Jessica Lange & Others Prepare for 'American Horror Story: Freak Show,' But Who Will Play Who?
The great thing about the anthology style of American Horror Story is that even if your favorite actor dies on the show, there's always a chance that you'll see them again next season. Or that their character will return in the same season and launch an infamous GIF meme that took the Internet by surprise (bitch). Evan Peters has gone from playing ax crazy Tate to heroic inmate Kit to tortured zombie Kyle, for example, and now Entertainment Weekly has revealed that American Horror Story: Freak Show will feature the return of not only Peters but also Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, and Frances Conroy. Lange will reportedly be playing a German ex-pat who works as the manager of one of the U.S.'s last freak shows, but no details have been revealed about the roles of the other veterans.
Not much is known about the plot except that this group will be playing freaks in Lange's show, but that plus their previous roles on AHS are more than enough for us to make a few guesses.
1. Jessica Lange
All we know about Lange's character is that she's German-born and American-raised, at least for right now. As the manager of the freak show, Lange's character could go a lot of ways. In Murder House, she played an abusive, burnt-out Bible thumper; in Asylum, she played a reformed nun with slipping sanity; and in Coven, she played the terrifying, scheming Supreme of the Salem descendants. It's safe to say that Lange just has a knack for manipulative characters who make evil look good and her Freak Show character will be the kind of bad boss we all love to hate.
2. Evan Peters
In his time on the show, Peters has run the range from sociopath to tragic hero and back again, so it's a lot harder to speculate over what personality he'll be adopting in Freak Show. However, he does have quite a thing for playing characters who are defensive yet deeply vulnerable and are hiding a shocking secret. A man abandoned for his deformities and forced to join the freak show just to survive might be right up his alley. Bonus points if it's revealed later in the season that he's been faking his deformity to escape from an abusive home.
3. Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates is a recent addition to the show, playing the murderous, ruthless socialite Delphine LaLaurie. After playing a character that was a case study in slow (very slow) acting karma, Bates has a lot of room for exploration in Freak Show. If she's not playing a rival for Lange's control of the freak show, perhaps she could be the den mother on the freak show, willing and able to keep her fellow freaks acting like the family she never had... no matter what the cost.
4. Sarah Paulson
Paulson is another staple of American Horror Story, having bounced from expository medium in Murder House to determined journalist in Asylum to idealistic and damaged headmistress in Coven. As her last two roles on the show have proven, life on American Horror Story just loves to dump on Paulson's character as much as possible and give us lots of opportunity to stare at those big brown eyes. From that, it seems likely to say that her character will have either one of the most tragic backstories of the season or at least go through the most tragic storyline of the season. Or, worse, maybe she'll be one of the first to die.
5. Angela Bassett
Like Bates, Bassett just joined the cast in Coven to play the justice-dealing anti-villain Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. If anyone's the perfect candidate for being the freak show's fire-eater, I definitely think it's Bassett. Not only does she have all of the unflinching drama to pull off what would be an epic performance for the audience in and out of the show, but imagine how much of a body count she could rack up spewing fireballs everywhere.
6. Frances Conroy
Conroy has been on the show for the past three seasons, and each time her character has felt a bit underused. She's played a mysterious maid, a creepy angel, and the eccentric head of the Witches Council, but there's definitely more that could be done with her. If Bates doesn't take the helm of trying to overthrow Lange, then Conroy should definitely be working as some kind of double agent. Maybe she can be a deformed face from Lange's past who wants to take her down for whatever caused her to leave Germany in the first place.
Image: Frank Ockenfels/FX