‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Plot Details and First Photos from the New Orleans Set
During a panel for Emmy voters Friday night, series creator Ryan Murphy spilled some details about the plot of American Horror Story: Coven. Vulture’s Denise Martin, who moderated the panel, was kind enough to write about it for us rubes who weren’t invited.
We already knew that Coven, the third installment in the American Horror Story canon, would take place across multiple locations and span multiple time periods. We also knew that the season would deal with witchcraft and voodoo in in New Orleans, its primary setting. Murphy had also previously spilled that Kathy Bates’ character would be “five times worse than [her Oscar winning] Misery character” and would be a friend-turned-enemy of Jessica Lange’s “real glamour cat sort of lady” character. However, we didn’t know the framing device for the upcoming season, which Murphy has revealed is witches of Salem vs. voodoo witches. Further details hint that it will be exactly as campy as that sounds.
The witches of Salem, the smart ones, got out very early and they were none of the ones who were burned. They all gravitated toward New Orleans, where they now live, and every generation has a great witch who has the most powers of them all, and that’s called the Supreme. Ms. Jessica Lange is the Supreme.
While Lange will play the leader of the Salem witches named Fiona, Angela Bassett will play Marie Laveau, the real life “voodoo queen of New Orleans” who ruled from the 1820s into the 1860s. As Murphy said, “[t]he witches are really sort of a great allegory and metaphor for any minority group that has been persecuted and has had to go underground and, finally, is like, ‘You know what? Dammit, no. We’re fighting back,’ so that’s what they do.”
As for other character announcements, Bates’ “bad, bad woman” character is Madame LaLaurie, a real life serial killer who tortured and killed slaves for several years in her mansion until a fire broke out in the kitchen and firefighters found her cook chained to the stove, as well as an upstairs room where slaves were bound and tortured for long periods of time. Sarah Paulson will be playing Lange’s daughter, Cordelia.
Murphy did, though, promise that this season would be lighter, he’s previously said he missed the humor during Asylum’s dark run. “It’s much more buoyant and comedic and crafty than last season, which was much darker by design because it was about heavy social stuff.” Murphy added that Frances Conroy will be playing a high school rival of Lange’s character’s.
Other returning cast members include Taissa Farmiga, Lily Rabe, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Alexandra Breckenridge and Jamie Brewer. Gabourey Sidibe, Emma Roberts and Patti LuPone will join the show in supporting roles.