The Extremes American Horror Story: Roanoke Went Through To Keep The Theme A Secret

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A lot of American Horror Story: Roanoke is still yet to come, with many of the season's inner weavings and connective secrets still a mystery to viewers, and it's easy to get excited about it, since we've technically only started getting hyped about the theme after it was revealed in the premiere a week and a half ago. Naturally, a whole lot of effort went into keeping the show's biggest secrets from public eye, and co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have noted some of the extreme lengths everyone had to go to. Said Murphy:

Usually when you do a television show you have very many copies of the scripts and they go wide and the cuts. We had everybody in the writers room sign a blood oath. We had shredders in the office. I would go around the office three times a day looking for any clue. It was like fucking Watergate.

Now all we need is some fan art of Ryan Murphy's head on Richard Nixon's body. Thankfully, while American Horror Story: Roanoke and its docu-series structure raised some eyebrows, it was far and away more enjoyable than one of the biggest scandals to ever rock Washington D.C. (Or should we just go ahead and call it American Crime Story Season 3?) And not only was the real paperwork shredded, but there were also fake plotlines created under the title American Horror Story: Cul-De-Sac. Script pages also had that faux heading until nearly the end of filming.

No one is judgmental of the powers that be for being so anal about things floating around the office - Falchuk said anything with "Roanoke" written on it got crossed out, according to EW - since that's exactly what people have to do to keep secrets in the TV industry these days. Murphy had it pretty lucky, even, considering American Horror Story doesn't carry over entire storylines that allow for pre-season spoilers. Plus, no one was expecting it to be a clandestine production, so no one was looking out for it ahead of time like they do when Game of Thrones and Walking Dead start filming their respective seasons.

You can shred and burn all the paper in the world, but paper isn't known for actually talking out loud like people are. And Murphy also explained how that bit of hush-hush got worked out.

I personally called all the actors. We live in a world where actors don't just act, they want to tweet. We all had to molecularly change. I like a good bit of publicity. And I love a newsmaking tweet! We just got rid of all of that. But everyday was a conversation, a security meeting. It was a big deal. It was hard.

Combine those tricks with the complicated and seemingly random promotional campaign, and this became one of the few modern fictional projects that got away with keeping everything under wraps, similar to Blair Witch and 10 Cloverfield Lane, to keep things in the horror genre. (There was that small leak with the Roanoke cabin, but Ryan Murphy doesn't feel it did much by way of spoiling.) And the way Murphy is talking, it probably won't be the last time American Horror Story does this kind of thing, as he's already got another secret season in the works. More on that here.

American Horror Story: Roanoke airs Wednesday nights on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see when the rest of your favorite shows will be back, you don't need to worry about us trying to hide the information from you; just head to our fall premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.