Minear hopped on the phone with Yahoo TV to dish on the inspiration and reality behind "Coven's" witchy women, jaw-dropping beasts, and slithery reptiles. (Let's just say they're not CGI.) Also, he gives us a sneak peek on what to expect in next week's installment, "The Replacements."
We know that Fiona's the Supreme. She sucked the life out of the doctor in "Bitchcraft" and nearly fried the investigators' brains in "Boy Parts," among other things. What exactly is the extent of her powers?
What we learn coming up is that there's a test that a Supreme in waiting has to go through — a series of tests — called "The Seven Wonders," and so each of these tests represents a different area of magic. So presumably, Fiona has successfully performed all seven wonders.
But as Cordelia says in the first episode, the Supreme is a witch that has many gifts; some even say all gifts. Even [the witches] are not entirely sure to what extent the Supreme might hold power.
She does not have Nan's power [clairvoyance], so far as we know.
You mention a Supreme in waiting.
A Supreme elect. You'll start to learn about that idea in the next episode.
Is there a Supreme elect coming up?
There very well may be.
It seems that "AHS" gives the writers the freedom to go full-tilt with storylines. How do you reel it in or decide when enough is enough?
[Co-creator] Ryan [Murphy] is really the barometer on that stuff. A lot of the really great set pieces are just almost like his own fever dreams. He'll bring it to the room, and we'll craft a story around it. He walked in really early in the year this year, and talked about Evan [Peters'] character getting dismembered, and the girls deciding to build the perfect boyfriend. It was great. It did sort of marry this idea of Frankenstein, but also the idea of something that a teen girl might think to do.
Did you have a younger crowd in mind with this year's story?
We had the Violet/Tate story the first year, and it really stood out as something very strong and very wonderful. We felt like, maybe if we were missing anything in the second year, it was that element of the story. We definitely wanted … the tone of the show in general this year to be a little more inviting and a little more welcoming to a larger or broader audience.
"Boy Parts" reimagined the "Frankenstein" story. What are your horror influences and how did you bring those elements into "Boy Parts"?
My horror influences are everyone's horror influences: the classic Universal films, for sure. Definitely I would say Stephen King. But we don't necessarily approach it just with those tropes in mind. It's also a lot about what's the most interesting story to tell with the characters using the idiom of horror.
We love the use of "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac as Misty's theme song. Whose decision was it to use a Fleetwood Mac song?
It was Ryan's. When we were talking about Misty and who she was, he just had this notion that she would be obsessed with Stevie Nicks. The idea being that Misty was kind of cut off from her tribe, that she didn't know any other witches. She sort of plucked this image out of pop culture and projected onto her a kind of sisterhood, a thing that she was yearning for. And whether or not Stevie Nicks is actually a witch is something to be determined.
Does Stevie Nicks have a greater role in "Coven"?
[Misty's] obsession with Stevie Nicks doesn't go away. And we will be hearing more wonderful Stevie Nicks music.
The minotaur is a powerful, scary image. Whose idea was it to create that character, and what's his deal?
We were talking about something sort of analogous to the Rubber Man from the first year. I think I may have pitched that idea.
Will the minotaur seek revenge on Madame Delphine LaLaurie?
Between the snakes, the fire, and the blood, there was some high-octane imagery in the scene with Cordelia and Hank trying to conceive.
I think what we were trying to say in that particular scene by using that particular imagery: Cordelia warns Hank early on that what you're asking is that we fool around with some rather dark magic to achieve our ends. I know it's cut really quick, but as they're making love, it's a real albino python that is wrapped around those naked actors. It was a real live snake. And we shot it twice!
So the snakes really represent something darker, and the crossover there is that in some of the voodoo rituals you will also see [snakes], like the albino python.
Where do you guys get the inspiration and language for the witches' incantations?
We got back to some old Latin spell texts, and some of us have worked on other genres of shows that have come up with bulls--t magic spells before, like on "Angel" and "Buffy" and "The X-Files."
With Madame LaLaurie, Marie Laveau, and in "Boy Parts," the reveal that Queenie is a descendent of Tituba, the historical elements add a lot of interest for fans. Why did you guys decide to go down that road?
We did it the first year with the Black Dahlia and other sort of famous Hollywood murder stories.
So you go to a place like New Orleans to tell stories of Salem witches; the history is inherent in telling that tale. And when you transplant it to New Orleans, you want to somehow mash that up with the history of New Orleans. It gives it a sense of verisimilitude and makes it have more gravity, somehow. Plus, it's hilarious to see Kathy [Bates] in the Miss Pittypat outfit.
What can you tell us about Episode 3, "The Replacements," to get fans excited?
I'm really excited about next week's episode. I think it's going to shock, astound, and thrill the fans. What you'll find out is some great information about Fiona's past, which really resonates with the story that's being told in the present day. You learn more about the history of the school. And all that gets deepened a little bit. There's a great mother-daughter story in the next episode. It's not necessarily the two women you expect it to be.
So not a Fiona/Cordelia situation?
Not that at all.
"American Horror Story: Coven" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.
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