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Interview with Denis O'Hare of
"American Horror Story: Freak Show" on
Denis was very nice, and it's clear that he's a really
intelligent and thoughtful actor. I enjoyed talking to him
almost as much as I've enjoyed seeing him on AHS and on
other shows, like "True Blood". He's always fantastic.
FX NETWORK: American Horror Story: Freak Show
December 12, 2014/10:00 a.m. PST
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by.
Welcome to the American Horror Story: Freak Show conference
call. At this time all participants are in a listen
only-mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer
session. Instructions will be given at that time. (Operator
instructions.) As a reminder, this conference is being
I would now like to turn the conference over to our host,
Mrs. Roslyn Bibby. Please go ahead.
Roslyn: Thank you, Cherie. Hi, everyone, and thanks for
taking time out to be on the call with Denis OíHare, who
portrays the menacing ďStanleyĒ on American Horror Story:
Freak Show. Hi, Denis, and welcome to the call.
Denis: Good morning. I hope everyone is well.
Roslyn: Okay, Cherie. If youíre ready, we can open up the
line for questions.
Moderator: Okay. (Operator instructions.) One moment. Our
first question is from Diana Price with TheExaminer.com.
Please go ahead.
Diana: Thanks so much for doing the call today, Denis.
Denis: My pleasure. How are you?
Diana: Iím good. How are you?
Denis: Good, good.
Diana: Well, I wanted to know if you know yet if youíre
coming back for the next season of American Horror Story.
And if so, are you hoping to play maybe a somewhat normal
character for a change, or would you hope Ryan pushes the
envelope even farther and gets more outrageous and
Denis: While watching last weekís episode while I was
standing in the road basically doing obscene things to
Michael Chiklis I thought, can we push the envelope further?
How much envelope is left? But we never know whatís going to
happen. Itís Ryanís world and we just wait for word.
He would love for me to be in next season, but thatís an
informal invitation. When I joined last year I signed a two
year contract, so the idea is that I would come back for
this year. But until he comes up with the idea and until he
finds parts for us, we really have to wait. Last year I got
a call, I think about mid-January, where he offered me
Stanley, so this year if it all follows the same pattern I
should be hearing from him sometime in January or February.
In terms of what I want to play again, I trust him. Heís got
really good taste when it comes to fitting us to our roles.
I feel really happy with what Iíve been able to do so far. I
loved Spalding. I thought he was such an unusual character
and a great technical challenge. But I really do love
Stanley. And Stanleyís kind of normal. Heís not disfigured
in any way, I mean, really. And heís charming in a way. So,
Iíll take another Stanley.
Diana: Alright, thanks so much. But if thereís anybody that
can push the envelope farther itís certainly Ryan.
Denis: Thatís true.
Diana: Weíll have to wait and see.
Denis: Thatís really true.
Moderator: Our next question is from Jerry Nunn with Windy
City Times. Please go ahead.
Jerry: Hi, Denis. Iím calling from Chicago.
Denis: I know you are. Windy City Times, I know it very well.
I used to live in Chicago for years. Iíll be back in
February, really bad timing.
Jerry: Oh, okay. What are you doing in February?
Denis: Iím also a playwright and I write plays with a writing
partner, Lisa Peterson. We wrote a play called An Iliad,
which is a one-man version of the Trojan War. And our next
play is called The Good Book. Itís about the Bible. Itís
being done at the Court Theatre in Chicago starting in early
March. So, I have to go into rehearsals on February 17th as
Jerry: Oh, well Iíll be there.
Jerry: I was wondering if this role has made you think about
the gay community and how itís changed, and going to the
retro gay bar and all that?
Denis: Yes, definitely. I think whatís so great about Ryan
and Brad and the team of writers is that theyíre never
content to simply write about one thing. Theyíre always
using the occasion to raise awareness or consciousness. And
certainly this series this year seems to be about physical
abnormalities and what we consider to be a freak, or normal,
but there are subtler applications.
And one of the subtler applications, of course, is the way
that gay people were thought of and treated. And itís really
interesting to see Dell as one expression of that, somebody
whoís so deeply closeted that he actually considers hanging
himself in the last episode, to someone like Stanley, who
just seems to roll with it. It seems to be part of his
lifestyle, which is admittedly not a healthy lifestyle; heís
a professional liar, but there is a sense in which heís a
lot more, I guess, at ease with it.
But heís hiring hustlers to basically fulfill himself, so
thatís certainly not healthy. And he doesnít seem to be in
any kind of healthy relationship, so I think it is pretty
amazing to have that snapshot of what it was like to be a
gay person in the 1950s. I think itís really cool.
Jerry: Yes, well see you next year.
Moderator: The next question is from Alex Paredes with
Raant.com. Please go ahead.
Alex: Hi, Denis. How are you?
Denis: Iím good. How are you?
Alex: Iím good. Thank you so much. Thanks for taking the time
for the conference call and everything.
Denis: Of course, cool.
Alex: I wanted to dive into your characters from last season
and this season. Like you answered earlier before, youíve
pushed the envelope to the fullest and you kind of wonder
how to push it even more. As an actor, how do you bring
yourself together to bring alive these characters onscreen,
and how do you bring yourself out after youíre done with
Denis: Itís funny, on any given day weíre shooting, and the
days can be fairly technical, meaning sometimes weíre doing
big, complicated shoots. For instance, we just did a shoot
in an upcoming episode, youíve got that opportunity that
involves almost the entire cast and a dinner table and food,
and wine. And itís just one of those endless days where you
donít really feel like youíre acting. You feel like what
youíre doing is sitting in place and minding literally your
peas on the plate. Did I shift around five, or did I shift
around four? So, when you get an occasion to actually full
out just act, itís really a joy. And we do get a lot of
those occasions. Mine happened to be a lot with Jessica,
because we tend to have scenes that are just two person
scenes and heavy dialogue, and we both just go for it on any
But in terms of exploring the characters, there was a scene
we did, as I said, I referenced it already, with Michael
Chiklis, where Iím on the road with him and sort of
seducing/abusing him. And the way that Iíve done that scene
that was simply just Stanley being kind of sinister, evil,
and I decided to go somewhere different, to make him
incredibly vulnerable. They didnít use the take where I was
most vulnerable, in which I was just about weeping, but
thereís a case in which heís revealing himself as much as
heís doing something to Michael Chiklisís character.
And I love exploring those other aspects of characters. And
weíre given a lot of latitude to do that. But you also have
to challenge yourself. You can, at any given point, decide
how deep you want to go into a certain take, and I, and most
of the cast, we tend to go for the darkest possible reading,
or the most challenging reading.
That doesnít mean they always use it. But thereís an
upcoming scene, and Michael Goi, our cinematographer,
directed, and in the scene Iím with Jimmy, I think I can say
that. And itís an incredibly weird scene because of what the
subject matter is, and the way in which we play it is
incredibly, I think, kind of heartbreaking. Itís one of
those great things that happens in American Horror Story,
mixed in with the horror and sometimes even the camp, are
moments of real bathos and real tragedy. And I think thatís
what keeps me coming back, at least.
Jerry: Great. Thank you so much for that awesome answer.
Denis: Sure. Thanks, man.
Moderator: The next question is from Earl Dittman with
Digital Journal. Please go ahead.
Earl: Hi, Denis. How are you, man?
Denis: Good, how are you, Earl?
Earl: Doing great. In a year of brilliant performances I have
to say yours as Stanley is one of my favorites.
Denis: Oh, thank you.
Earl: It is so much fun to him, sinister and fun.
Denis: Yes, I like the fun part.
Earl: Well, speaking of that, you were just talking about how
you approach it a little differently. How much would you say
you are like Stanley, and how much are you just definitely
not like Stanley?
Denis: You know what, Iím not very much like Stanley. I have
to say, I hate to admit it, but Iím a rather conventional
person. Iím afraid of breaking the law. I do have a huge
rebellious streak in me, which is manifested by a kind of
really immature anti-authoritarianism; itís very hard to
obey rules. Itís a contradiction. I tend to be afraid of
breaking rules, but Iím also somebody who likes to break
rules. But Iím not a liar, and Iím not a cheat. And Stanley
is a liar and a cheat. What I love about him is that heís
ultimately an optimistic person. He believes in the fact
that in any given day he can make things better, and I do
share that with him. I tend to be an optimist. I tend to
believe that every dayís a new day, and today Iím going to
get things right. And today Iím going to actually be able to
make a difference.
And Stanley does the same thing. Heís looking to better his
own personal world, and heís very sunny in that way. And he
represents a strange strain of American optimism that sort
of gets married to that can-do spirit, and that American
entrepreneurial spirit, and heís all of those things wrapped
into one. I share a little bit of that, but I donít share
the more twisted aspects, I think.
Earl: Heís just misunderstood.
Denis: Well, as an actor itís always our job to advocate for
our characters, and thereís a lot I can advocate for
Stanley. Everyone keeps yelling at me for killing Ma Petite,
and Iím like ďI didnít touch her. I didnít kill her.Ē ďYes,
but you encouraged Dell.Ē Iím like, ďI didnít tell him
specifically to kill Ma Petite.Ē So, I donít understand. I
am misunderstood. Youíre right.
Earl: Denis, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate
Denis: My pleasure.
Moderator: The next question is from Rebecca Murray with
Showbiz Junkies. Please go ahead.
Rebecca: Good morning, and thank you for doing the call.
Denis: Hi, Rebecca.
Rebecca: Hi. I was wondering, for each of these characters in
American Horror Story are you given much of a back story, or
is it something that you have to come up with and create?
Denis: Oh wow! No, weíre given almost nothing, really.
Denis: Itís really crazy. I think part of Ryanís brilliance
is his trust in who he hires, and I think he hires us
because he knows weíre all creative, inventive people and
When I first got this part there was a notion that he might
be based on Tod Browning, and so I ran around and got all of
his movies and we watched Freaks and we watched some Dracula
movies, and I got a great biography called Dark Carnival,
and absorbed that. Then as we got closer to shooting I
realized that that wasnít going to happen, because the time
frame was wrong. We had to change the time frame.
But what I took away from that was the idea that I think all
con men, all grifters, all hustlers, have dabbled in many
things, and so I made up the story that he was a
vaudevillian, that Stanley, somewhere in his background was
a song and dance man. So, I tried to always have him a
little bit light on his feet, a little bit whistling and
singing, and having music always in his fingers and his
head, and that really informed something about the character
In the service of back story at one point I was told that
Maggie and I were probably going to be father and daughter,
and then that sort of shifted to no, they sometimes pretend
to be father and daughter, and then that shifted to be no,
theyíre just equals. So, we never quite know whatís
I did know that I wanted a mustache. I feel very strongly
about that. And I remember I came in when Ryan was shooting
and I was on set for approval, and my one conversation with
him after we had first talked, I came in and he didnít like
the mustache I first had, it was too fat, and he wanted
something more Errol Flynn-like, and so we did two more
versions. And it was mine, by the way, that I grew, we were
trimming my own mustache. And he finally liked one. And
before I left I said, ďSo, I think Stanleyís a whistler.Ē
And Ryan said, ďWhistle away.Ē And that was our last note. I
took it from there.
Rebecca: Thatís amazing. I canít wait to see how the season
Denis: Oh, itís pretty spectacular.
Rebecca: Thank you.
Moderator: The next question is from Kristen Clarke with Pop
Culture magazine. Please go ahead.
Kristen: Hi, Denis. Thank you so much for speaking with us
Denis: Hi, Kristen, a pleasure.
Kristen: Well, if you were to return next season, is there
any type of theme or type of character that you would like
Denis: You know, Iíve been racking my brains about this. And
thank God itís not in my hands, because I feel like theyíve
covered so much territory so well. They really have touched
on ghosts pretty extensively in Murder House; I felt that
was a lot about ghosts. Asylum, obviously was brilliant, and
Asylum had the alien abduction theme, which if anything Iím
going to say I would expand upon that.
Denis: On a body snatcher type thing, or something to do with
aliens among us, or transformation. That feels like itís
right. But they did, as I say, touch upon that a little bit.
Coven, obviously covered all of witches. And Freak Show is a
brilliant idea that covers the grotesqueries of life. So,
outside of satanic cults and torture porn, Iím not quite
sure whatís left. As I say, Iím glad itís up to them,
because I guess my mind doesnít work this way well enough.
But Iím excited and anxious to see what theyíre going to
come up with, and I will say yes to whatever Iím told to do.
Kristen: Definitely, weíre excited too.
Denis: Yes, yes.
Moderator: The next question is from Jasmine Alyce with
Fanbolt.com. Please go ahead.
Jasmine: Hey, Denis. Thanks so much for talking with us
Denis: Hi, Jasmine, of course.
Jasmine: Iím a huge fan of the show. And your characters,
every season that youíve been in the show, have always had
some sort of physical abnormality. This season itís not
necessarily like a deformity, but itís something.
Jasmine: Why do you think that Ryan likes to do that to you?
Denis: Itís funny, there are a lot of resonances or uber
themes that come back from season to season. Kathy Bates
lost her head in two seasons, which I think is pretty funny,
this season and then last season. There was a weird thing
between Jessica and I, we always were in some sort of
symbiotic relationship, never healthy. In year one I was her
lover but being used by her. And in year three I was her
servant/wanna be lover. This year Iím definitely not a
romantic interest in her, but Iím in an unhealthy symbiotic
partnership of sorts. But I love the fact that he creates
these large uber themes.
As far as making me be deformed, he likes me this year. I
didnít have to sit in the makeup chair very long. I think
the first year it was three and a half hours. Last year it
was only about an hour and a half. And this year it was
really easy. I got some mustache grooming, and I got some
bad Florida age spots put on my face, and then I got my
lovely toupee on and that was it.
And I love, by the way, makeup. I really am a fan of
transformative makeup. I feel like it goes halfway to
getting you to the character, so Iím always happy about it.
Weíll see what happens next year.
Jasmine: Thank you so much.
Denis: My pleasure.
Moderator: The next question is from Jamie Steinberg with
Starry Constellation. Please go ahead. Ms. Steinberg, please
Jamie: Hi, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us
today. I appreciate it.
Denis: Hi. How are you, Amy?
Jamie: Good. Itís actually [indiscernible].
Denis: Iím so sorry, so sorry.
Jamie: Thatís okay. I wanted to know, youíre a part of social
media. Are you enjoying that instant fan feedback youíve
been receiving when the episodes premiere?
Denis: This whole live feed thing is interesting. On the one
hand, as a theater person I find it sort of, I donít know,
distracting in terms of watching the experience. I do wonder
how much anybody can pay attention when they are thinking
about the next clever thing to say. I know that as a person
watching it I canít take in a lot of what Iím seeing, so I
usually have to watch it a second time just to get the
feeling of the episodes. Because I think you lose tone and
you break the magic, which is the magic that we weave.
On the other hand, I think itís a brilliant idea to try to
get people to watch live, because itís a rare experience, a
rare occasion that you know youíre watching when the people
who have worked on this are watching and they are going to
be speaking to you. I think that sort of fan interaction is
really important. I love the fans, American Horror Story
fans. They sometimes scare me a little bit. But I really do
love them, and I love their enthusiasm, and I love the stuff
they come up with. Thereís a guy on Instagram who has done
all of the charactersí makeup, I donít know if youíve seen
it but itís pretty amazing, heís taken on all the
characters. He does me. He does Jessica. He does Patti
LaBelle. He does Dandy. He even does Ma Petite. So that kind
of interesting devotion I think is to be fostered. I think
itís an interesting evolution. Weíll see where it takes us.
But for the moment Iím finding it fun.
Jamie: Great, thank you so much.
Moderator: The next question is from Suzanne Lanoue with The
TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.
Suzanne: Good morning.
Denis: Hi, Suzanne.
Suzanne: Hi. Youíve played three different characters, and I
was wondering if you could tell us what you think is the one
thing that they all have in common and the one way theyíre
Denis: Thatís interesting. I do feel like all the characters
are always yearning for something. I love finding out new
characters. And these, it seems obvious to me that theyíre
all yearning for some way of transcending their life into
It was most obvious I think in the case of Larry, who was,
in a way, wanting to escape the hell that he was bound in by
his actions and by the consequences of his actions, his wife
and kids being burned up in a fire. And what Larry wanted
I felt like Spalding was in many ways the same way. I joked
with Ryan, I said, ďI think Spaldingís ultimate dream is to
become a doll,Ē this is before we got to the end, and I
thought wouldnít it be cool if at the end we saw Spalding on
the shelves and he finally had achieved his dream.
For Stanley, oddly enough, we have those glimpses of him at
the morbidity museum while theyíre doing a toast, and heís
sort of assuming heís going to be fÍted, heís going to be
the one who is called out for recognition. And what Stanley
wants is to be respected. He wants to be accepted into
larger culture. I think that has to do with a lot of the
characters Iíve played, is theyíre yearning for some sort of
transcendence. They want to arrive somewhere, a place of
peace, or a place of recognition. And I think itís really
Suzanne: And how do you think one thing that would be
different for all of them, the thing that stands out for
Denis: Well, they all have very different personalities that
I still love. I especially love Spalding because heís the
most unlike me in terms of metabolism. Larry is probably the
closest to my personality, scarily enough. I thought Larry
actually was the sweetest of them all, in a strange way. He
was actually a sweetheart. He was a guy who was just sort of
buffeted around by the world, and he reduced himself to this
Spalding is actually not that sweet. Spalding, thereís a lot
going on beyond that head that was not admirable. That being
said, I do believe that he had an interesting serenity, and
that was very different than Larryís frenetic energy.
Stanleyís the most confident. Heís the most on top of his
game. Heís the most aggressive, shooting forward in a way,
which I really love. He really is the instigator. Heís sort
of the engine in many ways, the engine of the season,
because what heís doing is setting everything into motion,
his attempts to co-opt, murder, corral, and change, and
weaving this spell around different people, is the billiard
ball that scatters the other balls. And I think itís a
fantastic energy to have. I guess thatís what I would say.
Suzanne: Thanks very much. Happy Holidays!
Denis: Thank you, same to you.
Moderator: The next question is from Rodolfo Garcia with
Reforma. Please go ahead.
Rodolfo: Hi, Denis. How are you? Good morning.
Denis: Iím good. Good morning.
Rodolfo: Denis, my question is regarding that from, I think
that since Ryan said a couple of weeks ago that all the
seasons of American Horror Story are somehow connected in
the same universe.
Rodolfo: How do you think this is going to affect the next
seasons? Are we going to see more of this? It was a surprise
this thing about Ryan. Did it surprise you?
Denis: It didnít surprise me, because heís an awfully clever
guy. I know that they put a lot of thinking into the
resonances, as I said. The biggest, obvious resonance this
year was Pepper being in both Asylum and in our season. But
there are actually two other ones coming up that are very,
very strong resonances which are fascinating, I think.
As far as what he will do for the fifth season, now that he
knows that thatís his game plan I think it makes it a little
easier in terms of figuring out who the characters are and
what the setting is. The biggest challenge, of course is the
setting. That dictates some of this. If you set it too far
in the past you actually make it difficult to make
connections. This Asylum and Freak Show being so close
together, only 10 years or so, made that a lot easier. Iím
just as excited as you are to see what heíll do.
Rodolfo: Okay, thank you.
Moderator: The next question is from Bruce Eisen with Here Is
TV. Please go ahead.
Bruce: Hi, Denis.
Denis: Hey, how are you?
Bruce: Good, thanks. Iím wondering if you like to watch TV,
and if so, what do you like to watch?
Denis: Oh dear, I do like to watch TV. That wasnít always so.
I didnít watch any TV from 1985 to 1992, or 1993 actually.
It was just a weird part of my life when I didnít have a TV
and I was reading a lot of poetry and trying to be a waiter.
But I now, my husband actually is a big TV watcher, so he
got me more into TV. We donít watch the same things. Heís
more of a Scandal, Revenge, How to Get Away with Murder guy.
Iím more of Homeland, The Americans, and well, Project
Runway, which doesnít really fit into that. But I love
Homeland. I love The Americans. I guess I like spy thriller
type stuff. We do have some crossover. I do watch How to Get
Away with Murder, so I guess thatís true. I also watch
RuPaulís Drag Race, I have to admit. And as I said, I do
watch Project Runway.
I like reality shows where people actually do things, where
thereís some sort of skill at stake. Iím not so big on the
Survivor shows, because I feel like thatís just kind of
exploiting bad human behavior. Thatís all weíre doing.
Yes, Iím happy to be part of the Golden Age of TV, as they
say, because I think itís a remarkable time to be working in
the medium. Oh, The Good Wife, how could I forget The Good
Wife. Iím on The Good Wife, and I also get to watch it,
which I just love.
Bruce: Cool, thank you. I appreciate it.
Moderator: The next question is from Anastasia Washington
with Legion of Leia. Please go ahead.
Anastasia: Hi. Good morning.
Denis: Hi, Anastasia.
Anastasia: I was wondering since American Horror Story is so
into fear, if thereís a fear that you havenít seen explored
that you would like to see explored?
Denis: Wow! Thatís a very good question. What I think is so
brilliant about what Ryan first said when he set upon this
course is that they were going to explore the different
genres of horror, and I love that notion of that there are
different kinds of horror. And youíre right, there are
different kinds of fear. I donít feel like weíve really,
well we did claustrophobia because Kathy Bates was buried
alive last year. But I donít feel like weíve really, really
explored the idea of things closing in on people. Thatís a
real big fear.
I think itís really hard to do agoraphobia, fear of open
spaces. Thatís kind of a hard one. But we havenít explored
animal fears, like fears of dogs and fears of spiders, and
icky things like that. We had snakes, but really, really
icky insects we havenít really explored that a whole lot.
And as I said about the alien thing, we havenít really
explored the whole fear of extraterrestrial monsters. And if
you think about all of the movies in the í50s where part of
the thing was whether it was Godzilla or some sort of, The
Creature from the Black Lagoon, actual creatures who are
actually fearful, the minotaur from Coven certainly comes to
mind, but that was more to do with witchcraft than to do
with the actual monster itself. I guess monsters would be an
interesting fear to explore.
Anastasia: Oh, cool! Awesome. I would love to see that.
Denis: Yes, I have a three and a half year old, if you canít
tell, so monsters are a big topic in my house.
Anastasia: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Moderator: The next question is from Damon Martin with
Damon: Hi, Denis. Thank you so much for taking the time
Denis: Hey, my pleasure. Good morning, or afternoon, wherever
Damon: My question is, somebody asked you earlier about being
on the next season of American Horror Story. And my question
kind of ties into that, the anthology series has become so
big lately I think American Horror Story kind of kicked that
off and now weíve seen True Detective, and Fargo, and those
casts change every season, and is really part of what makes
American Horror Story special is it doesnít. We do see a lot
of the same characters, or a lot of the same actors and
actresses, but I know there have been rumors whether Jeff
[indiscernible] will return next season or not.
My question is how much of American Horror Story, how much
of the dynamic is set by the cast as much as the story?
Because I feel like losing people or gaining people is part
of what makes American Horror Story so great.
Denis: Yes, I think the cast is a really big element. As I
said before, I think Ryanís got really good taste in people.
I think bringing more people like Danny Houston, who is such
a great actor, and I mean, come on getting Patti LaBelle to
show up is an amazing idea, as well as Adam Levine in Season
2. And so I think that the cast brings a certain energy, but
itís the recurring cast, people who return, who I think
really make this thing solid.
Seeing Franny Conroy every year, such a splendid actor, and
Franny brings an incredible intelligence to everything she
does. Sheís not just going to walk in and say the lines.
Sheís going to debate you about is this appropriate, debate
you about the storyline, in a very good way, and then sheís
going to bring all of her ferocity and devotion to that.
I felt like finding, I know Finn Wittrock this year was
quite a discovery, and it would be great to have him back.
It was great to see Gaby Sidibe come back again. Year after
year that sort of familiarity, we have a familiarity with
how Ryan works, we have a familiarity with what to expect,
and so we are able to bring our A game. Itís a demanding set
and itís a really crazy world we have to descend into.
I love Michael Chiklisís reactions when he first started
filming this year. He was like, oh, wow, what have I gotten
myself into? We were filming this scene on a road which we
just filmed last week, the one I keep referring to, and
after one take he just looked at me and shook his head, and
went, ďDude, that was sick.Ē
Damon: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Denis: Yes, my pleasure.
Moderator: The next question is from Preston Barta with Fresh
Fiction. Please go ahead.
Preston: Hi, Denis. How are you?
Denis: Hi, Preston. Iím good. How are you?
Preston: Iím great. I feel like what scares people is
constantly changing. I think, for instance, if you bring up
early cinema to younger generations, films like Nosferatu or
something like that.
Preston: It may not scare them, but however if you bring up
something like the Condron [ph] they might be more
terrified. And I feel like this show toys a little bit with
both new and old cinema. What do you think is the big
difference between what scares people today compared to back
Denis: I guess weíve gotten more sophisticated. Thereís a
naivete to being scared by something like a vampire or a
werewolf, or Frankenstein. And unfortunately, the world has
gotten a little more complicated and a little more scary,
and so if you think about, the show that scared me the most
was The Ring. I found that movie terrifying, partly because
it was an interaction between technology and something else,
that by watching TV you could be infected. Thatís a
And here we live in a world where weíre all on computers and
tablets and phones all the time, so you know something as
odd as computer hacking or a virus, those things are really
scary because they get to the heart of our security. What if
someone takes my money from me? What if someone hacks my
identity? What if a hand reaches through the screen and
grabs me by the throat? I mean, think of Poltergeist, that
was a very modern application of that from very early on,
melding ghosts with television.
I think it is because what scares us has changed, and when
you think about 1920, 1930, we were a little more naÔve as a
culture in terms of what we were dealing with. Maybe we were
more isolated because of technology and travel, and our
media. And now the world has gotten to be a smaller, scarier
place. We see images of people being beheaded on TV. Thatís
not a thing that you see all the time. And so thatís a
different kind of scary. I guess, unfortunately, some of the
scary stuff is political, and thatís a change from our past,
Preston: Thank you.
Denis: Thank you.
Roslyn: Weíll take our final question, Cherie. Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you. The next question is from Earl Dittman
with Digital Journal.
Earl: This is me again.
Denis: Hey, man. Welcome back.
Earl: Thank you. Okay, weíve been waltzing around the
subject, as you mentioned itís not really a deformity that
Stanley has. Itís a deformity that I think 99.9 men on the
planet wouldnít mind having.
Earl: So, would you say that he dispels the rumor that size
Denis: Ryan and I have chatted about this a little bit and
weíve talked about the limits of what one can show on FX, a
different cable maybe, HBO, watch out. But in a way I love
the fact that we actually donít get to lay our hands on Mr.
Snake, or whatever we call him, because itís great in an
old-fashioned way to see everybody elseís reaction to it,
and Iíve actually [indiscernible] going, ďWhatís down there?
What is that? Is it double-headed? Is it likeódoes it
explode? What is it?Ē
And I think thereís a size issue. I think thereís also an
angry issue, as he said last week. I donít think itís really
attractive. Actually, if people were to look at it and were
given the chance they wouldnít go, ďOh sure, Iíll take
that.Ē ďOh, wait a minute Iím not sure where Iíd find a
willing partner for that.Ē But I think itís a great play on
a joke amongst men. Size does matter to them. Please,
nothing is too big. And I think itís hilarious that Ryanís
playing it as a joke that well, I guess there is an outer
Earl: Well, Denis, thank you so much for doing this today,
and thank you for another brilliant season of American
Horror Story. I hope youíre back next time, too.
Denis: I do, too. Thanks for watching. I love it.
Earl: Thank you. Take care.
Denis: Thanks, bye-bye.
Roslyn: A great way to end the call, Denis.
Denis: Yes, really. I know, hilarious.
Roslyn: Thank you, sir. We appreciate you. And thank you,
everyone for the continued support. Americanó
Denis: Happy Holidays to everybody.
Roslyn: And Happy Holidays to you, too. American Horror
Story: Freak Show will air episode 10 next Wednesday,
December 17th at 10:00 p.m. on FX. Please note that the show
will be on hiatus until Wednesday, January 7th when episode
11 will air. Transcripts from this call will be available
either Monday or Tuesday. Have a good weekend. Bye,
everyone. Bye, Denis.
Moderator: That does conclude our conference for today. Thank
you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive
TeleConference Service. You may now disconnect.
American Horror Story: Freak Show
begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter,
Florida. The year is 1952. A troupe of curiosities has just
arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a
dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk
and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and
their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world
of the American carny experience.
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