Interview: ‘Angela Bassett’ Talks American Horror Story: Freak Show And How She Found Out About Her Part

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I recently got to take place on a conference call with Angela Bassett to discuss ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ and her character Desiree Dupree. I got to ask a couple of questions and listened to other journalists. Below are my questions.

Mark: Hi, Angela. How are you?

Angela: Hi, pretty good. Thank you.

Mark: You seem to be enjoying the heck out of this role and last year’s role. I was wondering when you signed on for this year’s episode for Freak Show did you know what the part was? What was your reaction when you found out what the part was?

Angela: I didn’t have a clue whatsoever what the part might be, what it might encompass when I signed on. I just knew I had a great time the previous year, and if that was any indication, it was going to be a wild ride. I think it was about two weeks before I was scheduled to come down to start shooting that I got the, you know, the hot off the press script. I sat down to read it to see and I remember wondering, “Now, how am I going to know who I am?”

Then you read the stage direction, “African American woman in her 40s, hermaphrodite, three breasts, and a ding-a-ling.” You’re like, oh, my gosh. You immediately close the pages, and have to walk around, and process that for a minute. You’re thinking, “What does that mean?” Oh, my gosh. If they thought I was crazy demonic last year, what are they going to think this year?

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Mark: So then, did you call Ryan up and say, “oh, my God, Ryan?”

Angela: No. I wasn’t scared like that. No. I just knew that it was absolutely going to be something that I had never done before. What does an actor crave, but new challenges? This certainly was going to be one of those.

Mark: Well, thank you very much. Enjoying the heck out of the role you’re playing so far this season.

Angela: Oh, thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Below the are some of the other questions people asked that were interesting.

We do have a question from the line of Taylor Ferber with VH1.

Taylor: I just wanted to ask about this past week’s episode. We saw your character, actually from this season and last season, kind of get really intimate for the first time, and your scene with Evan Peters, which you both acted beautifully. Would you say that that was awkward at all on set? How was it shooting that?

Angela: Well, it’s not too awkward. He’s a cute a little boy, who’s engaged. No, it wasn’t too awkward. I mean, you’re playing characters. He’s quite a professional. I think the most awkward part of it was he was so emotional, and just tears, and things coming out of one’s nostrils. I think that was the most awkward part, but sexually, it wasn’t.

We do have a question from the line of Kyle Wilson with Nerd Repository.

Kyle: Hey, Angela. Great to talk to you. One of the things on the show, clowns particularly, scare everybody at the outlet that I work for. I wanted to know, is there anything that freaked you out on the show, this season or last, that just kind of got to you?

Angela: Oh, freaked me out? I think, well, when he took that mask off, and I saw where he had put a gun in his mouth, and shot half his face off, you know? The way the little people treated him, which spurred him on to do that. I didn’t like that. That sort of freaked me out, just how people treat one another. He was innocent in his mind, so taking advantage of that. Pushing him to—

Kyle: Absolutely.

Angela: —that point. That was a lot for me. That made me very sad. I guess not freak out, but really, really sad.

We do have a question from Jamie Blynn with Us Weekly.

Jamie: I wanted to know, what’s the process that turned you into Desiree? How does she get that third breast? How long does it take to put on?

Angela: Well, I go in. I go into my regular makeup artist. She applies the appliance to me, so that it’s there basically. Then I go over to the special effects trailer where her husband makes sure the edges and everything sort of blend seamlessly. I guess I can say that. From there, he and the other special effects gentlemen will begin to apply the paint. They’ll start with brown. They spray it on. They’ll start with the brown. They’ll go to the red, and yellow, and green. It’s amazing these colors and undertones that they claim you possess. You’re like, oh, those are weird, weird colors. Then he’ll take a photograph of it to make sure that it appears as if it’s my own and based on that he’ll maybe go in, and do so more painting, and carry on.

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