Horror is traditionally reserved for Halloween, but on FX's "American Horror Story" Christmas is the real season of scares. Series star Lily Rabe talked to Vulture about the show's upcoming holiday episode and what it was like to work with evil Santa Ian McShane.
After starring in FX's "American Horror Story"'s first season, actress Lily Rabe was eager to take on a more haunting role this time around as possessed-nun Sister Mary Eunice. "This clean soul in this very unclean environment appealed massively to me. She starts out with this kind of lightness in her — although she’s so eager to please and so in over her head — and then that all gets destroyed," Rabe said. "The thing that’s so great about all of the characters that Ryan writes is the underbelly of who these people are. He’s just not afraid of anything. It’s not about making [the characters] likeable or massively appealing or singularly appealing. It’s about making them whole and complicated. They come with a lot of darkness. What’s been so fascinating as I’ve been playing possessed Mary Eunice is that it’s not just the devil on the one hand and Sister Mary Eunice on the other. It’s what’s happening between the two."
"Ryan [Murphy, show creator] didn’t need to say much to convince me to do a second season because I had such a great experience the first time," Rabe continued. "There’s this feeling on this show that you’re a part of something that’s rare and special and brave and also just a lot of fun. There’s so much trust. Ryan’s not going to write a character you don’t want to play, basically. As an actor, you don’t want to ever feel trapped or bored, and you’re just safe with Ryan. That’s never going to happen with him."
A horror series would be the last show you would expect to have a special Christmas episode, but Rabe points to it as one of her favorite of the season so far, in part because of a certain Santa-suit clad guest star. "That was one of my favorite ones to shoot, actually. Ian [McShane] and I got to do some really evil things together, and I have to say it was a career highlight. He’s such a wonderful man. We had great stuff in the common room, with all of those background actors, the inmates," Rabe said. "I can say Christmas will never be the same for me after shooting that episode. I’ll never look at a Christmas tree the same way."
As for what viewers can expect for the holiday episode, Rabe drops few hints. "Ian and I had a lot of amazing Christmas things to do together. Sister Mary Eunice has something to do with why his character is wearing that Santa suit. She has a lot of Christmas spirit, that’s for sure," the actress explained.
Check out a new episode of "American Horror Story: Asylum" tonight on FX!