“American Horror Story” viewers know that the horror anthology rarely holds back — but its fifth season, “Hotel,” is even scaring its cast.
“I definitely had to put down the first script a couple times and take a few deep breaths and then come back to it,” admitted cast member Matt Bomer at the show’s premiere event Saturday night, with the actors and executive producers gathering at Los Angeles’ Regal Cinemas L.A. Live to revel in all the show’s gory glory.
Everyone from cast members Wes Bentley and Cheyenne Jackson to executive producer Brad Falchuk all agreed on one thing: “Hotel,” taking place at the mysterious Hotel Cortez in L.A., is the darkest season yet.
“It’s gorier than, I think, any of them so far, and it’s scarier to me because it’s more psychological and not just like, blood and guts,” said Jackson. “It’s the stuff that effed up in your head.”
However, the cast had an unexpected respite from all the darkness. Jackson said Lady Gaga, who joined the cast in her much-hyped “American Horror Story” debut as the Countess, brought a “joyful” presence to set. Bomer, who plays the Countess’ lover and the son of Kathy Bates‘ character, said Lady Gaga invited the cast to her house to get to know everyone, and praised her as one of his favorite actors he’s ever worked with.
While her cast was raining praise on Lady Gaga, the pop star was focused on complimenting someone else: executive producer Ryan Murphy. Lady Gaga reached out to Murphy herself to star in the fifth season of the show, and said the exec was immediately on board.
“I have been such a huge fan of this show for such a long time and always really admired the actors and the art direction and the stories and the messages that they tell,” she told Variety. “I just wanted to be a part of it. I called [Murphy] on a creative whim that meant a lot to me and he was so excited right away, and that’s what I look for in people, is passion. I mean, he’s just, like, my soulmate.”
And the Countess, the bloodsucking fashionista who runs the hotel, won’t disappoint, says the cast.
“She’s amazing,” Bentley said of Lady Gaga. “It’s not a surprise that she’s a great actress. She brings intensity to all of her work. She brings that to this as well.”
Along with being the darkest season yet, this installment of the miniseries was also noted by the cast as being the sexiest. Along with a foursome scene early in the season that has already been hyped, the cast and EPs teased plenty of sexual situations.
Falchuk said the sexual turn was due in large part to the casting of Lady Gaga, along with the crop of handsome men who joined the show this season.
“We have all of these beautiful men on the show, incredibly sexy men who are incredibly open, and you have Gaga who is also incredibly beautiful and sexual,” he explained. “How are you going to tell a story with Matt Bomer and Lady Gaga and not have it be sexy? It’s impossible. They’re inherently sexy, so what are you going to do?”
However, despite the riches of the new cast members, the show lost one of its biggest stars after the fourth season: Jessica Lange.
Kathy Bates, who acted alongside Lange for two seasons, said they feel the loss, but new cast members are certainly helping to fill the void.
“I miss Jess,” Bates said. “You know, she’s my friend, and I always used to love to go to work with her, it was a very special experience. But I’m also looking forward to working with Stefani [Lady Gaga]. I’ve had a few scenes with her and she’s actually wonderful.”
A very theme-appropriate after party followed the premiere screening at the Hotel Figueroa, complete with fake dead bodies in bathtubs and bloody handprints smeared on the mirrors.
“American Horror Story: Hotel” premieres Oct. 7 on FX.