'American Horror Story's' Sarah Paulson on the Bloody Face Reveal and What's Next for Lana
"Aversion and shock therapy at Briarcliff seem like nice forms of therapy compared to the 'therapy' she's about to endure," the actress tells THR.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Wednesday's "I am Anne Frank -- Part 2" episode of FX's American Horror Story.]
Bloody Face's identity is out of the bag on FX's American Horror Story: Asylum and Lana has been reunited with her beloved girlfriend Wendy.
During Wednesday's episode, the identity of the serial killer who's been torturing women and skinning their faces was revealed to be the "good" doctor -- Zachary Quinto's Dr. Thredson -- who not only bailed from Briarcliff but took Lana along for the ride.
Lana (Sarah Paulson), thinking that she'd be escaping the horrors of Briarcliff -- which included shock therapy at the hands of Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) and aversion therapy via Thredson -- accepts the doc's invitation out of the institution. However, her reunion with Wendy (Clea Duvall) isn't all it's cracked up to be as she not only learns that Thredson -- not Kit (Evan Peters) as she feared -- is the man behind Bloody Face and has killed her beloved girlfriend, keeping her body on ice (and toothless!) in his hellish lair.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Paulson to discuss the big reveal, why Thredson targeted the couple and whether or not the aspiring reporter can get out alive -- and with her skin.
The Hollywood Reporter: How challenging was the aversion therapy material to film?
Sarah Paulson: That was crazy. Because I was shooting it with Zach, who is my very good friend, there was a great deal of trust between us. There aren't too many days where you look at a scrip where you find out you have to put your hands in your pants. That's a lot to do on national television and even simply in the moment in front of the crew; it's a very exposing thing emotionally to do that kind of stuff. It wasn't easy but it felt important to me as part of the story of the trauma that happens to Lana while she's in Briarcliff and beyond.
Lana is now being held captive by Bloody Face. How surprised were you when you learned it was Quinto's Dr. Thredson?
I wasn't surprised because Ryan told me, Zach and everybody on the show months ago; we knew form the get-go. What I didn't know was that Lana was going to be the person captured and the person who was going to have things perpetrated against her by Bloody Face; that was a huge surprise. At first, I wondered how I'd stay tied to the story now that Lana isn't at Briarcliff. Then I realized it's because of what they do to me next and it became clear what was going to happen to Lana.
How will Lana's experience with Thredson compare to her time at Briarcliff?
Aversion and shock therapy at Briarcliff seem like nice forms of therapy compared to the "therapy" she's about to endure in Bloody Face's liar; it's pretty harrowing what happens to her. It makes what's happened to her not seem so terrible. I guarantee the thoughts in her mind are, "If I could just get back to Briarcliff it would be so much better." She'd trade staying in Briarcliff than being in the lair with Dr. Thredson.
She's not alone in the lair -- with her girlfriend Wendy's body there, frozen and now toothless. How will being that close to her impact Lana? Will it motivate her?
There are things that are revealed in episode six in terms of why Lana was chosen by Dr. Thredson. You'll see in the setting of episode six how Wendy is involved in helping her and the underlying engine in Lana's survival. She has to survive and it's not for herself, it's to avenge what happened to Wendy and to expose Bloody Face for who he is to whomever will listen. I can't promise you that she ever gets out of the lair to do that but that's what she wants and Wendy is very much a part of that. You'll see in episode six what he does and how Wendy is involved in that in a peripheral way that is very present for Lana.
What's motivating Thredson to become Bloody Face? Does he have issues with her sexuality?
I don't know what I can say about his motivations but Lana wasn't a random choice. There was thought behind choosing Lana and it didn't have to do with her being gay.
Jessica Lange told us that Sister Jude is the "ultimate heroine" this season -- might she play a role in Lana's rescue?
(Laughs) That is something I can't answer for you. I want to but I can't. The question has to remain whether or not Lana gets out.
Might Kit and Grace grow suspicious about Lana's whereabouts?
Kit and Grace are so involved in their own affairs. What happens at Briarcliff is it's a very big place. When you're in solitary or you don't have access to the common room or when you're locked in your own room, you don't know where everybody else is. I don't know that they know that Lana is gone. That's part of what's crazy is that I don't know that anyone, save for Sister Jude and Frank [the security guard] and eventually Mary Eunice, know that Lana is gone. That's another terrifying notion -- that none of the good people, the people who could help Lana -- know she's gone.
What prompted Thredson to go to Briarcliff in the first place to gain Lana's trust? Why take her out? Does he really want her to tell his story?
I certainly think not. Things with Thredson change beat by beat. His relationship with Lana is unlike any relationship he's had with anyone he's killed before. Lana threatens all of his notions about how he does and why he does what he does. It's very confusing for him. That becomes clear over the next few episodes.
What do his victims have in common?
They're all women, that's the main thing. You don't find out until episode six. It's one thing to have it unmasked who Bloody Face is, but it's another thing to learn why he is the way he is. You'll get an inkling and understanding of why and it's quite troubling and it leads to a troubling scene.
What lengths might Lana go to in order to escape from Thredson's lair?
Lana would do anything to survive. That was true for her at Briarcliff and it's going to be true for her in Thredson's lair. How far she gets I can't promise you but there's nothing she won't do to get out or potentially placate him so she can get out.
Do you think Lana survive this season?
The jury's out! (Laughs.)
How are Thredson and the present-day Bloody Faces connected? Might they be the lovechild of Lana and Thredson?
That will be revealed in a while. That's a very American Horror Story idea but I don't think that's what's going to happen. If you think it is, if you can come up with something really outlandish, I think you'd then be closer to the idea of how the stories converge. It's an interesting theory but I don't think it's right.
What's the most insane theory you've heard about this season?
I heard somebody say Dr. Arden is Bloody Face and he's going to capture Thredson and take Thredson to the aliens. There's been so many crazy theories; everybody has a theory. Some people think I'm Bloody Face. The idea that it was Lana makes me giggle. The idea that it's Sister Mary Eunice seemed more obvious, that the devil is the devil? It'd never be that.
Have you tried on the Bloody Face mask?
No, but that mask gives me nightmares. In scenes where the mask is worn with me in them, I don't have to act very much because it's really scary.
We've heard there's only a few scripts left this season, what can you tease about how everything ties up?
I'm hoping everybody gets everything they want. I expect everything everybody wants, nobody is going to end up victorious, that's my fear. This isn't a show where they wrap things up, like Kit should marry Grace and they have a baby, and Sister Mary Eunice should go back to being sweet and Dr. Arden should realize the error of his ways. It's not going to be that show, that's not what's going to happen. On that level it's great, but on another level, it's not called American Sorta Horror Story so I don't know that the people you're rooting for are going to get what they want. They might, but I don't know.
Last season had the secret that it was a limited series, with everybody dying and Constance getting the baby and most everyone finding happiness. Do you think people will be happy with the way it ends this year?
I don't even know. The writers are really deep in trenches of figuring out how this is going to end. I don't know that they know. I imagine all them standing at a fork in the road with five different avenues they could go down and I don't know which one they're going to pick. I have hopes for Lana but I don't know that it's going to turn out OK for her.
What's your ideal ending for Lana?
I want her to be with Wendy because I'm worried even if she survives, she'll never be normal or OK again. I don't know if death would actually be the best way for her.
What did you think of the Bloody Face reveal? Were you surprised? Do you think there's hope for Lana getting out of Thredson's lair? Hit the comments with your thoughts. American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.