burn out

Sarah Paulson Says Filming Roanoke Was Her Personal American Horror Story

Sarah Paulson in AHS: Roanoke. Photo: FX

Ryan Murphy, you heard nothing. Whether you’re a pencil-pusher, barista, or Emmy Award–winning actress, sometimes you gotta complain about your boss. And for Sarah Paulson, that outlet just happened to be The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. The actress, who has starred in eight of the nine seasons of the American Horror Story anthology series, is a longtime Ryan Murphy acolyte, having also starred in Nip/Tuck, Ratched, and The People v. O.J. Simpson. But she says that filming the sixth season of American Horror Story, titled Roanoke, left her “underwhelmed.” “I just don’t care about this season at all,” Paulson told the podcast. “I know people will get mad at me for saying it, but for me, this was post having played Marcia [Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson] and it was what I went to do right after finishing Marcia.” Paulson played a British actor starring in a true-crime series about a haunted house in the 2016 season, alongside Cuba Gooding Jr., Kathy Bates, and Chaz Bono. “I was so underwhelmed by the whole experience, because I felt like I had entered into a new place inside of myself in terms of what I thought possible, in terms of what I might be willing to see if I can do,” Paulson continued. “I felt really kind of trapped by my responsibility and my contractual obligation to do American Horror Story. As much as it’s my home and I’ve loved it always, it was the first time I felt like I wish I could have gone to Ryan and said, ‘Please let me sit this one out. You know, let me out.’”

Paulson says she could have sat out the show’s seventh season, Cult, but she chose to stay because of its plotline focusing the aftermath of the 2016 election. While she didn’t appear in 2019’s 1984, Paulson returns for Double Feature in August co-starring Macaulay Culkin, Evan Peters, and Billie Lourd. “I might get a call from Ryan like, ‘Why are you saying …?’” she joked. Perhaps the real American horror story is the friendships you thought you made along the way.

Sarah Paulson Says She Felt ‘Trapped’ Filming AHS: Roanoke