Actors have a good deal more flexibility. A person who looks a certain way will make a great character. But at the same time a person who looked like this or someone who looks like this, doesn’t have that much creative freedom. They’re restricted.
I just read a script and it didn’t do it for me—I thought it was the opposite of how I like to shoot a script, with the actor looking a certain way. I’m not one to go in with an agenda like that, but I think it’s a very, very bad way to handle a project.
You said you’ve been working with Paul in the last number of years. I’d like to know a bit more about your creative process on “American Horror Story: Coven.”
We were having this conversation over coffee after the show was done, and I said, “When is Season 7 going to be announced? Because there are a lot of things I want to work on with this show and it was my first year in New York.” And he said to me, “We start today on Friday.”
And then he said, “I want to work on a few things, too.” And I said to him, “I’ve heard you’ve got an amazing idea.” And he said, “Yeah, we already shot the scenes.”
And then I said, “Is that your idea, or Paul’s? Because what are the first scenes?” And he said, “The first scenes are really the only things I wanted to work on.”
So he’d shot a couple of scenes of Coven in Toronto and wanted to learn from my style, so he wrote a couple of lines, and Paul improvised that—without being there. Then I said, “Okay. What do you want to do?” And he said, “I think I just came up with something I’ve never done on a film before, and it’s been a joy.”
The fun part was that the only other actors who were in front of me were the actors who were doing their own thing—the people I didn’t want to work with so far. So there was a new, vibrant, creative energy in the room. It was pretty extraordinary.
But he wasn’t going to let me shoot it until we went to lunch. Paul actually put it to me that he wanted me to do the pilot. He said, “If you’re not going to work with me on this pilot, then you
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