American Horror Story: Freak Show Adds Both New And Familiar Cast Members

Ryan Murphy has been keeping a tight leash on news surrounding the upcoming American Horror Story: Freak Show, but a few casting surprises (both official and unofficial) have escaped his carnival tent. It already seems like this cast already couldn’t get any bigger, but Murphy himself announced All My Children actor Finn Wittrock has been added to the show, while a casting sheet leak has tuned us into some big surprises waiting in the season ahead.

Murphy took to Twitter to make his announcement about Wittrock, who also starred in Murphy’s HBO movie The Normal Heart, which is nominated for an Outstanding Television Movie Emmy Award this year. Wittrock, who had roles in this year’s Noah and Winter’s Tale, was last seen on TV for a multi-episode run on Showtime’s Masters of Sex. Unfortunately and predictably, Murphy managed to leave out any clues involving Wittrock’s character.

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Ever since we first heard that American Horror Story was going to take place within an actual freak show, imaginations have run wild over what actors would be playing what characters. And while we know a few things, like Michael Chiklis playing the strongman and Sarah Paulson playing conjoined twins Bette and Dot, this casting notice (via an Argentinian fan page, of all places) reveals not only another returning actor, but also a new face to take on one of the most interesting characters of Season 4. I mean, it’s all still unofficial, mind you, but our fingers are crossed.


For one, the list includes the name Naomi Grossman, whom you might remember as Pepper the Pinhead from Asylum. Well, it looks like the actress will be playing the same character, as “Pepper” is listed as her name, and she’ll apparently join Christopher Neiman’s character Salty for some spicy shenanigans. (A brief glance at Neiman will make you say, “Yeah, I can see him as a Pinhead.”) Since Freak Show takes place years before the events of Asylum, does this mean that we’re getting some kind of an origin story for Pepper? Does that even matter to anyone? I just want to see Grossman’s return, regardless of where the story goes.


Arguably more intriguing is the inclusion of veteran actor John Carroll Lynch – seen above in Zodiac – whose character name is “Twisted Clown.” It was a little over two months ago when Murphy told EW that this season was going to feature the most ”terrifying clown ever.” This has to be the same thing, right? The word “twisted” could mean anything from “collects human femurs” to “only masturbates at zoos.” Both of those are pretty terrifying, and Lynch wouldn’t have to work TOO hard to get himself up to the "scary clown" high standard of John Wayne Gacy.

The notice also lists the names for the characters being played by Jessica Lange (Elsa Mars), Kathy Bates (Ethel Darling) and Evan Peters (Jimmy Darling). There’s also a Legless Suzi, played by Rose Siggins and a Paul the Illustrated Seal, played by Matt Fraser. Who are these people, and which one of them will possibly die by the hands of a clown? Find out when American Horror Story: Freak Show debuts on FX this fall.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.