Interview with Mark Consuelos of "American Horror Story: Asylum" on FX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Mark Consuelos

Interview with Mark Consuelos of "American Horror Story: Asylum" on FX 11/26/12

Final Transcript
FX NETWORK: American Horror Story: Asylum
November 26, 2012/11:00 a.m. PST

Kristy Silvernail Ė Media Relations Manager, FX Network
Mark Consuelos Ė American Horror Story: Asylum, ďSpiveyĒ


Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the American Horror Story: Asylum. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer period. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Kristy Silvernail of FX. Please go ahead.

K. Silvernail Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the American Horror Story: Asylum conference call with guest star Mark Consuelos, who plays ĎSpivey,í an inmate at Briarcliff who was first seen during a rough encounter with ĎKití in Chapter 1 and reappeared again last week in ďThe Origins of Monstrosity,Ē where he revealed a perversion towards the seemingly innocent ĎSister Mary Eunice.í American Horror Story: Asylum airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on FX. As always, we respectfully request that you keep your questions focused on the series and the character.

With that said, letís go ahead and take our first question.

Moderator Thank you. Weíll go to the line of Erin Willard of

E. Willard Hi, Mark. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Iíve been a fan for a long time.

M. Consuelos Oh, thank you.

E. Willard Can you tell us how you got involved in this part?

M. Consuelos Yes. I was Ö Ryan Murphy and he wanted to talk about this particular project, and over dinner he explained the role and how ĎSpiveyí was going to look. And we really got into the physical characteristics of ĎSpiveyí and he did warn me that heís going to be a super dark kind of character, extremely demented, and for me I said, you understand thatís exactly why I would want to play ĎSpivey.í

E. Willard Great. So you were aware ahead of time of what you were going to have to go through with makeup and Ė

M. Consuelos No, I had no idea. But I literally said whatever youíre about to ask me to do, Ryan, the answerís yes.

E. Willard Oh, thatís so great. Well, itís a terrific part and youíve been doing a great job. Thanks so much.

M. Consuelos Oh, thanks. Thanks.

Moderator And next weíll go to the line of Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times.

J. Nunn Hey, Iím calling from Chicago and I heard that you grew up in Illinois.

M. Consuelos I did, yes in Lebanon, Illinois; southern Illinois.
J. Nunn Oh wow, okay. I wanted to know how long it took you to get that makeup on.

M. Consuelos Oh, it takes anywhere from two and a half to three and a half hours, depending on whatís going on. Whenever they say itís going to take that long Iím like, yes, right, thereís no way, whatís so hard about that. But these guys are definitely artists. Theyíre amazing at what they do. And just getting it on and then once they get the stuff on the prosthetics, the way they go about touching them up and painting them and adjusting them, like I said theyíre really artists.

J. Nunn I heard that the third season is getting picked up, so would you be interested in being on the show again for next season?

M. Consuelos Absolutely. Ö . Itís been so fun just to be part of it, the whole buzz around the show is exciting, and then when it actually starts airing people absolutely love it. I got extreme street credibility from my high school aged son, heís like, ďDad, the fact that youíre in American Horror Story is absolutely cool.Ē And I was like, ďIím not sure if itís appropriate for you.Ē And he was like, ďDad, come on, Iím a New York City kid in high school Ö .Ē
J. Nunn Right, right. Well, come back and visit us in Illinois soon.

M. Consuelos Thank you so much.

Moderator And next we go to the line of Amy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas.

A. Harrington Hi. Thank you so much for your time today.

M. Consuelos Youíre welcome, Amy.

A. Harrington Itís obviously such a dark show, how do you protect yourself from taking that character and the tension of the storytelling home with you every night?

M. Consuelos Oh, thatís a great question. As dark as you think the stuff that youíre doing as an actor on that show is, once you watch it youíre like, oh, man, it could have been a lot darker, having seen some of the other things that people were doing. And so I donít know, I saw it as such a great opportunity that I literally had so much fun doing it and there was excitement about doing it, and I didnít have that much trouble separating myself from what was going on, on set.
A. Harrington It seems like youíre pretty different.

M. Consuelos I had a lot of fun, actually.

A. Harrington Yes, and to that end, whatís the atmosphere like on set between takes?

M. Consuelos I think itís super professional. The directors have been amazing. The crews for the days that Iíve been there are outstanding, and the actors, that list of actors, gosh, you canít get much better than that. Everybodyís super, super professional and I think they have a good time as well, but theyíre there to work. You would think it would feel super heavy sometimes, but I think the stage manager Ö the assistant director did a really good job, when those moments are happening everybody was super respectful.

A. Harrington Excellent. Well, thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it.

M. Consuelos Thank you. Thank you.

Moderator And next we go to the line of Earl Dittman, Wireless Digital Journal.
E. Dittman How are you this morning?

M. Consuelos Iím doing great. How are you?

E. Dittman Iím doing great, doing great. I have to say, looking over the stuff youíve done this is really quite a departure from anything youíve done in the past, so it must be really exciting for you as an actor and as a performer.

M. Consuelos It is. Thank God. Yes, I was so excited to do this.

E. Dittman So obviously you were a fan of the first season?

M. Consuelos Yes, a big fan, a big fan. I thought it was really interesting how they, I guess, classified it as a miniseries, that each year would be a little bit different Ė

E. Dittman Right, right.

M. Consuelos Ö super smart. Itís really interesting for an actor as well that you can continue to do season to season and not be playing the same role, which is one of the interesting things as an actor is you always want to try new things, so the fact that they set it up that you would be doing different things each season Ė

E. Dittman Yes, like Jessica [Lange] and Zach [Quinto] and Sarah [Paulson] and all of them, yes, they all have different parts. That whole repertory type of thing is really, really cool, I think as well.

M. Consuelos I totally agree. I totally agree.

E. Dittman Did Ryan come to you, or did you go to him, or how did this all come about for you?

M. Consuelos We met each other at a social thing and we decided to talk about a project that he was interested in me doing. Initially, he had written something with me in mind and I turned it down, and I said, ďThat would never have happened.Ē And he said, ďNo, it happened. You turned it down.Ē ďNo, I did not do that.Ē And he was like, ďYes, you did.Ē And after getting to know Ryan just a little bit, and heís absolutely wonderful, I found out that he remembers every single thing, heís so specific, and thatís one of his strong points, and very, very specific, he knows what he wants and he knows how things go. So there was actually a conversation about something that I didnít do turned into a conversation about something I could potentially do, which Iím glad, timing is everything, so Iím glad it actually worked out.

E. Dittman Did he write this for you, or was it already written and he just thought of you for it?

M. Consuelos Well, you know the romantic actor in me Ö he couldnít help but write this demented, just disgusting looking, deplorable human being after meeting me Ė no, I donít know. Youíll have to ask Ryan.

E. Dittman Okay. But before I let you go, so you did mention you would be interested in next season, so it sounds like something you would welcome doing.

M. Consuelos Oh my gosh, yes. I think the fact that he does have that repertory of actors that feels like itís very much that kind of thing where he gets a group of actors and he continues to work with them, yes, I would love to do it.

E. Dittman Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Mark. I appreciate it.

M. Consuelos Thanks, man.

Moderator Next we go to the line of Kristyn Clarke,

K. Clarke Hi, Mark. Thank you so much for speaking with us today.

M. Consuelos Youíre welcome.

K. Clarke With the asylum being such a character itself within the show, what is it like, is it challenging at all to act in that environment? How intense is that?

M. Consuelos Iíve never been in an asylum, and you always feel like itís sort of creepy and thereís this lore about them, so I didnít really know what to expect. I tried to watch and do as much research as I possibly could. And I watched this one documentary called, I think itís called Ö Follies, and I think it was shot in the mid-60s, at the same time this show was set. Are you still there?

K. Clarke Yes, Iím here.

M. Consuelos Okay, cool. And it kind of informed me a lot. It made me actually even more afraid after watching that documentary. But, yes, the set, the production designer Ö did such an amazing job, everything looks so authentic and substantial and it really sets the mood for the show.

K. Clarke As you were able to delve into this character, is there anything that you were surprised to learn about yourself by taking on this role?

M. Consuelos Not too much surprise I learned about myself, maybe something I probably already knew, but not too much. It will maybe surprise some people that watch it, but not too much that I didnít know already myself.

K. Clarke Great. Thank you so much.

M. Consuelos Thank you.

Moderator And next we go to the line of Paulette Cohn of Xfinity TV.

P. Cohn Good morning, Mark. You have an ABC comedy that youíre going to be producing with Kelly. I was wondering, do you prefer producing because it gives you more control, or do you prefer acting?
M. Consuelos Oh gosh, I guess it depends on the project. There are certain projects that you love to be involved in no matter what capacity, as producing, or in front of the camera, whatever it is, and thereís certain projects that probably I wouldnít even consider getting behind, just the sheer magnitude of certain projects I couldnít produce, so just to come in and act would probably be a lot easier. But I like aspects of both. I think that for a couple of years I focused on more the producing because I wanted to be close to home after traveling a lot for work. And now that the kids are a little bit older Iím enjoying acting again and taking these jobs. This particular job for FX really I would travel one day, work one day, maybe two days, and then be on the red eye home. So a lot of times I was only gone for two to three days, which is perfect for having a family in a different part of the country.

P. Cohn Are you hoping that American Horror Story will change how people think about you and maybe they will offer you more dramatic roles?

M. Consuelos I really love the dramatic roles. And the great thing about this job is that although itís extremely dramatic, itís so much fun. Ö roles, but it is a drama, and itís not necessarily a procedural like cop show, this is extreme drama, and itís so fun to play. And, yes, I think that typically I wouldnít be seen as, or given the opportunity to do this job or play this character, so I hope that opens me up a little bit to more opportunities.

P. Cohn Perfect, thank you so much.

M. Consuelos Thank you.

Moderator And next we go to the line of Adam Lawton of

A. Lawton Mark, how are you doing today?

M. Consuelos Iím doing great. Thank you.

A. Lawton Iím a big fan. Iíve been watching a lot of your stuff. Iím always a fan of the Ö characters. My question today is, were you allowed to give your own input in developing the character yourself, or did they have it pretty well set that they had a certain agenda for you to work the character?

M. Consuelos I think that with most good scripts and good shows they expect the actor to bring some of their ideas and some of the things, the back story of the character, or just certain aspects, they expect the actor to do some of that stuff, and I think itís always a good collaboration between the actor and the writer and the director to try stuff out during the process. And I think what was really great is that people were open to certain things and they would let you know if that was something they wanted you to do more, cut that in half, do more of that, we need you to do this, but I feel like on any really, really good show I think everybody comes with their own stuff and you want to try as much as you can.

I would say that the character was really clear in some of the things that heíd been doing and some of these actions, so it makes it easier for the actor, it informed the character and what you would think heíd be going through. There wasnít really a lot of gray area here. Do you know what I mean? They wrote him very specifically, which I really appreciated. But just because they are very specific about those things, it doesnít mean that it limits you. Actually, it makes those possibilities and some of your choices even greater.

A. Lawton Okay. Now, would you say that youíre more of a fan of that type of direction, or do you like to sometimes have a little bit more defining in a role?

M. Consuelos No, I love the collaboration. I think every actor would probably say that itís always a collaboration and if you ask directors they expect the actors to bring something. They donít want to be thinking for everybody. I think I enjoy this kind of Ė again, I think it was a hybrid of both. There was a lot of collaboration but it was also very, very specific with an extremely specific view, especially from Ryan, on certain things that I thought were really good. You have to have a specific view and you have to be pretty precise about that. I think as an actor itís always great to have a little bit of both.

A. Lawton Excellent. Cool. And thanks a lot, I appreciate it.

M. Consuelos Thanks, man.

Moderator And we go now to Monique Jones,

M. Jones Hi, Mark. Thanks for speaking with me today.

M. Consuelos Youíre welcome.

M. Jones How did you get into character, because thereís a lot of dark stuff that ĎSpiveyí has in his personality?

M. Consuelos Yes. I donít know, I think you just kind of get into it a little bit. And I was saying before that the sets are so amazing and the makeup and the wardrobe are also really specific that it really, really helps that kind of suspended belief, and you get into character pretty easily on set. And then again youíre working with some of the greatest actors ever, theyíre so fantastic, and I think that also helps, and the directors were great. I think what they do on the show specifically is they set you up to do really good work, youíve got a lot of support all around.

M. Jones And how has your family and fans reacted to this role, since itís very different than what a lot of people have seen you in?

M. Consuelos Yes, I think it disturbed my wife a little bit, in a good way. Sheís hooked on the show, but she finds it so disturbing and she canít look away. She wants to look away, but she canít look away. And I have one 15-year-old son who loves the genre and heís been watching it too, which Iím kind of on the fence whether or not he should be able to watch it, but Iíve gotten an incredible amount of street credibility for being on ďsuch a cool show,Ē as he puts it. And I think the fans have responded really, really well to it, and they didnít expect it, and theyíre appreciating it and enjoying it.

M. Jones Great. Thanks so much.

M. Consuelos Thank you.

Moderator (Instructions given.) And we go to the line of Sammi Turano, TV Grapevine.

S. Turano Thank you. Iíve been a fan of yours since I was a little girl.

M. Consuelos Oh gosh, thank you.

S. Turano No problem. My question for you is you mentioned that your son watches it, even though you said he was a bit young. How does it feel knowing youíre doing a role that your son can really love and be proud of and tell all his friends about?

M. Consuelos Again, the fact that he likes it and thinks itís cool, for a father, you immediately become uncool once you become a father and especially the older they get and the older you get itís that inevitability of just as cool as you think you are youíre probably just as lame in your kidsí eyes, so the fact that he really likes it, and he really likes the horror genre and some of the sci-fi stuff as well, so we do have some discussions about doing the character, the makeup and how they do it, and itís cool. Iíve been enjoying the conversation with him.

S. Turano Wonderful. What are the odds that weíre going to get Kelly to guest star?

M. Consuelos Hey, listen, you never know with Mr. Murphy, because he can have anybody on the show.

S. Turano Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. Have a great day.

M. Consuelos Thank you.

Moderator And next we go to the line of Earl Dittman, Wireless Digital Journal.

E. Dittman Mark, I have to be honest and say that the first couple of times I saw your character I didnít even realize it was you.

M. Consuelos Good.

E. Dittman It wasnít until this last one I thought, ďThatís Mark Consuelos. I didnít even realize that was him.Ē Thatís how much you got into the character, and I just didnít even notice. And Iím a bit of an aficionado of the series so it just completely blew me away, the performance.

M. Consuelos Thank you.

E. Dittman Youíre quite welcome, because you just surprised the heck out of me in a wonderful way. Do you like taking adventurous roles like this? When roles come along this way, because I certainly, like you said, street credibility, I think this has opened you up to a whole new thing, because I certainly look at you in a different way, and Iím sure a lot of Hollywood does too, are you open to doing things that are maybe like this or a little more outside of the box than, say, a Ė

M. Consuelos Oh God, yes. Yes, absolutely. And the great thing about this role is when I was talking to Ryan Murphy about it, he had very specific opinions about what he would look like. And he was like, weíll start with your teeth, they canít be that white and nice, so weíre going to completely screw up your teeth and everything. And then weíre going to start with Ö, and your hair, and your face, and body type and the way he walks, and it was just so exciting just to come at it from that point of view, because frankly a lot of the stuff that I do, itís the exact opposite of that, and they want to make it as perfect as possible. Iím typically the guy that ends up kissing the girl at the end of the scene, or at the end of the show or whatever it is, not that thatís not fantastic, but for an actor, especially since Iíve been doing that kind of stuff so much, to be given the opportunity to play a role that people, if you didnít tell them that it was me, they probably wouldnít even figure it out, which is great.

E. Dittman Yes, yes.

M. Consuelos To me thatís a huge compliment and there was a lot of thought that went into that, in the appearance of the guy and the era and how they lived and how unhealthy he was, and that was fun, yes. And absolutely, Iím absolutely open to continuing in getting those opportunities.

E. Dittman But Iíve always understood from every actor Iíve talked to that doing the soaps, though, is a good training ground for actors, even though some people look at soaps as, oh, theyíre on soaps, but I understand theyíre really great training grounds.

M. Consuelos Yes, a tremendous amount of material and the workload is significant on soaps. You really, really have to learn how to work quickly and make specific choices and work long hours and youíre just appreciative to be working. So in that respect, yes, I think it can be a great training ground.

E. Dittman Yes. Well, I appreciate it. Again, thanks for a great performance, and thanks for talking to us today. I really appreciate it.

M. Consuelos Okay, man. Thank you.

E. Dittman Thanks a lot.

Moderator Thereís no one else in queue at this time. Please continue.

K. Silvernail All right, well, thank you again so much to everybody for participating today, and especially you, Mark, thanks for taking time out of your day to be with us.

M. Consuelos Thank you.

K. Silvernail As a reminder, American Horror Story: Asylum airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.Thanks again, and you may now disconnect.

M. Consuelos Thank you.

Moderator That does conclude our conference call for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive TeleConference. You may now disconnect.

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