Evan Peters on playing 6 separate cult leaders on American Horror Story: Cult

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SPOILER WARNING: American Horror Story: Cult spoilers fester below!

If you haven’t been keeping up with American Horror Story: Cult, you’re missing a master class in fright, as taught by AHS series vet Evan Peters. But Peters had to learn his horrifying ways from someone. Or many sinister someones, in this season’s case.

In a long and informative interview about the actor’s consumptive process, Peters told The Hollywood Reporter that he’s been channeling no less than six cult leaders, all of whom he’ll be playing at some point or another this season. Besides his main character, the Cheeto-faced, Fox News-humping blossoming cult leader Kai Anderson, Peters is also taking on the roles of real-life mind controllers Andy Warhol, Charles Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Marshall Applewhite. (Boy, Warhol sure got grouped into some bad company there!)

To accomplish such a feat, Peters worked harder and dove deeper into the darkness than he’s ever been, which apparently affected his psyche at times.

"The challenge as an actor of playing all of them was pretty daunting, and Kai is the most vicious of all of the cult leaders. He has been a difficult character to play, with a lot of highs and lows, and a lot of darkness," Peters said. "I'm excited to wrap and go on vacation."

Perhaps also affecting Peters’ psyche was the fact that he didn’t even know ahead of time he’d be putting in so much extra screen time. Creator Ryan Murphy didn’t tell him as much before shooting began, just popped into the actor’s trailer one day and said, “I need you to be Andy Warhol.”

 "At this point I was deep into it, exhausted and overwhelmed by Kai, and I was just like, 'Oh. OK. I'll totally do that.' (Laughs)."

Peters was apparently so good that Murphy then asked him to play the rest of the crazy, far-more-killer cult leaders. Of course, if you’ve been watching the show, you’re likely wondering how these real-life figures fit into modern-day Michigan. Well, he doesn’t spoil, but Peters does assure us it’s “actually grounded in the story.”

The season premiere of Cult was absolutely terrifying, and a huge part of that was due to Peters’ performance, which was riveting nightmare fuel. When you’re in an episode that’s filled with killer clowns, and you’re not really a clown but still the scariest damn part of the show, then yeah, you’ve done your terror homework. 

(via The Hollywood Reporter)


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