(Michele K Short / FX)
Home » Ryan Murphy talks about Stevie Nicks' influence on 'AHS: Coven'

Ryan Murphy talks about Stevie Nicks' influence on 'AHS: Coven'

(Michele K Short / FX)
(Michele K Short / FX)

The second episode of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story: Coven was chock-full of plot developments, including the resurrection of seemingly dead Misty (Lily Rabe) and Kyle (Evan Peters) and the reveal that modern-day Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) has kept alive her minotaur lover! EW talked to Murphy about all the twists and turns as well as a preview of next week’s AHS: Coven.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I love that Misty is a big Stevie Nicks groupie.

RYAN MURPHY: She is obsessed with Stevie Nicks because I am obsessed with Stevie Nicks.

EW: You actually asked Stevie to use her music on the show, right?

RM: Yeah, the whole thing started with the fact that when I was growing up, I was always obsessed with those Stevie Nicks songs like “Riannon” and “Gypsy.” And I remember reading an article where Courtney Love called Stevie Nicks the “white witch” and Grace Slick the “dark witch.” And I have a good relationship with Stevie because of Glee. She is one of the few artists that have come to hang out. She had been writing Lea [Michele] and I regularly since the Cory [Monteith] situation, because she really loved Cory [who passed away in July]. So she’s just a wonderful, wonderful person.

When we got to this witch idea, I thought, if you’re Misty and you have grown up alone and you don’t know any other witches, there’s one witch you probably would know and that’s Stevie Nicks. So I called Stevie Nicks and first I said, “I want to use you in the show.” But she was very resistant because from the beginning of her career people who are in the Wiccan community had given her a hard time thinking she was a witch and she got a lot of scary fan letters. She didn’t like the darkness of that, and I explained to her the part and she’s like, “Aw f—, let’s just do it. OK, I love it.” She’s not a witch, but she has an attraction to those mystical creatures because they’re fun to write about. So she gave me the rights to her music and she and Lindsey Buckingham are working on a special sort of redo of a song they did about a witch.

On the first season of American Horror Story, actress Lily Rabe played Nora, the mother of a Frankenstein infant made up of dead baby parts. In season 2, she was Sister Mary Eunice, a nun possessed by the devil. Now, in AHS: Coven, Rabe is Misty Day, a sensitive witch who’s also the world’s biggest Stevie Nicks fan. While Misty seemingly perished after being burned at the stake in the premiere, last night’s “Boy Parts” saw the resurrection of Misty. EW talked to Rabe about her latest wild role.

‘American Horror Story’: Lily Rabe talks returning to ‘Coven’ as a Stevie Nicks-obsessed witch

(Michele K Short / FX)
(Michele K Short / FX)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you describe Misty? She’s obsessed with a 1970s icon.
LILY RABE: Yes. She’s obsessed with Stevie Nicks, and so am I. Isn’t it wonderful? Stevie really is her hero, her greatest inspiration and who she lives for. It’s like a love affair. Without giving much away, she’s alone for quite a period of time. She’s a bit of a loner. She’s isolated. Stevie is really her main relationship when we meet her again. It’s been so fantastic. I mean, the costumes are amazing. That she’s living out in the swamp but still manages to find her platform boots is the greatest thing ever, I think. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

Have you met Stevie Nicks?
If I meet her, I actually think I might die on the spot. I know Ryan has been in touch with her and there are emails going around. I think I actually might just black out and die. I don’t get that crazy about a lot of people. I’m usually pretty cool, calm, and collected. But I don’t know if could behave properly. I love her so much. She’s just a beautiful creature. But having that music, too, in the show has been so wonderful, and the relationship that Misty has to the lyrics, she lives her life by them, and it’s wonderful.

I started learning how to play the guitar last year when I was shooting season 2, because Zach [Quinto] was there with his banjo, and I was like, “Oh, God, it is the perfect thing for my trailer.” It’s hard to read a book when you’re starting and stopping all the time. I had a wonderful guitar teacher, and I started with “Landslide,” and it just went from one Stevie song to another. So when Ryan said, “Well, she’s obsessed with Stevie.” I thought it was a joke. It was actually like a beautiful, fluid thing that made everything feel so connected.

How does this season compare to the other ones? It’s a little lighter this year.
Yeah, it is. No, there is a bit more lightness to the show. It’s still scary. But it’s very funny. I found that first episode incredibly funny.

There is more lightness with Misty that I actually get to play. She has an incredible positivity. But she’s also very feral. There’s a wildness to her. Her relationship to nature is wonderful. That, for me, has been really fun to play, and also because of where we’re shooting and because we get to go out to the swamps. That, to me, has been great, because I’d always rather be covered in real dirt and sweating for real if you can, and I get to do that because I’m pretty much covered in dirt.

So you’re on location in a swamp?
Yes! There’s this one amazing location for a lot of the Misty stuff we’ve been going to. It’s just this absolute swampy fairy land. It’s really wonderful.

It must be hot as hell though.
It’s really hot [laughs]! This summer was really hot, but it’s cooled down. It’s quite lovely there right now. But July and August were definitely…ya felt it [laughs].

The opening scene in “Boy Parts” finds Misty resurrecting some dead alligators. Did you have to interact with real alligators on set?  
They were around. Interact? Maybe not as much. But they were definitely around. And snakes.

So you’re not afraid?
I’m more afraid of an alligator than a big snake. I wouldn’t go up to one if it wasn’t with its person. I’m not terrified of snakes. But alligators…yeah, scary.

Is Misty maybe in love with Zoe? Or just missing companionship?
I don’t know if I should answer. It’s definitely not that she’s bicurious. I think there’s something about her openness to people. There’s a lot of space in her heart that is available, I think, and I think it gets filled in different ways. But it’s not an overt sexual crush or anything.

Can you say if you get out of the swamp? Will you interact with the others?
I don’t know if I should say. I will say: Although there is a lot of loneliness to her and a lot of time spent alone with Stevie, who is the best thing ever, the relationships she has on the show are really exciting.

Your first few scenes this season had you dragged across a field and burned at the stake. Did that surprise you?
Well, this is my third season, so it takes a lot for me to sort of go “Whoa!” Your insane threshold is very high in the most wonderful way. That’s why you love doing the show. It’s thrilling reading the scripts, because you know you’re going to get to do all this delicious, complicated stuff.

 It must be great job security knowing that you’re playing a character who can come back from the dead!
There are just no rules! [Laughs]

Tim Stack / Entertainment Weekly / Thursday, October 17, 2013


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