"American Horror Story: Asylum" has quickly become one of the must-see (but not alone!) shows of the season. Series creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have crafted a terrifying world inside the dank, dark, disturbing walls of Briarcliff Asylum, circa 1964. It's an institution filled with sadistic staff members and helpless inmates whose backstories are rich in detail. The lines between the sane and insane blur on all levels.
Grace, a Briarcliff inmate played by French actress Lizzie Brocheré, is one of those remarkable characters. Brocheré talked to us about her involvement with the show, how she got the role, and the inner workings of Ryan Murphy's mind.
How did you first get involved with "American Horror Story: Asylum"?
I self-taped [my audition] from France. I had a manager in L.A., and I don't self-tape a lot, because I didn't believe in self-taping. It felt so much like a message in a bottle in an ocean of bottles.
I watched "American Horror Story" the first season, and I loved it. The audition scenes were so much fun, so I thought I had to do that. The audition scenes were not taken from the script. One of the scenes was from "Girl, Interrupted," that crazy scene with Angelina Jolie's character, Lisa. The other scene was from "Nip/Tuck," a very provocative scene. It was a lot of fun for me. I thought I would just do it for me. I sent the tape and then didn't really believe [I would get it], because it was an American part, initially, and I am totally French.
"I Am Anne Frank, Part 1" gives the audience a more detailed look into Grace's backstory, and when telling the first version of the story, she has a wonderful moment with Kit (Evan Peters). Why do you think Grace and Kit are so drawn to each other?
When she meets Kit, there is this amazing attraction and connection that she feels drawn to him. This trust, this thing, is way beyond labels and killing and anything. It's more about what you do about these things, what you do about your story. Maybe you did this; maybe you didn't do it.
I feel they both got marginalized from society. When Kit arrives in the asylum, he's described as this monster that skins women and cuts their heads off. Maybe he did it; maybe he didn't do it. That's what he's carrying around.
You can imagine Grace coming into the asylum as this little girl who chopped up her dad and her stepmother. The looks of society upon her must have been terrible. People must have been terrified and scared and fascinated by that story. This puts them both in that no man's land where you are alone and society just doesn't get you -- tries to put you away behind those walls.
The Internet has been abuzz about Dylan McDermott returning to the show. Can you say much about that?
I was so surprised about the character he [McDermott] was playing. I thought it was brilliant, a brilliant choice. The audience is going to be happy.
How have your interactions with Ryan Murphy been on the set?
Ryan Murphy is not here most of the time on the set, but he's present in every single detail, from the smallest choice of props to the biggest plot detail. His presence is all around you, and it is such a unique, genius universe.
It's a very strange relationship to be in his asylum because you feel like you are in part of his mind. He's in every little choice, from the slippers that I am wearing to the haircut I have in the flashbacks. Every single detail. He has such a precise idea of design.
Can you give us any more insights into the rest of "American Horror Story: Asylum"?
What I can say is, when we started shooting, I only had the first four scripts. And now, every script that I read, it's like "Oh, wow! This is happening?" [The audience] can't expect anything.
"American Horror Story: Asylum" airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on FX.