Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched American Horror Stories' first two episodes, so be warned!
For American Horror Story's first official spinoff series, co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk brought fans back to where it all began: Murder House. It wasn't the franchise's first return trip, to be sure, and it only featured one AHS Season 1 cast member in Celia Finkelstein's Nurse Gladys, but it was still a glorious revisiting all the same. The episode featured the return of Rubber Suit Man, the introduction of Sierra McCormick's Rubber Suit Woman, and also brought famed model and musician Paris Jackson into the mix, along with Schmigadoon! star and Broadway great Aaron Tveit.
Considering how well both Paris Jackson and Aaron Tveit fit into American Horror Stories' two-part premiere, it's a wonder neither has been part of the flagship series. It sounds like it was a match made in genre heaven for Jackson, though, as she told CinemaBlend that she is quite the gore-hound when it comes to her horror fandom, saying:
It was around two months after Paris Jackson released the aforementioned blood-soaked video for her single "Let Down" when she auditioned for American Horror Stories. After not hearing back for a while, though, she just assumed she didn't get the role, which was a bit of a dream-crusher, considering she'd been an American Horror Story fan since her high school years, but she knew it was part of the business. However, those dreams weren't crushed forever, as she obviously did indeed land the role of the love-torn bully Maya. And when I asked Jackson if she was pumped to join Murder House's lore as a Rubber Suit victim, the glee was palpable. In her words:
And while Paris Jackson was perfectly fine with playing a villainous role in her American Horror Stories debut, she was also perfectly fine with not having to wear the rubber suit for her role.
Beyond getting stabbed to death inside Murder House, locking her into what looked like a weirdly domestic afterlife, Paris Jackson's Maya also waded in romantic and sexual waters with Sierra McCormick's Scarlett, though obviously with the proper American Horror Story-esque twists. The more overtly naughty moments were part of Scarlett's increasingly violent masturbatory fantasy, while the more tender romantic moments were part of Maya & Friends' scheme to shame Scarlett via live-streaming. When I asked Jackson about leaning into that side of her sexuality on camera, she talked about how non-intimate such scenes really are, all while praising the crew members and her co-star for putting comfort and safety at the forefront.
Considering the narrative-related darkness behind both of those scenes, not to mention the fact that the horror genre has birthed some truly lurid sex scenes, it's definitely great to hear Paris Jackson say it all went smoothly and without incident. After all, it's not every day one is filmed being strangled for another character's kinks, so there's presumably not a textbook way to handle such things.
Episode 2 brought in Graceland and The Good Fight vet Aaron Tveit ostensibly as a contractor meant to help Matt Bomer's Michael and Gavin Creel's Troy renovate Murder House, though things quickly took sexual and hyper-violent turns for his character Adam. (And I have to suspect that Adam's actions were less inspired by the house's influence, and were already bubbling beneath the surface.) Tveit, who has known Ryan Murphy for years, was seemingly just as excited as Paris Jackson to join this franchise as part of Murder House's demented history.
After being set up as not only a contractor but a side-piece for Troy, Aaron Tveit's Adam discovered Maya & Friends' joyously gross corpses hidden behind the brick wall. But instead of freaking out in the slightest, akin to Abraham Luna's reaction as fellow contractor Martin, Adam's first instinct was to bludgeon Martin to death and then sexually blackmail Michael and Troy. Not that he lived long enough to see his blackmailing come to fruition, as he was soon stabbed in the neck by Rubber Suit Man before he could be properly thrown out.
Having not worked too heavily in the horror genre, Aaron Tveit had quite the experience making his mark with American Horror Stories, saying:
I doubt he'll soon forget being killed on screen by one of television's shiniest monsters, as it should be. And just in case anyone thinks that his role is a case of art imitating life, Aaron Tveit was amusingly convincing in saying it was definitely not. When I jokingly asked how he would handle a situation where he would enter a sexual relationship only to realize that person might be dead and in ghost form, he answered with:
So anybody out there who's looking to persuade Aaron Tveit into something romantic, maybe make sure you take your shot in a location that is not haunted as shit and populated by horny, murderous ghosts. Or any kind of ghosts, probably.
Here's hoping both Paris Jackson and Aaron Tveit will return to the American Horror Story franchise in the future, whether it be in the respective roles of Maya and Adam or in completely different capacities. While waiting to see if that'll happen, be sure to watch new episodes of American Horror Stories when they debut as part of the FX on Hulu (opens in new tab) lineup every Thursday at 12:00 a.m. ET. And when things get too gory and sexually explicit, be sure to peep out all the other big shows coming to the 2021 Summer TV schedule and the Fall TV schedule.
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.
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