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The American Horror Story Scene That Brought Sarah Paulson To Tears

The American Horror Story Scene That Brought Sarah Paulson To Tears

Twenty years ago, when Ryan Murphy cast Sarah Paulson in his new show, “Nip/Tuck,” as a patient who was pretending to have stigmata, she immediately impressed him. She was “very obsessed and worried about everything,” Murphy remembered in an interview with Elle. As someone who is also very into the little details, he thought, “Oh, she seems like my cup of tea.” When it came time to cast the role of Emma in his next show, “Glee,” he sought out Paulson. Unfortunately, she was starring in “Collected Stories” on Broadway, and declined the offer, a move that Murphy admitted he admired, but also irked him. “I must have been snippy for, like, six months,” Murphy recalled. Luckily for both of them, Murphy eventually cooled off, and when it came time to begin casting for his next show, “American Horror Story,” Paulson was available.

Paulson has appeared in nearly all of Murphy’s productions since that first season of “American Horror Story,” proving how their collaboration was an obvious success. While Murphy doesn’t quite want to call Paulson his “muse,” he does acknowledge that when it comes to his creative ideas, he turns to her first. “I have the dream, and then I let her in on the dream, and then we let other people in on the dream,” he explained. And what an actress to dream with: a chameleon who seamlessly melts into the skin of every character she plays. While this ability has earned her an Emmy and multiple nominations, what kind of emotional toll does it have on a person like Paulson?

Sarah Paulson bawled her eyes out over Lana Winters' shock therapy

Due to the storyline and plot changing each season in “American Horror Story,” Sarah Paulson has been able to explore a vast array of characters and personalities in 10 years that many actors would be fortunate to experience in a lifetime. She’s been able to stretch and move with freedom, and to her, acting is “the one place I don’t feel frightened in terms of my ability to go somewhere unpleasant.” She also told Harpers’s Bazaar that she’s “unafraid to be ugly.” Paulson has had played so many characters on “AHS,” but one of her most heart-wringing was her turn as Lana Winters, whom Paulson played in “Asylum” and again in “Roanoke.”

Winters is a journalist who is wrongly committed to the asylum she’s investigating. There, she’s sexually abused, attempts to perform her own coat-hanger abortion, breastfeeds a grown man, and eventually kills her own son. While all of these on their own sound emotionally draining, the one scene that really got into Paulson’s head was the shock therapy her character underwent. “There were moments where I did go into a corner on the set and just [bawl] my eyes out because it was just a very traumatic thing to play,” Paulson said in an interview with Collider. “My body knew that I was not having electric shock done, but muscularly and emotionally, my body doesn’t know that I’m not experiencing something very, very traumatic.”

Paulson expressed uncertainty about what future collaborations may be in store for her and Ryan Murphy, saying “I think this is my last season of [American] Horror Story, probably, per People. However, there is one thing sure with Paulson, and that’s that she will continue to push boundaries and inhabit characters in a way few other actors can. Paulson can currently be seen in “American Horror Story: Double Feature,” the 10th season of the series.

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