‘American Horror Story: Hotel’: First Look at Lady Gaga’s Countess and New Characters

FX’s “American Horror Story: Hotel” will open for business on Oct. 7, and as check-in time approaches, new details are starting to emerge about the many twisted characters who inhabit Ryan Murphy’s latest macabre playground.

Entertainment Weekly’s “Hotel” cover story sheds a little more light on Lady Gaga’s mysterious Countess, previously described by Murphy as a bisexual “wealthy social doyenne” who is “consumed with art and fashion and people, and she has a nefarious plan that is revealed in the first episode.”

According to EW, Gaga’s Countess — who owns the titular Hotel Cortez — sustains herself with a nutritious diet of sex and blood, but Murphy hesitates to call her (or her lovers, Matt Bomer’s Donovan and Finn Wittrock’s Tristan) vampires… “I prefer the term ‘ancient blood virus,'” he says. “It’s not vampires. It’s really a form of hemophilia in a way. There’s no capes and fangs.”

The Countess, Donovan and Tristan all carry the virus, which causes the hosts to crave human blood — but since they’re lacking fangs, the characters instead kill their victims with a suitably Gaga-esque chainmail glove, complete with razor-sharp nails.

Murphy also revealed that “Hotel” will pay a visit to the “Murder House” occupied by Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott’s characters in season one of “AHS.” Solidifying the link between the seasons, the realtor, Marcy (Christine Estabrook), who sold said haunted house also represents the Hotel Cortez, and will make a reappearance in the new season.

EW also debuted a first look at “Hotel’s” other occupants — check them out below.

Bomer’s Donovan has been the Countess’ partner for 20 years, but finds that her affections start to wane after she meets Tristan. “He’s very interested in domesticity and sort of nesting and hunkering down and having her to himself every now and then, and that doesn’t go over so well with her limitless hunger,” Bomer told EW of his character.

Kathy Bates’ Iris is Donovan’s mother, who runs the hotel. The two have a love-hate relationship (with most of the hate coming from Donovan’s side). “Iris is overprotective with a capital O, especially now since her son is ill,” Bates revealed. “She wants to be there every day to make sure he’s all right, and she’s very controlling that way.”

Angela Bassett plays Ramona Royale, an actress who used to be involved with the Countess. She’ll team up with Donovan to get revenge on the seductive socialite after being jilted by her. “They are powerful women at opposite sides and at odds with one another, each believing that they’re right,” Bassett said of her character.

Wittrock’s Tristan is a male model who finds himself unable to resist the Countess. “He’s got an addictive personality,” Wittrock said. “I think he’s hypersexual also. It makes him a prime candidate for the Countess’ charms and he is very willingly seduced and then turned by her.”

Wes Bentley’s John Lowe is an LAPD detective who’s on the trail of a serial killer known as the Ten Commandments Killer, and moves into the hotel to pursue his investigation. He’s married to Chloe Sevigny’s Alex, a pediatrician. “He has a family he loves very much but that is sort of falling apart,” Bentley told EW. “It’s clear most of what John struggles with is control.” At FX’s Television Critics Assn. press day, Sevigny revealed a further tidbit about her character: “We are dealing with a great loss in our family and coming to grips with that, among other things.”

In true “AHS” fashion, the narrative will jump between time periods, including visits to the ’30s when the Hotel Cortez was built by Evan Peters’ sadistic Mr. March. “He is unique,” Peters teased. “He’s designed a hotel to cater to his specific needs, which tend toward the dark evil.”

Sarah Paulson’s Hypodermic Sally is a junkie who lives at the Cortez. “She’s selfish,” Paulson told EW. “She will put a stiletto in your face if it means she can get what she needs. But she’s also like a broken rag doll.” At TCA, she also revealed, “I hate Iris in a rather ancient way for reasons that are revealed quickly. I have a sort of budding relationship with Wes’ character.”

Click over to EW for a look at “Hotel’s” other newcomers, including Naomi Campbell and Max Greenfield.

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