Evan Peters: 'American Horror Story: Hotel'

After working on “American Horror Story,” one may think that Evan Peters has seen it all. The “AHS” veteran revealed that playing his darkest character within the franchise made the fifth installment especially chilling. Peters plays mass murderer and builder of the Hotel Cortez, Mr. James March.

Peters spoke to Variety about his grand entrance into “American Horror Story: Hotel” in the second episode, “Chutes and Ladders.”

Ryan Murphy already teased that you will be in Room 64 — where all the bad stuff happens. Should we be scared for you or scared of you? 

I would be scared of me. I would definitely be scared of me. I’m always in Room 64.

In Room 64 we saw weird creatures, ghosts and a brutal anal rape. Where can we possibly go from there in the second episode?

Well, March is one of the first of his kind. He’s taught everyone what they know. It all comes from him, so they’re going to come up with something pretty intense for people to get introduced to Mr. March.

Your character was inspired by H. H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer.

H. H. Holmes had a murder castle in Chicago in the late 1800s and Mr. March was born in the 1920s and ’30s, but there’s a lot of similarities. He’s definitely his own character, but there are definitely things derived from good old H. H. Holmes.

We already saw Marcy the realtor from the first season reappear in “Hotel.” Will Tate also be making an appearance in season five? 

(Laughs) I don’t think so, but I don’t know. You never know what could happen, but I haven’t heard anything about that.

How does this season compare to what you’ve played in the past? 

I would say that they are different characters, but this one is incredibly different from those that I’ve played. He’s got a lot of external qualities and things. He’s just fun to play and he’s probably the most evil character that I’ve played in the series. He surpasses Tate in that area.

Will we learn more about who’s real and who’s not in the second episode?

Matt Bomer’s not a ghost. He has the same thing that The Countess (Lady Gaga) has. It’s a virus. Sarah (Paulson) is dead. Sarah’s a ghost. I’m dead. I’ve long been dead. You find that in this episode. There’s a nice little flashback that happens and gives the whole backstory of the hotel and it’s origin and why it sort of is haunted the way that it is. It’s fun, it’s scary, it’s really cool. I had a lot of fun shooting it. It was kind of intense so I’m excited for people to see it. Hopefully they like it.

Tell me about the victims of the hotel. 

It’s people with demons, I think. They don’t necessarily have to be evil, but they are definitely people that have a dark side to them and they are haunted by some dark demons. I think Mr. March has an incredible ability to sniff out the worst in people and they are sort of drawn to that. It’s always interesting to see the people who are staying in the hotel — the ones who check in, but can’t check out.

Are all of the residents of the Hotel Cortez bad or what? 

No, I don’t think they are. I think that they’ve all just sort of maybe gone through bad things. I mean they’re not all bad certainly. Maybe they have have bad sides to themselves, but none of them are really bad people per se. That’s my opinion, but then again I’ve been playing a really evil character so my judgment may be a little skewed.

This was stated to be “the darkest season” yet. How was that playing the most evil character in the franchise’s scariest season?

There was one point, I won’t say what part it was, but I was sitting there and there was a lot of blood and it was definitely an intense moment. I was sitting there and we were in between takes and I kind of stood there and said, “Wow man. I’ve done five seasons and this is starting to really get to me. It’s starting to get a little weird. I’m starting to see things a little differently. I think I’ve got to kind of step out for a minute and get back to reality because you become desensitized to it.” ….But at the end of the day, it’s a TV show and you can separate the two and leave work at home. That’s what’s so cool about being with this crew and the same cast. That everybody sort of knows everybody so it’s kind of like wow, here we go again. We’re pretty much all insane and we’re all kind of together on it making this crazy thing. It’s nice to see friendly faces in such a crazy atmosphere so it’s all good.

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