Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'American Horror Story' Checks into 'Hotel'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'American Horror Story' Checks into 'Hotel'

Article excerpt

In his "American Horror Story" anthology series, beginning its fifth cycle next week on FX, Ryan Murphy has found scares so far in a suburban Los Angeles "murder house," inside a 1960s mental hospital, among witches in New Orleans and, most recently, in a traveling carnival in the 1950s.

The new installment, "American Horror Story: Hotel," brings the franchised fright back to Los Angeles, setting up residence this time in an old hotel that attracts the weird and dangerous.

Again, the ensemble includes regulars from Murphy's "American Horror Story" repertory company: Kathy Bates as Iris, manager of the Hotel Cortez; Angela Bassett as actress Ramona Royale; Sarah Paulson as drug addict "Hypodermic Sally"; Denis O'Hare as "Liz Taylor"; and (in flashbacks) Evan Peters as the hotel's 1930s founder.

But front and center is a newcomer: Lady Gaga, playing the Countess, the hotel's current owner. Also new are Matt Bomer as Donovan, manager Iris' son; Cheyenne Jackson as fashionisto Will Drake; and Finn Wittrock as male model Tristan Duffy. On the outside are Wes Bentley as Detective John Lowe, investigating serial killings linked to the hotel, with the returning Chloe Sevigny as his wife.

Bringing back so much of the same cast year after year is a mixed, but mostly positive, blessing, Murphy told TV critics in August in Los Angeles.

"I do feel the pressure for this incredibly talented cast to try and give them something different, something that is challenging to them," he said, adding that "one thing I always do is say, 'What have you always wanted to do, or what have you always wanted to play?' So this is a cast that's very involved in a lot of those decisions."

The cast gets used to being more prominent one season than another, Murphy said. "It sort of rises and falls. Some seasons, an actor will be specifically the lead. The next year, they're supporting."

Cast members are signed to one-year deals, so "after this season is up, they can go do other things," he said. "That's what happened with Jessica Lange. She decided she wanted a year off to do a play, which I bought for her, stupidly." (Lange is starring on Broadway in "A Long Day's Journey Into Night," produced by Murphy. …

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