SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains plots details up until Season 7, episode 8 of “American Horror Story.”
Another one bites the dust.
Dr. Rudy Vincent, played by “American Horror Story” vet Cheyenne Jackson, met his end at the hands of his own brother, Kai (Evan Peters) in this week’s episode, “Winter of Our Discontent.” After Ally (Sarah Paulson) spills the beans to Kai that Rudy said he wants him committed, Kai killed him in cold blood… after, in a symbolic gesture, cutting off his pinky.
Jackson talked on the phone with Variety the day after Rudy’s death aired to talk about how he found out about the news, Rudy’s love for his brother, and if he’d be down for more “AHS.”
When did you first find out that you would be dying in this way?
Actually, only when I read the script. That’s kind of how they roll there. You’re on a need-to-know basis, unless there’s something that’s important for you to play in the earlier episodes, but yeah. It’s kind of a running gag. We get our scripts delivered to our houses and you just turn the page trepidatiously to see if you make it to the next page. I got this one, I picked it up, I was like “Okay — oh! Oh… he’s going to talk to Ally, it could go one of two ways” and there we go. So yeah, I found out when I read it.
So Ryan Murphy doesn’t even send you a courtesy text or anything?
No. He knows we’re all big boys and girls. That’s the “American Horror Story” way.
Rudy told Ally he wants Kai committed, but he told Kai that he wants to help him. Which story should we believe, if any?
I mean, both. I think he has a deep love for his brother, really wanted to help him. Also, the doctor is very pragmatic and very, you know, you kind of saw when their parents died, he went into taking care of business mode. “Let’s just dispose of these bodies, let’s not f— up anything we have going on in our lives.” I just think he thinks he could talk his way out of it and think his way out of it. And I think he underestimated the power of his brother’s commitment and also the army of the people he has supporting him. He just didn’t know.
How did Rudy feel about Ally? He seems exasperated by her, at times.
Well, she’s a lot. I mean, she’s the kind of patient who, you know, from the moment she walks in to the very end, she’s high maintenance… I think he definitely cared about her and wanted what’s best for her, but also, you know, there was definite cause [to ask], “Does she have all of her marbles? Is she seeing things that we don’t see?” So there was concern.
I am curious to know when you found out that you were Kai and Winter’s brother.
I was in the make-up chair. I was just getting ready, I think we were shooting episode 3. Johnny Gray, one of the head writers and producers, said, “Have you read [episode] 5 yet?” And I said, “No, I haven’t gotten it yet.” And he said, “Wait until you read 5!” So I said, “Oh, okay. Something’s going to happen. Either I die in 5 or there’s definitely something going on.” I think somebody got a script early and I think on my lunch break, I read that part really fast and I got it ahead of time.
Do you think it would have changed the way you played him at all, if you had found out at the beginning of the season?
I don’t think so. One of the fun things that they do with us is really tell you what you need to know. That is something where I wouldn’t have necessarily changed anything because there wasn’t interaction with [Kai in the early episodes]. But, in some of those earlier therapy scenes, there were a couple of producers asking me to play a couple of the sequences a little more ambiguous so the audience wouldn’t know what I know and if I’m behind something, or maybe Kai is getting information from me. I didn’t know why, and actually, I don’t know if they knew at that point how much I knew or if I was going to be a part of the cult. I think they were leaving the door open.
I remember a scene where you were playing with some clown pins in the office, which set the theory mill ablaze.
Yeah, I think in that same episode, I had a long scene with Sarah on the phone and she’s really upset and I asked the director, “What if I was actually just kind of reclined in my chair with my head back, kind of disconnected from the whole thing?” And it doesn’t match what I’m actually saying to her, because I’m being very, you know, passionate, but really, you see my body language and you’re like, “This guy could care less.” And that’s interesting.
Do you know anything that happens in the show going forward?
I haven’t read the last script on purpose. I wanted to be as surprised as the fans and just me, because I love the show and I want to see how it turns out. I only know the second to the last [episode]. I honestly don’t even know.
Would you be up to star in more “American Horror Story”?
Yeah! Oh, of course. Listen, Ryan hired me five times now and I love him and he really has opened me up to a whole new world, a whole new genre. I mean, I’ve really been known before all this as a comedy guy. It’s shown me that I can do more and every time I’ve done a scene with Sarah Paulson, I’ve gotten better. Yeah, absolutely. I had a three-year contract with them, and this is my third year, so who knows what happens? I would always come back to Ryan and he knows that.
This interview has been edited and condensed. “American Horror Story” airs at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays on FX.