Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ryan Murphy Reflects on American Horror Story: Asylum

Courtesy of FX

By now you’ve seen it. The shocking finale to American Horror Story: Asylum. Kit’s alien abduction. Sister Jude’s penance and peaceful goodbye. And Lana’s not so sweet reunion with her twisted son, Bloody Face, Jr. At a recent press event, AHS creator talked about the brilliant wrap-up to another haunting season.

On the Inspiration to the Season
“The thing that we were the most interested in this season writing about was… the documentary series that [Lana] made about shutting down Briarcliff. That’s one of the first thing with the writers laying on the idea of Asylum, that period of time, those documentaries that were made. There was a very famous documentary that Geraldo Rivera made in that time period, that this is a loose homage of… It’s on YouTube and it’s quite fascinating with Geraldo. It made his career.

“Also there was a brilliant movie that we were very influenced by for the last episode which is this brilliant documentary called Cropsey, that also was about the unraveling health care system in our country and how so many people were dumped there and left to rot there. And all those abuses that you see, we studied pictures of and recreated all that stuff. So we did a lot of research. So that was actually our jumping off point for the whole season. We knew we were going to have that character go in there, become a prisoner, do her shock corridor tenure and then go back to tear the joint down. So that was the ending that we actually had from the very beginning.”

On the End of Lana’s Story
“I always knew she would survive. I did not know how fantastic her wigs would be. That was a lot of fun, too, working with Sarah Paulson, who had so many dark days. But she loved it. She actually was weepy when the show ended because she said, ‘I never had a character that had a beginning, a middle and an end like that.’ We took extra care with Sarah in that last episode to her those Jackie Suzanne wigs and the fur and the jewels.”

On the Show’s ‘Meditation on Fame’
“I also like that mediation on fame, which was somewhat loosely modeled on that Capote In Cold Blood stuff that I have always been obsessed with from when I was a journalist. So [Lana] was that corruption of fame stuff, I thought was really interesting. And I know that a lot of people were very furious with Lana after [the second to last] episode. They felt she left all those people there to rot. But I love that she goes back and I love that she does try, and even after everything that Sister Jude has done, she does try to get her and she does succeed in closing down that place. I thought it was a very heroic ending for her.”

On Mixing Horror Genres in Each Season
“The show is always about three to five areas of interest that are so called horror that shouldn’t go together that we put together. And the show usually has a very strong whirligig energy when it starts because you have to launch all that stuff. And I felt the same way last year that the two most successful episodes last year were the last three. And I feel that about this year, because what happens is it became a very meditative, grounded, emotional story about these three people who started which were Kit and Lana and Sister Jude.”

On Happy Endings
“I don’t know how people will react but, for me, I thought that Jude got a great, happy ending. And I know Jessica thought that. Kit got a very strange happy ending. And I always imagined that character, that was very influenced by the Richard Dreyfuss last scene in Close Encounters where he gets off and will probably live forever. I always imagined that as a happy ending. And Lana having her Barbara Walters ending was great. I thought it was happy endings for not everybody but most people.”

On the Aliens

“It was always what it was. I was always interested in those stories. And the fascinating thing about those stories was the people who claimed to have been abducted and who had been on the ships. Did that happen? I don’t know. But I’m fascinated that those stories started to come out right around the time of the Civil Rights era and I was very interested in the timing of that. So to me that’s what that was about.

“And I never like to talk about that story because I like that that’s the one thing that everybody can put their own conclusion. Where do they come from? Who were they? I liked not saying too much about it so that people could come to their own conclusions. If you read theories about it from this season alone, so many people have wildly different ideas about what it was or what it meant and I wanted it to be that way.”

Stay tuned for more details about Season 3 of American Horror Story on the show’s official website.

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