Emmys: 'American Horror Story's' Evan Peters on the "F—ed-Up Stuff" He Loves

Michele K. Short/FX
Peters in the fourth season of American Horror Story

Hoping to snag a lead actor nomination, the actor talks with THR about playing a freak show performer in FX's anthology series and how it helped him land his role as Quicksilver in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past.'

This story first appeared in a special Emmy issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

His character in the X-Men films, Quicksilver, is a mutant capable of superhuman speed — that must be typecasting because Evan Peters, 28, has spent the past couple of years zooming between soundstages and working on multiple projects simultaneously. This summer, he’ll do it again, shooting X-Men: Apocalypse while at the same time taking on another role in the FX anthology series American Horror Story, which is about to start production on its fifth season (this one titled Hotel). He spoke to THR about the "f—ed-up stuff" he loves.

What drew you to American Horror Story?

I was basically out of work. I didn’t know it was going to be anything like it ended up being, but I just fell in love with [my character] Tate. Then Ryan [Murphy, the creator,] called me and asked me if I wanted to do season two and said, "Do you want to be a different character? Because it’s going to be a whole new story." That’s a huge draw because you don’t get pigeonholed. I’ve had the opportunity to play four different characters so far, which is just unheard of.

And it helped you land the role of Quicksilver in 2013’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, right?

Yeah, [director] Bryan Singer is a really big fan of AHS. He called me up and told me he has this cool role for me in X-Men, a guy who is incredibly fast and hyperactive, and if you give him some caffeine, forget about it. I said, "He sounds really fun, so of course." And then I got off the phone and started jumping on the couch.

This year, you’re hoping to compete in the lead actor in a miniseries/movie category at the Emmys. What makes Freak Show’s Jimmy Darling more than a supporting character?

He was kind of the leader in the freak show — and it was a really hard role. There was a lot of emotion involved, a lot of physical stuff. Wearing those [deformed] hands every day and trying to make them believable was very difficult. I mean, they were rubber. You can’t really touch anything because the paint rubs off quickly and the glue comes undone. They were a very temperamental prosthetic.

But they ended up getting cut off at one point.

I didn’t expect that. Poor Jimmy. They ended up giving him wooden hands. That was another challenge, to re-create the experience of not having any painkillers.

What sort of character do you want to play next season?

Something totally scandalous. I like the real f—ed up stuff.

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