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

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By Suzanne

Zachary Quinto

Interview with Zachary Quinto of "American Horror Story: Asylum" on FX 11/15/12

Final Transcript
FX NETWORK: American Horror Story: Asylum
November 15, 2012/1:00 p.m. PST

SPEAKERS
Matthew Mitchell, Media Relations
Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum, ďDr. Oliver ThredsonĒ

PRESENTATION

Moderator Welcome to the American Horror Story: Asylum Conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer session and instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Matthew Mitchell.

M. Mitchell Hi everyone. Thanks for joining the call this afternoon with Zach Quinto for American Horror Story: Asylum. Mr. Quinto plays ďDr. Oliver Thredson,Ē which after last night you guys now realize he plays ďBloody Face.Ē Due to the popularity for this call, we are going to ask that you guys only ask one question. If you have a follow-up, please hang up and weíll re-enter the queue. Not hang up, but weíll come back to you at a later point; but we want to try and get through as many questions as possible.

So at this point, weíre going to get started. Any questions after the call, you can reach me at 310-369-7110. Thanks everybody.

Moderator Our first question is from Erin Willard with SciFiMafia.com.

E. Willard So you tweeted last night and now everyone knows. When did you know? Did you know from the beginning? If you did, did that inform your performance at all?

Z. Quinto Yes, I knew from the very beginning. It was part of the conversation that I had with Ryan [Murphy] about me coming back to the second installment of the show, in the first place. It very much informed the character that I was building from the beginning.

As a result, I felt like my responsibility became to create a character that people could trust, or at least trust initially, and have some hope that perhaps he is actually the one voice of reason and sanity within this chaotic world. So it was actually more exciting for me to know from the beginning. It gave me more to play with and more to hold back and more secrets to keep.

Moderator Our next question is from Rob Owens with the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

R. Owens I wanted to ask you about playing this character. I think you sort of started down that path in your answer to the first question, but how this guy was different fromÖbecause Iím sure you donít want to repeat yourself and weíve only seen a little bit of his evil thus faróbut is that something you were concerned with those comparisons? What got you hooked on really wanting to play this part?

Z. Quinto I think any time an actor revisits territory that theyíve been in before, it can be a source of trepidation, as it was for me. But part of the reason that I loved what the opportunity stood for was that I got to know, going in, I got to really build something. With Heroes, that character was built before I was ever attached to it. There were eight episodes of anticipation that were built before you met ďGabriel GrayĒ in Heroes, but I had no participation in that. I had no opportunity to sort ofóit was just the character spoken about.

So for me, it was really exciting to get to go in and having all the information, and actually be that part of the process of creating a character. That, to me, was a difference. That, to me, was something that I thought, yes, that makes sense, and it also has a similar structure to the journey that I had on Heroes, at least the introduction or the reveal, as they say; which proved very effective in that scenario and I felt I could really also serve this story in this particular innovation as well.

So that, and that itís just more rooted in character and relationship, and less rooted in the sort of peripheral elements like superpowers. I liked that this was grounded and real. Itís something that Iím always drawn to is that kind of direction. So I felt like it wasóand it wasnítóitís not a six-year commitment as it could be with another show.

Itís self-contained and it was an immersion that Iím not going to be repeating or carrying on for an extended period of time. It was something I got to go do and contribute and benefit and grow and learn, and then be on to other creative pursuits and that, I think, is an environment in which I thrive. So I was really excited about all those elements.

Moderator The next question is from Jerry Nunn with the Windy City Times.

J. Nunn My question is about the scene when you did the aversion therapy with her and tried to change her. What are your thoughts on that? I mean a lot of people think they can change us that way, me being gay myself. So what did you think of it?

Z. Quinto I mean I think the scene was very reflective of a pervasive mentality of the time. As unsettling as it is, I think it was powerful to revisit it and to present an audience with a reflection of that kind of really abhorrent thinking. Obviously, weíve come a long ways since then and thatís great. Thereís so much progress made and more work to do.

So I think itís always good when youíre able to, as an actor, allow your work to be some kind of a conduit for a social discourse. I think an examination of where we are as a society and I think this season of the show, this iteration of Ö installment, I believe we call them. This installment of the show is really doing that in a lot of powerful ways, that being one of many. So another reason why Iím grateful to be a part of this kind of storytelling and this kind of environment.

Moderator The next question is from Matt Mitovich with TVLine.

M. Mitovich Now that we know ďThredsonísĒ very dark, very dirty little secret, are we going to get into the psychosis behind this psycho here and find out why heís doing this, because he seems to be doing a little specific with ďLanaĒ and her girlfriend?

Z. Quinto Yes, next weekís show is called ďThe Origins of MonstrosityĒ and so it really dives into a lot of the roots of the characters in this world in Asylum. So yes, a lot of things will become clearer and probably even more disturbing in the next couple of weeks.

Moderator Breeanna Hare with CNN.com.

B. Hare So Iíve heard that you and Sarah Paulson are pretty close. You have a good friendship. Iím curious how that dynamic impacts your themes, especially considering, like you said, things are only going to get darker from here.

Z. Quinto Well I especially have a respect for Sarah as an actress, but itís a rare and unique opportunity to show up to work with a really good friend. Oftentimes, friendships are formed on set and through these kinds of experiences working together in such intimate and unusual ways, but itís even a richer experience when you already have that foundation of friendship. So thereís an implicit trust and sensitivity to each other and our needs and our instincts and our individual process. Itís really a remarkable gift in a lot of ways. So we also are able to have more fun, I think, and laugh at a situation a little bit more.

Thereís less awkwardness to cut through. Yes, so I think it strengthens the connection that the characters share, whether itís friendship or torture or hostage, whatever it may be, but weíre reallyóI love going to work anyway, no matter who Iím working with, but in particular with Sarah, itís beenóand I think sheís doing such wonderful work on the show that I also just love watching her character and the journey that sheís taking. Sheís gone to so many extreme and challenging emotional places, and done it so beautifully and dynamically. I just think her work is so incredible, so itís been a joy for me, really, this whole experience.

Moderator The next question is from Fred Topel with CraveOnline.

F. Topel What are you watching on television right now?

Z. Quinto Iíve been watching Homeland pretty religiously. Iím a pretty giant fan of that show. I mean, itís really compelling and so well executed, so I like Homeland. Itís hard to have time to, but the good news is that itís so Ö television. Itís like Iím so excited for House of Cards to come onto Netflix.

On February 1st, all of those episodes are being released at the same time. I guess the whole season on T.V. and created and given to an audience. Itís the way in which weíre watching programming is so interesting to me. So, yes, I like to watch Homeland like on demand, if I miss it on a Sunday night or something.

What else? Iíve been known to watch an episode or two of The Voice, I will say that. I think itís, of that kind of programming, I think itís really innovative and unique and well done. I think the performersóI donít knowóI find thereís an element of authenticity to that show that I really respond to and I very rarely respond to any kind of reality programming. So if Iím going to watch, it has to be people doing something that I could never do and obviously, each one of those singers that holds true for. Iíve watched a couple episodes of that lately.

Iíve watched Boss, which I think is also really great television and I hope more people watch it or can see it. Itís like that stuff is so accessible. So thatís kind of about it. I mean, it ebbs and flows in terms of my availability for it.

Moderator Our next question is from Matt Fowler with IGN.

M. Fowler Everything about ďOliverĒ that weíve seen so farówas everything a ruse? Or is there a side of him that deeply believes in the psychiatry part? Because one of the last things we saw him do before the big reveal was tell ďSister JudeĒ that ďCharlotteĒ had post-partum depression and recommended she shouldnít go home; which was a smart move on his part. But again, was it all just blending in or does he believe in that?

Z. Quinto I think he definitely believes in it. I think part of being a psychopath is an ability to dissociate from one reality and create another one completely. I think he does that expertly. I think his level of training, medical training and intuition instinctóI think heís very skilled.

I mean, thatís what allows him to get away with it as long as he does. So yes, I think he does believe in it, which is kind of another layer of tragedy of the character is that he could have been something else. He could have made a more significantly positive contribution had he only rechanneled his traumas, his energy.

You guys, if you want to hold on one quick second before I take the next question. Iíll be right back. One second, Iím sorry for this. Sorry about that, thank you.

Moderator The next question is from Ernie Estrella with buzz.com.

E. Estrella I want to ask you about approaching Season 2 as more of a threat as opposed to Season 1 where youíre playing victim. Was there any kind of difference there? Did you kind of maybe go into a different method from one season to the next?

Z. Quinto Yes, I mean there are different styles. I feel like the story last year was just told in a different style. This year is a period piece and there are other considerations that go along with that, just in terms of characterization I think. I donít know how much it has to do with like being the antagonist in a lair, the sort of threat this year myself rather than the victim. I mean, thatís all just circumstantial.

There are still a lot of psychological manipulations going on from one end that makes it a little bit more veiled, or always holding something back this year. But thatís just all fun. I donít really think of it in terms ofóI just think of it in terms of whoís the person, whatís driving the person. Obviously, those motivations are very different for ďChadĒ than they are for ďThredson.Ē

Moderator The next question is from Lesley Goldberg with Hollywood Reporter.

L. Goldberg What can you say about the victims that heís targeting? Obviously, theyíre all women. What do they all have in common and what is it about them that make them his targets? The last part is any interest in returning for Season 3?

Z. Quinto So for the first part of that question; youíll find out much more about that in the coming weeks, so I wonít spoil it by being too specific. But it all traces back to one source of trauma that then sort of branches out to include all of these unfortunate women.

I just read today that the show got picked up for a third installment, so thatís very exciting. Iím so glad itís doing well and people are really responding to it and FX has been really great and so supportive and, I think, innovative in the stuff that theyíre doing. So itís great to work there and be a part of it. I havenít had any conversations with Ryan about what heís thinking for the third season, so I have no idea.

I love my job and I love the people that I do it with and I always want that to be the case. So I know he has plans and if they involve me, Iím sure Iíll have a call at some point; but I donít know anything about it. Iím just focused on getting through the rest of this season and moving onto the next phase of stuff that I have lined up.

Moderator The next question is from Monique Jones with TV Equals.

M. Jones Iím a big fan, but let me know if I answer the question before I waste everybodyís time. What did you think of the fan reaction to the big reveal? Because I saw that you tweeted about it on Twitter, and I kind of just blew up.

Z. Quinto Oh, I mean at least the things that Iíve scrolled through seem supportive and excited about the direction that the show is going in. So Iím sure Iím more likely to sort of have those people reaching out to me than people who arenít excited about it, which is sort of the nature of Twitter in the end, isnít it. But, yes, I donít know. I hope people are into it and on board for where it goes from here.

Moderator The next question is from Jen Chaney with Washington Post.

J. Chaney So we have seen ďBloody FaceĒ in the future or sort of present day scenes. Iím wonderingóI donít know to the extent you can speak to this, but will we find out whether present day ďBloody FaceĒ is also ďThredsonĒ?

Z. Quinto Wouldnít that be cool? Yes, youíll find all that out; youíll find all that out. Everything is going toóIíve just read the next episode last night. It was pretty freaky and cool. I mean itís really driving to a point very, very well. The storytelling structure of Asylum I think is really going to pay off in a really big way. So I think all of the questions that people have, and that the episodes that are airing right now are generating, will definitely be answered. Thatís my instinct, at least, having read up through almost the end now.

Moderator The next question is from Jessica Dwyer with Horror Hound Magazine.

J. Dwyer I wanted to ask about was your decision to do this series based on the fact that itís not actually American horror, so much as it focuses on more modern horrors in the world right now. I really like that about it and itís still scary.

Z. Quinto I do think itís mostly uniquely American. I think in the way that itís structured in the certain instances where itís imaged to stories that have come before it, and also in what itís looking at. The sort of Catholic institutions in this country, in particular, and the social history of racism and homophobia, and sanity, psychiatry, the idea of how to treat people who are mentally ill. I mean, I think those are all very American ideas and concepts and I think the way in which we dive into them is also really American in the style of storytelling.

I thought Episode 5, the one that just aired, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed and I thought did an incredible job. I mean, it was like I was so inspired by his direction and the camera work. It felt like such a wonderfully composed episode. I think that is really somehow reflective of America now, in the modern world, and also where weíve come from and thatís what excites me about the kind of show that weíre making as well.

Moderator Our next question is from Adam Lawton with mediamikes.com.

A. Lawton I wanted to ask, with you being involved with Season 1 of American Horror Story; did Brad [Falchuk] and the guys allow you to provide input into your new character in Season 2?

Z. Quinto Yes, I had a few conversations with Ryan and Brad before we started. Ryan and I had a couple of connections about what he was thinking and I had some questions and had a chance to contribute to what I would like to see. But once they got going, itís like their engines just drive them and all of us forward in such surprising and unexpected ways, so the vast majority of that comes from them and actually bring it to life. Thatís how I see it.

Moderator The next question comes from AJ Grillo with SciFiVision.com.

A. Grillo Youíve played some very different characters. ďSylarĒ; there was a lot more to ďSylarĒ than met the eye. You played an iconic ďSpockĒ and now youíre playing a psychotic serial killer psychiatrist. What was your favorite and most fun to play?

Z. Quinto Thatís a good question. I mean, I feel like each one of those experiences was so profound and unique and my last side of six years has been just full of growth and creative fulfillment. I donít know. Itís hard to sort of narrow it down one, but my favorite, I feel like they are accumulative in a lot of ways. As far as the T.V. aspect of it goes, I would say that I feel more settled as Iím getting older and sort of like my experience of things feels kind of more complete.

So ďThredsonĒ has been very satisfying to me in that regard. I just feel like Iíve been carrying more of my experience with me into my work and as I get older, that deepens naturally. So thatís kind of cool, but I just like to do good work, or try to do good work with good people and Iíve been really so lucky in that regard. As long as I continue, thatís all I could ask really.

Moderator The next question is from Suzanne Lanoue with The TV Megasite.

S. Lanoue I was wondering when youíre recognized by people on the street or wherever, is it usually because of Star Trek or Heroes, or this show, or what do you think?

Z. Quinto Well as itís gotten more frequent like over the years, I mean the good news itís kind of like for maybe more than one thing now. Or like people that just sort of know me, but I donít know. I donít reallyóI just try to meet people where theyíre coming from. If itís about a particular project then I talk about that. If itís about something more general, like support of the president or other ways in which they might know me, then I talk about that. But I donít really keep track of what itís of; I donít tally it up so much.

Moderator The next question is from Alicia Lutes with Hollywood.com.

A. Lutes Iíll just get right into the question. We have seen your character sort of become a big focal point with this big turnaround with ďBloody Face,Ē but what are your other favorite storylines, outside of your own, on the show that you really are excited for people to find out more about?

Z. Quinto I think that the ďKitĒ storylineóI really love also watchingÖEvan [Peters] I think is fantastic. So I really love that; I really love what Lily [Rabe] is doing, now that sheís got the devil inside. I think thatís just such a delicious kind ofósheís doing such great stuff with that. Thatís really fun for me to watch and I canít take my eyes off Jessica Lange. I just think sheís so committed to just her ferocity of instinct. Sheís just likeóitís so riveting and inspiring at the same time.

So I love working with these people. I wish I had more to do with James Cromwell. I have never really crossed paths like the doctor in the asylum, but maybe thereís something to look forward to there. Weíll have to wait and see.

Moderator The next question is from Earl Dittman with Wireless & Digital.

E. Dittman Before I launch into my question, I have to say this real quick before I go to my question. You were talking earlier about how the show is breaking down barriers and moving things forward ahead of the gays and stuff like that, I have to say you are very much a spearhead in doing this. I have to congratulate you in you being so open and honest and everything else. I think youíre moving a lot of stuff ahead by just saying what you say and doing what you do, and I canít congratulate you enough about it.

Z. Quinto Well man, thatís very sweet of you to say. I appreciate that. Thank you.

Moderator The next question is from Erin Willard with scifimafia.com.

E. Willard Hi, Iíve got anotheró

Z. Quinto Ö that guyís question Ö.

E. Willard He never got his question in; hopefully he can get right back in again. So these thoughts for the next episode look disturbingly intriguing and may make all the difference in the world. It has to go on a t-shirt Iím sure, at some point, because it was awesome.

The way you delivered the line was perfect, but it looks like your character might be getting a little more physical. Like there might be some more physical challenges, like in church kind of blocking issues and such. Has it been challenging in any way in that regard and also, anything thing that you can say along those lines about the actual ďBloody FaceĒ mask, which was so revolting?

Z. Quinto Well, I think itís an interesting point you bring up, in terms of the physicality of a show like this and when you look at it, a lot of us have had to go through some pretty intense physical experiences, whether itís ChloŽ [Sevigny]ís character, her legs being removed and ChloŽ having to embody that. Or Sarah Paulsen having to endure the physicality ofóher character has electroshock therapy. Or any of the people who have been murdered or attacked or killed, itís like we all have the capacity to understand the difference between, so this isnít reality in the stories that weíre telling in the make-believe, pretend world that we live in when we go to work every day.

But our bodies arenít so discerning and when you put them through such intense, relentless, overwhelming stimulation; it can have an effect, certainly, physically. I mean, weíve been taking care of our bodies and making sure that weíre doing what we need to do to get body work and exercise. I think thatís an important element of being an actor on any level, so other than that, just making sure that weíre able to shake it off.

I never had trouble, really, shaking anything off, but this character has been and certain things that have happened, have been a little bit harder to leave at work. But then, itís not like I canítóI donít know. I think that line is important to maintain the clarity, but thatís my particular perspective on it and Iím grateful to be able to do that. So, yes, thatís how itís been.

There was another point to that question? Or was that, that?

Moderator We are going back to Earl Dittman with Wireless & Digital Journal.

E. Dittman Oh my God, there is a God! Oh well, thank you so much, Zach. I appreciate it. I guess what I really wanted to know is that when you originally signed onto the first one, did you know that it was going to be an anthology and knowing that, with both times youíve played it, what are the bigger challenges of both the two characters. If you do come on for Season 3, obviously, youíll be playing a different character. But of course, we wonít know that for awhile, but Iím pretty sure that heíll call you because you have to be in it. But go ahead, sorry.

Z. Quinto So wait; whatís the question?

E. Dittman Did you always know it was going to be an anthology? Or when you did the first season, did you think?

Z. Quinto No, I didnít know. I mean, when I did it the first time around, the timing of it worked out really well for me because Star Trek had gotten pushed, so I ended up having like a little bit of a window that I didnít expect to have, and Ryan called to ask. I just thought it was going to be a couple and it ended up being four episodes in that first installment. But I didnít know what it would be, and then it was in the middle of that, that he actually brought up the idea of the second season being entirely different.

That was the beginning of the conversations, which really intrigued me, obviously. I had been exploring the possibility of another specific job that would have been a more traditional sort of T.V. structure and it was really exciting in its own way. But when Ryan presented the plan to me about this, it just seemed like there was no question that it was a little bit more unique and exciting to me, because of that, so that made my decision pretty clear.

E. Dittman So ultimately, more challenging.

Z. Quinto This season is more challenging just because Iím more of an integral part of it and thereís just more work to do to build the arc of the character, because itís a more extensive arc. But also, therefore more rewarding and more fulfilling in a way, because youíre really seeing something through from the beginning to the end. So thatís cool. I have a good time with that.

Moderator The next question is Amy Harrington with Pop Culture Passionistas.

A. Harrington So as with the first installment, the Asylum is like a character on the series. Can you talk a bit about how the environment helps you get into character?

Z. Quinto Yes, thatís a great observation, because I think that our production designer and the art departmentóI mean, I think theyíve done such an extraordinary job of creating this immensely oppressive, overwhelming environment, which does have actual characteristics depending on what part of the set youíre shooting in. I just think itís a gold mine of information and opportunity for action and activities along the way. Itís just such a full environment that we work in.

Itís great; and that continues in the coming weeks because you get to see much more of the lair in which Lana is being held captive and a lot of their scenes take place. Yes, I think the asylum itself, I think the hydrotherapy room and what that invokes and what happens in there, I think the bakery and the grand hallway and all the cells and the offices, and that institutional feeling, that heavy-footed, oppressive, concrete olive green kind of brown-beige. I went to Catholic school growing up and it really invokes a lot of the same imagery. The Ö icons and iconography and stuff with statues, I think all that stuff is so well realized in the world. Iím really grateful to the creative team behind that because they do remarkable work.

Moderator The next question is from Kristyn Clarke with Pop Culture Madness.

K. Clarke So with the dark, and so intense, subject matter, I was going to ask how hard is it for you to step away from that, when not on set? How does this character have an emotional effect on you?

Z. Quinto It does to a degree, but I consider it my responsibility to myself to be able to discern the boundaries in my life. So I really try to separate myself as clearly as possible. As a trained actor, I mean thatís part of what I learned how to do as well.

Going to college and studying, and cultivating a technique that allows me to enter some of these really complicated, psychological landscapes and not get lost in them. But, yes, I have, certainly, outlets and things that I can do, and do, to make sure that I stay grounded and clear, but itís also thatís whatís kind of fun about it. I know that I can let myself go in certain ways, because I wonít go in othersóin the ones that are important.

Moderator The next question is from Eva Layne with darkmedia.com.

E. Layne I just had a question about your thoughts on horror. I mean, thereís a lot of talk about what makes good horror; what makes horror at all. I mean whether itís paranormal or whether itís human based like the character youíre playing this season. So I just was wondering what you thought makes a good horror story.

Z. Quinto I think stories that reflect societal fear back at the audience on some level, on some visceral level, is the most compelling kind of horror. I think thatís what this show is doing in a lot of ways, and itís sort of evidenced by some of the commentary that even some of the other journalists have brought up on this call. Tackling issues that have relevance to our modern society through another point of view, or another time period, filtered through different perspectives and really getting to the root of what drives us as a society, as a culture, as an audience. I think that can be really scary and I think that thatís whatís really happening in a lot of ways with the characters that weíre all playing this year, and the scenarios in which they find themselves.

Moderator Our next question is from Chip Chandler with Amarillo Globe-News.

C. Chandler Zach, Iíve enjoyed listening to your discussion of the show and airing your deep thoughts about this. I have just a really simple question. I understand that you have some sort of family connection to Amarillo, Texas.

Z. Quinto I do; the Quintos of Amarillo. I have a lot of family there; cousins, aunts, uncles. Iíve been there a handful of times. I love them; I love seeing them there and Iím sure Iíll be back before too long, I hope.

C. Chandler All right; thatís kind of just what I needed to confirm. I had a friend that thought he saw you out one evening and couldnít quite believe it.

Z. Quinto Carousing; carousing in the Amarillo saloons.

C. Chandler Perhaps, yes.

Z. Quinto I look forward to doing it again, man.

Moderator The next question is from Monique Jackson with popjunkie.com.

M. Jackson I have a quick question. Itís kind of a two parter. How do you prepare mentally to play this dark, demented kind of role, and do you enjoy it, or find it more of a challenge?

Z. Quinto It depends on the scene. There are different levels of preparation for different scenes in different kinds of work. So I have a combination of things that I do. I usually just find some solitude and some quiet in a little corner of the set where thereís not a lot of traffic and not a lot of people around and do what it is that I need to do. I listen to music a lot, if I need to get into a particular emotional space, I use that and just other sort of stretching, just breathing, taking time to mostly be quiet and find that kind of stillness.

I think thatís important. I love playing characters that go to extreme places and I love to explore different kinds of psychological landscapes, so it is ultimately a kind of fun, but itís also complicated and colored by the depth of the nastiness of it at certain times as well. That can be a challenging part.

Moderator The next question is from Lee Allport with My Entertainment Exactly.

L. Allport My question to you is acting, producingóit looks like you even dabbled in writing. What is your passion? Or are you just doing all this so that one day you can direct?

Z. Quinto I would love to get myself to a place where I feel like Iím ready to direct. Iím not there yet, but I aspire to that for sure. My passion is acting and has always been. Itís what brought me to this point of being able to diversify and do other things, and I hope that itís something that Iíll continue to have a passion for.

I canít see that changing, but Iím also really fulfilled by having a production company and producing the views and learning about how that works and happens. Itís a totally, entirely separate skill set and itís one that I happen to also enjoy, so I intend to cultivate all of those things until I canít anymore, I guess. Thatís kind of my goal and I love to be challenged and busy and so far, so good. I just want to do whatever I can to continue to encourage that.

Moderator The next question is from Sammi Turano with TV Grapevine.

S. Turano Thank you. My question for you is youíve played such diverse roles, is there one role that you dream of playing thatís on your bucket list? If so, what is it?

Z. Quinto Oh, I never tend to think like that. Itís so strange, because if I look back at the experiences that Iíve had, that have been so instrumental in my growth as well as my exposure, I could have never predicted that they would have happened, where I would have never necessarily thought to wish for them to happen, but they happened in very unique ways. I tend to have an openness toward that and a faith in that, thatís served me so far.


So I just hope that continuesóI donít know. I try to make informed, intelligent decisions and I know what I respond to when it presents itself, but I donít tend toóI mean, I guess with my production company, itís a little bit different in terms of developing material for myself. I know the kinds of stuff I want to do and the direction in which I want to go creatively with my career in that regard, but I donít think of it in terms of like a dream role. So weíll see how it all unfolds.

Moderator The next question is from Breeanna Hare with CNN.com.

B. Hare I just had one more question for you. I wanted to get your thoughts on why you think horror shows and kind of really gory stuff, like American Horror Story and The Walking Dead have played so well this year on cable. Do you think thereís anything that some of the networks can learn from how well this stuff is doing with audiences?

Z. Quinto Well I imagine there might be somethingóI mean I think the networks already know it and itís that the boundaries can be pushed further on cable and unfortunately, thatís not necessarily anything that they can do about their own restrictions in the kinds of stories that theyíre telling on network T.V., which are also compelling and really rich and good in their own way in so many cases. But I mean I think thereís obviously a sense of collective anxiety, I feel like, in the world that we live in and itís very complicated, precariously perched in so many ways; environmentally, politically, socially.

I think that some of these shows reflect that back. Thatís what I was talking about before when I think about the most affective kinds of horror storytelling, it taps into that kind of primal fear that all of us share and that builds within a society and that needs an outlet. So these shows that are able to be so bold and graphic and uncompromising, unflinching, stand to serve that purpose and be the sort of receptacle for all that collective anxiety. I think thatís important, actually, in a social function; especially in a world that has as much anxiety as the one that we live in does. I think in some ways, itís exhilarating, but itís also a little bit scary that that reflects the world we live in as well.

Moderator The next question is from Suzanne Lanoue with TV Megasite.

S. Lanoue I have a second question here. I know that youíre ďjust an actorĒ in the show, but I was wondering if you had any insights as to whether the writers and producers, whether they worried about maybe going too far. It seems like the second season is way more intense than the first season, more graphic, more everything over the top. I was wondering if they worry about that, if theyíre going too far or whatever?

Z. Quinto Well, I mean I think that theyíre certainly sensitive and Ryan is a very sensitive artist. I think heís constantly striving for balance in his work and never wants to go too far in one extreme direction or another. So I think thereís a process of refinement that the show goes through as its post production happens and Ryan is an integral part of that. I think there are checks and balances and measures in place to make sure that itís driving in the right direction.

I think so far, it is in a lot of ways. But I do think it is more uncompromising this year. It is sort of tackling more things at once and really diving in and examining. It feels like itís pulling an audience along in really dynamic way, so hopefully thatís generating a response. It seems to be, anyway, with people coming back and watching week after week. That is, after all, I believe how they assess those things, at least at the network and the studio.

Moderator The next question is from Michelle Alexandria with Eclipse Magazine.

M. Alexandria I have two questions for you. One isóIím sorry. I joined this call late, so forgive me if this question has been asked. But I would just like to knowóyou came off of a megahit movie and you were in between projects, were you scared to actually go back to T.V. and get locked into the T.V. rut again? Did productions delay Star Trek Ö affect that decision? Then my second question is, I heard you talk a little bit about what you think is horror. How do you think the genre is faring as it relates to movies, not T.V. but movies?

Z. Quinto Right, so the first part of that question is, was I concerned about getting stuck back in T.V. sort of, like was I concerned about going back to television? No, not at all. The unique configuration of this particular show is really different than going to television in a different capacity because each season is self-contained.

It is creatively more engaging because if you are going back to the show for another installment, then youíre definitely going to be playing a completely different character than the one you just played. So itís not a sense ofóthereís no sense of stagnancy or fatigue because youíre constantly recreating and reinvesting in the character. Then from just a business standpoint, or in terms with like the challenge with television, sometimes getting what you can get; in success, you can get into a situation where you are obligated contractually to a show for years at a time. Sometimes six, seven years if the show is enormously successful, and that can be outrageously beneficial and satisfying.

It can also be really frustrating, I imagine. I spent four years on one show and there were its own set of challenges with that, but thatís the other cool thing about it is, there is no stuck because thereís always a finite amount of episodes. So I think itís structured really beneficially and I think thatís why actors like James Cromwell and Joe Fiennes and Jessica come to an experience like that. Itís attractive in a different way for somebody thatís used to doing features and used to having more flexibility with their schedules. We can come and do this and then still have that in other ways.

Then the second part of the question was, sorry about that.

M. Alexandria The second part of the question was about the space occurrence in a horror movie. Like you mentioned before, like a couple of horrors without mentioning, how itís doing so well on T.V., but for some reason, if they take it digital like in the movies Ö.

Z. Quinto Yes, horror has gone through some style transformations withóI think the micro-budget, the success of movies like Paranormal ActivityóI feel like thereís a lotómy production company actually produced a micro-budget fund for this horror movie that we just finished post production on and are in the process of taking to the marketplace. Itís interesting to find the home because you can do a lot more for less now; less time, less money, less resources. You can still generate some really significant scary content and I think that studios are fluctuating in their reactions and their relationships to this kind of storytelling.

Itís a little bit of a see change in the feature world, which could also have something to do with the emergence of really successful horror series on television, perhaps. They can be a little more tried and true, or evocative of old school horror storytelling, but I think itís exciting no matter how you cut it and Iím grateful to be a part of a series thatís taking steps forward and innovating in different ways in storytelling and content exploration.

M. Alexandria In your mind, what is too far? Is there a line that you wouldnít cross with regards to horror?

Z. Quinto Thatís funny you should ask that question actually. After I read the episode last night, I was asking myself the same thing. Yes, I donít know. If there is a line that I wonít cross, I havenít reached it yet; at least on this show. But Iím sure itís particularly circumstantial and that I would know it if I ever was in that situation. But I think things are handled with enough respect and professional and creative acumen in the world of American Horror Story that Iíve always felt safe and Iíve always felt supported. So I think those are the two most important elements, trust and professionalism and we have those in excess at American Horror Story; so thatís good, thatís good.

Moderator The last question is from Trish Bendix with AfterEllen.

T. Bendix I was just wondering if you have any ideaÖďDr. ThredsonĒ intentÖaversion therapy. Was he actually trying to help in any way? Because now after seeing last nightís episode, it almost seems like maybe it was sort of test.

Z. Quinto Yes, I think it was a test and I think he was alsoóI think a lot of his actions in the first four and a half episodes of Asylum were serving some ulterior motive. So I think he was trying to gain his trustóI mean gain ďLanaísĒ trust; gain some proximity to her and some intimacy with her. I think he was definitely trying to show her that he could be there for her; that she could rely on him even through something as ugly as that and as brutal as that.

As barbaric as we can see it today, at the time it was a pervasive social mentality that homosexuality was something that could be treated medically or psychologically. So I think to that end, he was implementing the forward thinking of the time to try to help her, or try to feel like he was helping her, to make some effort to get her out of there. Then it put him in a position when it didnít work to devise a more radical approach to getting her out; that she would then be more likely to go along with because heís already tried the more prescribed route or institutional route.

Let me see if I can prove that Iíve cured you, then they have to let you out. But when that doesnít work, and he knows it wonít I think on some level, then he can sort of be more radical about it and she already has more faith in him. She already has trust in him, so sheís more likely to go along with it. I think itís kind of a manipulative tactic that worked to a tee for him. So I think thatís whatís thatís an example of there.

Moderator There is no one else in queue.

Z. Quinto All right; thank you.

M. Mitchell At this time we can end; thanks so much, Zach.

Z. Quinto My pleasure. Have a good day.

M. Mitchell You too.

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

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