictionary, as well as a dialect coach, to properly learn his lines for his character James March.
“I loved Mr. March’s dialogue,” Peters said during an interview with TheWrap. His lines, he said, were “the most amazing words that I had never heard before. I was using my dictionary a lot and trying to figure out how to pronounce them. Once I did, I loved them.”
Peters’ favorite line of the entire fifth season of the FX anthology series? “Felicitations to the happy couple!”
The actor plays James March, a sadistic serial killer who owns the Hotel Cortez.
“It’s sort of like a family on set, really,” he added. “We’re all sort of working together to make these really dark and insane scenes come to life.”
“It’s pretty intense, [there’s] a lot of downtime to get into character and learn your lines and chat,” he continued. “But from action to cut, it’s pretty intense, everyone takes it very seriously. It’s a great atmosphere to work in.”
And off of the set, Peters has plenty of amusing interactions with fans.
“They’re just like … ‘Did anyone ever tell you you look like that guy from ‘Horror Story?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I get that a lot!’ And then they’re like, ‘Oh okay cool, are you that guy?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah I’m that guy.’ And they’re like, ‘No way, let me see some I.D.’”
But the fans “are the reason we get all bloody and crazy, they just love it.”
Ever since American Horror Story’s 2011 beginnings, Evan Peters has been an indispensable part of the action. As Tate Langdon in Murder House, Kit Walker in Asylum, Kyle Spencer in Coven, Jimmy Darling in Freak Show and James Patrick March in Hotel, Peters held his own alongside such veteran actors as Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy and Kathy Bates. Peters, for his part, is grateful to AHS’ creator Ryan Murphy for bringing him back again and again. “Ryan has always just been very giving to me when it comes to the show,” Peters says, “and has always given me amazing roles that I love.”
AHS has also brought Peters plenty of notice elsewhere–he was cast as Quicksilver in X-Men: Apocalypse after director Bryan Singer saw him on AHS, and is now set to appear in the Bryan Buckley-directed Where The White Man Runs Away, co-starring Al Pacino and Melanie Griffith.
What do you think has made you a mainstay of the show? And now you’re coming back for Season 6. I don’t know. I really like the show. I really want to do a great job and I don’t take for granted the characters that they give me. It is a very out-there show, so I try to make it as real as I can, but all the while having a fun time with it. They’ve been very nice to me and I hope they keep inviting me back to play with their writing. I’d do it forever. I love working on the show and I love working with their writing and also with the other actors as well.
Can you hint at all about Season 6?
I don’t know what’s coming next, so no I can’t. I would love to know. When you know, let me know.
What have been your favorite roles so far in AHS? Mr. March has been my favorite so far. I like Tate a lot and I like Mr. March. Playing the villain is really fun–especially a character as colorful as Mr. March–and just that 1930s art deco craziness that he had going on, with the whiskey drinking, smoking, suit-wearing kind of guy. It was a very fun role to play. Then also Tate was a very complex role as well. I like playing the villain, but I like trying to figure out why they are that way and trying to sympathize with them a little bit in some way. Maybe some people are innately evil, but then there’s always something that sort of pushes them over the edge and makes them act on those thoughts or feelings, so I always try to figure out what that was and try to give it some sort of justification so that I’m not just playing evil for evil’s sake.
Pictured with American Horror Story: Coven co-stars (L-R): Lily Rabe; Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Paulson and Emma Roberts
Another constant on the show is Sarah Paulson and now she’s back again too for Season 6. How has it been working with her? She is amazing. First of all to me, Sarah’s hilarious. She’s very funny and very quick-witted and just a lovely person. I love working with her. I love knowing her and talking to her, laughing with her. And then you get into the fact that she’s more than talented. Last year she was working on Marcia Clark (American Crime Story) and on Horror Story and I don’t know how she was doing that. That was crazy to me. But she was so professional and seasoned almost. She knows how to do it and how to get it done and just does it. It’s not always easy and she fights that and fights through that and makes it look really easy.
What’s been the most challenging thing that you could’ve pushed yourself to do as part of the series? Well, last year was pretty difficult when I first got the role. I originally was going to play Tristan and then sort of last minute, Ryan was like, “Will you play this Mr. March guy?” And I was like, “Oh s—. I don’t know if I can do that.” He’s like, “And I want you to talk like you’re from the 1930s.” Okay. I didn’t quite know how to do that either, so I just watched a lot of My Man Godfrey and William Powell and just tried to research it to come up with a backstory that would justify me being this role. Originally I think it was written as a 40-something year-old man. I don’t look like I’m 40, and to try to play that is ridiculous, so I just tried to make it as this really young successful man, similar to a young oil tycoon or something like that, where he’s got all this money and power and he’s a total monster inside. I had a blast doing it.
How about some of those awkward scenes? I blocked them out. I’m like, “I can’t even think about it.” There’s a scene where I’m having sex and cutting this girl up. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I was in my trailer trying to work it out. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. And then to top it all off, you have to drop your drawers and be naked while you’re doing it. It was weird. Very, very weird. At one point, they had to have me tape… never mind. I don’t even want to go there. I talked to makeup and I said, “I want to be like a shark with all those scars on them,” so they gave me some really cool back scars and that sort of helped me get out of myself and get into Mr. March. God love her, the poor girl who was on the receiving end was very gracious and made it very easy to do.
How was working with Lady Gaga? She’s relatively new to acting. Well, I mean to me, it was exciting because she is new to acting, but she is very good at it and was willing to get into it more than a lot of veteran actors, so it was very refreshing and cool to see her dive into it. Each take was very different and sometimes a little scary because you didn’t know what you were going to get. You didn’t know if she was going to be actually hitting you or freaking out or whatnot. It was all very instinctual, which was very cool to work with and sort of get you out of your head and sort of back into the instinct of acting. It was awesome to work with her. I learned a lot.
What can you say about the film Where the White Man Runs Away? It’s about a journalist named Jay Bahadur. It’s based on a true story about a guy who goes to Somalia by himself at age 24 to write about the Somali pirates to get a book deal. It’s sort of his trials and tribulations but also, you know, growing to love the Somali culture and learning about them and about himself. It’s a big-fish-out-of-water story. It’s also very funny.
How did you prep for the part? I read Jay’s book and it is very interesting and very informative about the whole Somali culture. Most of the cast are Somali refugees. It was kind of amazing to work with them and learn a lot about them and integrate into their mindset.
(SOURCE)As always, FX has kept tight-lipped about what the future holds for showrunner Ryan Murphy’s hit series American Horror Story. The show’s premiere date and subject matter are often revealed much closer to its release, usually around August or September, intentionally leaving fans in the dark.
Even though we’re just now ramping up for summer, it’s never too early to start speculating on what American Horror Story has in store for us come Season 6.
Recently, Evan Peters talked to GoldDerby about his latest project, X-Men: Apocalypse, and American Horror Story. Over the course of the 18-minute interview, Peters revealed some insight into his work on the show thus far, whether or not he’ll return for Season 6, and what he hopes to see in the future.
On Which AHS Character He Would Like To Reprise
“I’d want to play Tate. I want to see what’s going on with that animal. [Is] he still in that house, trapped? Or maybe even see him, you know, before everything went totally haywire, to sort of see that lighter side of him. Maybe a little bit more about what turned him into what he became. I think that would be interesting. I don’t know how [showrunners] would do that.”
On Which Other AHS Actor He Would Most Like To See Return
“I want to work again with Dylan McDermott. I really miss him. I had a blast working with him on the first season, and I thought he’s such a great actor. And he was so nice, and I just really liked working with him a lot. I’d love to work with him again and see him come back as a more central role, you know? I think that would be amazing.”
On Whether He’s Returning For Season 6 Of AHS
“Yeah, I think so. I have no idea [who I’m playing]. We shall see. When you know let me know, because it’d be great to know!”
On Which Horror Subject Matter He Would Like To See AHS Tackle Next
Werewolves? Just kidding. I don’t know. I always say space. I know we already did aliens, but I really want to see a world where we’re trapped in space and something happens. Maybe people start to go a little stir crazy and turn on each other. … I don’t know, it’s a tough question. [Ryan Murphy] has tackled quite a bit. … American Horror Story: Space Station.”
On How Long He Plans On Being Involved With The Show
“It’s a year-by-year thing. And I would go as long as it goes. I love the show. I love the people who work on it. … Everybody is just amazing to work with. … I’ve been very fortunate to be able to play a different character every season and I would keep that going forever.”
He may not get top billing (yet), but Evan Peters is our favorite marquee team player
Evan Peters poses at Hill & Dale in New York. HOTO: Emily Assiran for Observer LOCATION CREDIT: Shot on location at Hill & Dale NYC
Evan Peters doesn’t seem tired. The 29-year-old actor is currently on a press junket for his reprisal of Quicksilver in this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse film—Good Morning America one day, ringing in the NASDAQ the next—but Mr. Peters, much like his Marvel character, is revved up and ready to go-go-go.
“Everyone was super…I don’t want to say stoked,” Mr. Peters tells me of the reaction to his character’s first appearance in the previous film, X-Men: Days of Future Past.“I’m trying not use that word anymore. Yeah, O.K., people were kind of stoked when they saw my scene.” Mr. Peters has a dimpled grin and a sort of wry “aw-shucks” demeanor that makes him simultaneously genuine and a little bit silly: he’s the “best friend of your brother” type. The “let’s do shots and you teach me how to do that ‘Cups’ song from Pitch Perfect” type. The “I’m the sleeper fan favorite in a summer superhero blockbuster with Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Munn, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne and the chick who plays Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones. And I literally don’t show up till halfway through the movie!” type.
To say Evan Peters shines brightest in large, ensemble-driven projects would be somewhat missing the point; between X-Men and FX’s American Horror Story, he’s carved a pretty singular niche as the guy who can stand out in a celebrity stunt-casting equivalent of Where’s Waldo?
“It was so fun, for me especially, because I’m a fan of the comics,” Mr. Peters admits, dutifully. But you believe him, partly because Mr. Peters seems like he might be “a comic book’s worth of attention span” type of guy, and then manages to back up his claim by citing several Quicksilver plotlines from the comic series and how they diverge from the movie’s material. “It goes back to Bryan Singer reading H.G. Wells’ short story, The Great Accelerator. In it, these guys take a potion that makes them go so fast that time stops. Their clothes smoke and things like that.”
“And…like that,” Quicksilver was born, or actually, reinvented: from a relatively “meh” mutant in the comics to the hyper-kinetic, ADHD-addled version as portrayed by Mr. Peters. He’s got that all-gray manga hair, ping-pongs around his mom’s basement, practically vroom-ing through the quippy dialogue and making it sound half a shade more clever than it actually is. (Also worth noting: Quicksilver is the only mutant who refuses to slow down for lingering periods of deep depression or social justice debates.) Both Apocalypse and Days of Future’s Past have their best scenes trained on Quicksilver, as we experience how the world appears to him and not the other way around. In the last film, he broke Magneto out of a maximum-security facility in the Pentagon while jamming out to Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle.” This time he’s saving the whole Mutant Academy from a fireball explosion while the synths of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” wah-wah behind him; a gentle reminder to the audience that no matter how fast Quicksilver runs, he’s still stuck in the ’80s with the rest of the cast. (At least for this installment.)
Mr. Peters, who barely grew up in the ’80s, is much more about the now, as evidenced by the millions of followers he has on Instagram, his Benedict Cumberbatch-level of Tumblr fandom and his TMZ-headlined love life. (Mr. Peters and Emma Roberts—niece of Julia— broke off their engagement earlier this month for the second time.)
So why hasn’t Mr. Peters achieved the same level of household fame as the rest of his mutant co-stars?
The answer is pretty obvious: it’s all Ryan Murphy’s fault.
Evan Peters of X-Men and American Horror Story. PHOTO: Emily Assiran for Observer LOCATION CREDIT: Shot on location at Hill & Dale NYC
The inaugural Murder House arc was arguably the best installment in American Horror Story’s “anthology seasons”—the sixth of which is gearing up this fall—weaving together as it did homages of scary classics like Beetlejuice, Rosemary’s Baby,The Intruders, The People Under the Stairs and The Changeling into a larger narrative about a family who moves into a house haunted by approximately a million ghosts, all of whom had their own afterlife agendas. Originally, we may have tuned in to see the celebrities Mr. Murphy and his creative partner, Brad Falchuk, brought to the series: Friday Night Lights’ Connie Britton, Mena Suvari, grand dame Jessica Lange, Dylan “Not Dermot Mulroney” McDermott and the ghost of Zoe Barnes’ future (Kate Mara).
But by the time the credits rolled on the first episode, a relatively unknown young actor had revealed himself as American Horror Story’s beating and bloody heart. Evan Peters, from the moment he appeared on screen as Tate Langdon, was the coronated Prince Joffrey of American Horror Story’s Westeros. With his tousled-blonde mop of hair and shy smile, Tate somehow straddled the line between a young, Kurt Cobain-inspired Romeo and a sociopathic, Columbine-inspired mass murderer. He was all hangdog charm and ghoulish intentions, croaking out plaintive soliloquies about love one minute and then setting people ablaze the next.
Several months after American Horror Story wrapped its initial mini-series installment, the internet would be ablaze with discussions about Claire Danes’ “ugly cry” face on Homeland, but she was handedly predated by a then 24-year-old Mr. Peters, who set the bar for realistic on-screen waterworks in 2011. The second half ofAmerican Horror Story: Murder House could be summarized by the series of Tumblr GIFs made by instantly smitten fans: close-up on Mr. Peters, sobbing out morbid teen platitudes to his warm-blooded crush Violet (Taissa Farmiga). What girl can resist a cute guy who sometimes dresses up in a latex gimp outfit, bleating stuff like “You know why I’d leave you alone? Because I care about your feelings more than mine!” or “You’re all that I have! You’re all that I need!”
Not since Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life has hormonally-induced histrionics looked so good.
“I had no idea what I was signing up for,” said Mr. Peters. “All I knew was what I was told right before my audition, and that was everything that Ryan Murphy touched turned to gold.”
“No pressure though.” Mr. Peters has a signature throaty chuckle, and though it’s been five years since he played Tate, the actor is still outfitted head to toe in black and blue, as if somewhere along the way his personal brand just became indistinguishable from theAmerican Horror Storyaesthetic. Mr. Peters’ career is unique in its fidelity; until fairly recently, he’s been all but tied up exclusively with his different roles in every iteration of American Horror Story. He’s the only actor to play a prominent role in all five seasons so far, not including Sarah Paulson, who had a small role that first year, but has since moved to center stage and top billing. (Though, oddly enough, Ms. Paulson really came into her own earlier this year playing Marcia Clark in Mr. Murphy’s The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Despite sharing showrunners, a network, confusingly similar titles and punctuation, ACS is its own wholly separate beast from AHS.)
Still, a boy always remembers his first time.
“Later, I found out from Ryan (Murphy) that he knew I had the role by the way I said this line, right after I was talking about these blood rituals…” which he delivered with a sort of dreamy, awful smile: “…I like that.” – Evan Peters
“The scene I auditioned with was the therapist scene, where Tate is talking to Dylan McDermott’s character,” Mr. Peters said. “Later, I found out from Ryan that he knew I had the role by the way I said this line, right after I was talking about these blood rituals…” which he delivered with a sort of dreamy, awful smile: “…I like that.”
Before American Horror Story, Mr. Peters’ roles had been used to playing much lighter characters, in much smaller roles: always some form of the slacker best friend to the conventionally attractive protagonists in films like the 2004 tween rom-comSleepover, the Never Back Down series and both Kick-Asses. If you know where to look, you can find Evan Peters on shows like Monk, House,The Office and teen soapOne Tree Hill; bonus points for finding the old episode of Disney Channel’s Phil of the Future where he delivers the memorable line: “I’m definitely breaking out a fresh pair of undies!”
Playing Tate in that first season of American Horror Story was, needless to say, an adjustment.
“I listened to a lot of music,” Mr. Peters says of that first season. “A lot of Nirvana and a lot of Daft Punk. The album Homework has a lot of interesting songs on it.” Still talking, Mr. Peters pulls out his iPhone and scrolls through his Spotify list until he finds the one song he’s looking for, Daft Punk’s “Rollin’ & Scratchin.” “This is the one. It’ll put you in the right twacked-out mindset.”
Over the subsequent installments of AHS, Mr. Peters was given a series of more conventionally heroic (and disappointingly stoic) roles: Kit Walker, an alien abduction survivor with a thick Boston accent, who ends up literally dealing with the devil (and also Nazis and zombies) in Asylum; a New Orleans frat boy turned Frankenstein’d house pet in the grrrl power Coven season and a carnie named Jimmy Darling in Freak Show, whose defining character trait was “James Dean but with lobster claws instead of hands.”
“When Ryan called me for Season Two, he told me he wanted it to be like Orson Welles’ (Mercury) Theatre,” Mr. Peters recalls. “The idea of this repertoire theater; the same group of people putting on different stories. Are you kidding? It was a dream come true!” Still, if he had to do it over again, Mr. Peters wishes he could have done it differently in Asylum. Specifically, he thinks his Boston accent came on a little thick, like Matt Damon’s “How do you like dem apples?” scene from Good Will Hunting. “I was still figuring out how to act, really. I was still playing around with things, trying to experiment and figure out what worked best for me and how to get the job done. A lot was thrown at me, and I felt like I wasn’t able to do it as well as I could have.”
Last year’s American Horror Story: Hotel was pretty definitively the second best (and some might argue, as Mr. Peters does, the best) season of American Horror Story to date. Some might point to the replacement of Jessica Lange with fresh blood, in the form of a vampiric Lady Gaga, as what saved the show from the brink of its own ridiculousness. But Hotelalso marked the return of a meatier role for Mr. Peters. As the jauntily malevolent,Gatsby-era serial killer-cum-hotel baron-cum-evil ghost James Patrick March, Mr. Peters gleefully chewed through his scenes like a shark through chum—if said shark sported a pencil-thin, Vincent Price mustache and the gunfire cadence of Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hudsucker Proxy. (Whether Murphy’s Law dictates that this particular shark be played by Kathy Bates on next season of American Horror Story is a question best left to the theoretical scientists among us.)
“March was a dream role for me,” Mr. Peters admits. “I based him a lot on William Powell’s character in My Man Godfrey. He’s very sophisticated, an aristocrat.” It may seem like a leap—from Cobain to Thin Man in the space of a couple years—but you get the sense that Mr. Peters’ metabolism is up for the challenge of constantly plowing through fresh stimuli.
“I got really into the Art Deco movement during Hotel,” Mr. Peter tells me, before expounding on his favorite Art Deco building in New York—the Empire State Building—and a recent trip to Cape Town, South Africa, where he was surprised to discover a similar architectural movement, “dating back to the boom in the 1920s and 1930s.”
“Those are really the best two decades,” Mr. Peters muses. “After that, it’s all been downhill.” Just like, in general. While Mr. Peters is by no means a Luddite, he is developing a discerning appreciation for all things old school. He even admires Mr. Murphy’s analog method of shooting American Horror Story, with film stock. “It’s this dying art form, because everything is digital now,” he says, brown eyes wide with fan-boy fanaticism. “You don’t get playback, which is a blessing and a curse. It’s old-school and it looks gorgeous. But on the other hand, you don’t know how things are looking, or how it’s gonna turn out.”
Equally, Mr. Peters’ time working on American Horror Story has changed his views on the genre. “I used to be really scared by horror stuff, like Friday the 13th or Tales From the Crypt. The Crypt Keeper scared me. As a kid, I would run up the stairs so fast, I actually had to see a therapist about it, eventually. Because I was terrified that this guy was actually chasing me and my parents were terrified of me running all the time.”
Now, though still slightly squeamish, Mr. Peters has an appreciation for the art. “The blood and the prosthetics and the deformities and the oozing…you know, like The Thing? Body horror. That stuff really freaks me out. But I worked with the makeup department when I had the Lobster Hands (on Freak Show), and it really enlightened me. I still get really frightened by it, but I also get really excited when I see it. Like, ‘Oh, how did they do that?’ The hours it must have taken for them to make that a reality is something I didn’t appreciate before.”
Evan Peters will be joining the cast of American Horror Story‘s sixth season this fall. PHOTO: Emily Assiran for Observer LOCATION CREDIT: Shot on location at Hill & Dale NYC
What scares Evan Peters the most these days? “Slasher stuff over psychological horror or paranormal. I’m the guy who gets more scared if there’s even a chance it could happen in real life.”
What scares Evan Peters the most these days? “Slasher stuff over psychological horror or paranormal. I’m the guy who gets more scared if there’s even a chance it could happen in real life.”
Besides the fact of his involvement, Mr. Peters claims ignorance about any of the details regarding the next installment of American Horror Story. He’s been busy in Cape Town, where he was filming an adaptation of Jay Bahadur’s memoir about his time as a freelance journalist in Somalia, Where the White Man Runs Away. “I hate to call it a comedy, but it is very funny,” Mr. Peters, who would one day love to work with Shane Black, explains. “It’s a fish out of water thing. It’s about this guy who leaves and enters this world very naively, who kind of fumbles about, but does eventually get this book written and accomplishes a lot of things along the way. It’s a very moving and enlightening story about the Somalia people and their struggle with piracy.”
In the meantime, he’s going to think some more about what he wants to do next. Move to Venice (as in, California) and spend some time as a beach bum, maybe: something he’s never done despite living in Los Angeles for the last 14 years. ReadThe New York Times “Daily Digest” and Yahoo’s homepage; watch South Park; listen to Lil Dicky; rap along to Desiigner’s “Panda”; learn the rest of the “Cups” song; see how the single life suits him. This list is by no means definitive, nor—at least to Mr. Peters—exhaustive.
Because even though Evan Peters might not know exactly what comes next, there’s a very good chance it’s going to happen fast.
American Horror Story(2011-??) ...as Mr James March
An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a house with a murderous past, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show and a hotel.
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