Gothtober: Everything to know about the cast of ‘American Horror Story: 1984’
American Horror Story isn’t much without its colorful cast of players. Creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy can create a crazy, killer theme, but the actors are the ones who bring it to life and give us the iconic characters we adore so much. We’ve grown close to our regulars and await the reveal of future seasons when we get to see what wigs they wear next.
Murphy delivered this year’s cast reveal in the form of a “camera test” teaser on his Instagram last Thursday. The fun, retro-themed video features the cast in classic 80s outfits dancing around to “I Can Dream About You”, Dan Hartman’s hit from 1984’s Streets of Fire. The video then cuts to the cast walking through a darkened summer camp cabin, bunk beds and all.
With the reveal of the setting, we know American Horror Story: 1984 isn’t a George Orwellian nightmare at all; it’s a tribute to Jason, Freddy, Michael, and all the other great slashers of 1980s horror. A few familiar faces pop up in the trailer, but none of them belong to Sarah Paulson or Evan Peters. Unfortunately, neither is scheduled to star in this season at all.
Evan Peters was asked at WonderCon about his departure and confirmed the news. Suspicions arose after a GQ interview in which he said he was going to take a break from acting.
On the other hand, Sarah Paulson will not be starring – but has not denied that she may have a cameo role in this season. Paulson has plenty on her plate with upcoming roles in Mrs. America, Ratched, Run, and The Goldfinch, so it’s no surprise she had trouble fitting American Horror Story in too.
Even with some of our favorites gone, there’s still plenty to love about the cast of 1984. Some longtime American Horror Story cast members will return, along with other frequent Murphy collaborators and a few newcomers. Of course you can’t wait until September to see them on screen together. So here’s our quick overview of the actors, who they might play based on that character trailer, and where you can find them now.
Roberts is a long-time American Horror Story alum and Murphy collaborator, having appeared in four seasons (Coven, Freak Show, Cult, Apocalypse) and leading Scream Queens as Chanel Oberlin.
After playing some bad bitches like Madison Montgomery & Chanel, we can’t imagine Roberts playing any other character. Plus, Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy was announced as her boyfriend, and we know she’s gotta play a queen bee to score a guy like him.
If you’re looking for Roberts on TV, you’re looking in the wrong place. She hasn’t done anything other than American Horror Story and Scream Queens since 2014. But on the film side of things, she starred in two romcoms in 2018, In a Relationship and Little Italy, and has two upcoming indie films later this year: The Hunt and Paradise Hills. She was also in the UglyDolls movie – but you decide if you’re that desperate.
Just like Roberts, Billie Lourd has starred in both American Horror Story and Scream Queens. Lourd is still relatively new to the series, as her first season was Cult. But with the rocker girl ensemble she’s styling in the trailer, we know her character is gonna be loud, rowdy – probably the scene-stealer of the season.
If you haven’t checked out Booksmart yet, not only are you missing out on one of the most outrageous and funniest high school comedies of the decade, you’re missing out on Lourd’s loopy hippie Gigi.
If sci-fi is more your thing, the daughter of Princess Leia herself has made small appearances in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, with one more appearance scheduled in this December’s The Rise of Skywalker. Try not to cry too hard if you watch her on screen with her late mother Carrie Fisher in The Last Jedi, though.
Coming out swinging in the introduction to the American Horror Story world by playing the Anti-christ? Fern has proved himself to be the perfect addition to the cast and we know he’ll do great things in a more realistic setting.
Fern’s first collaboration with Murphy was on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as one of Cunanan’s murder victims, so he does have experience playing dead. Is he destined to repeat and become a victim?
Cody Fern’s filmography is short, but one major role outside of his Murphy collaborations was in the final season of House of Cards. Fern played Duncan Shepherd, the son of Annette Shepherd, a former financial sponsor of Frank Underwood. Duncan plays a smaller piece in Claire’s plan, but Fern’s performance showed he’s not just some wimpy kid rebelling against his parents.
John Carroll Lynch
Lynch has only played two characters in his three seasons in the American Horror Story universe: Twisty the Clown and John Wayne Gacy. We can’t see Lynch playing anyone else but the Jason/Freddy/Michael of this summer camp of horrors. He’s got the scary part down, and with Twisty, we know he can play a sympathetic villain, too. We know Lynch will kill it (pun intended) as the horrible villain everyone else is running from.
Obviously we recommend revisiting Freak Show and Lynch’s amazing performance as Twisty, but there are other places if you prefer him sans clown makeup. Lynch has small roles in the indie Netflix films Private Life with Kathryn Hahn & Paul Giamatti and The Highwaymen with Kevin Costner & Woody Harrelson. Lynch also stepped behind the camera in 2017 and directed Lucky.
Another fairly new face to the American Horror Story family, Grossman starred in Cult and Apocalypse. She played two completely different characters, so it’s hard to pin down who her new character will be. At one point in the trailer, Grossman shows up in khaki shorts and a vest, giving off a camp director vibe; she could be the owner of the soon-to-be crime scene.
Grossman has had guest appearances in a handful of shows over the past few years, but she did land one recurring gig: you can catch her as Diana Tremaine, better known as Donna Shellstrop, Eleanor’s mother on The Good Place. Grossman appears in flashbacks throughout season one, but appears in a season three episode that will make you laugh and aww at the same time.
Mr. Schuester himself is stopping by the American Horror Story set for a while. Best known for playing the choir director / Spanish teacher on Murphy’s first show, Glee, Morrison’s new character is giving us some teacher vibes again . . . but more in a creepy gym teacher who stares at girls’ butts all day kinda way. Hopefully he won’t try hooking up with any of his students or campers.
For those who like a bit of drama, Morrison had a recurring role as Dr. Paul Stadler on Grey’s Anatomy during the 14th season. He played Jo’s abusive ex-husband who came by the hospital to introduce her to his new fiancee and remind her that they can’t get married until Jo signs the divorce papers. Don’t worry though: Dr. Stadler dies after trying to beat his fiancee while in the hospital and hitting his head on the floor and bed frame, so he gets what he deserves.
If you don’t know Ross’s connection to Ryan Murphy, clearly you’re missing out on Pose and you need to fix that mistake. But seeing Ross go from hammertime Candy to a more poised doctor-like figure has got our interest. In the trailer Ross sports a look of concern – and more importantly a stethoscope – so she’s surely gonna try to be the saving grace for future victims. The only question is: does Ross end up falling victim herself?
We certainly hope not, because we’re still not over her departure from Pose yet (despite numerous delightful posthumous cameos). But that just gives us another chance to remind you what you’re missing if you’re not tuned into Pose. Ross plays Candy Ferocity, the queen who doesn’t care what the panel says and walks the categories she feels she can strut her stuff in – to varying results and drama.
A newcomer to the world of Ryan Murphy, Villa makes a great first impression in the new trailer. Walking into the cabin replete with leather jacket, long silky hair, dark sunglasses, and – oh yeah – a knife, he’s definitely got that bad-boy vibe. Is the knife a red herring? One thing’s for sure: we can’t wait to see what Villa does alongside the rest of the cast.
Outside of a small guest appearance on Shameless and a supporting role in As You Like It, there isn’t much to Villa’s CV. But in the digital space, Villa has starred in Dan is Dead, a web series about a band looking to replace its lead singer with a lookalike after he dies. The show hasn’t been officially released yet, but it’s coming soon.
Another fresh addition to the American Horror Story cast, DeRon Horton is introduced rocking the crop top and high-waisted shorts look. The trailer doesn’t let on much about him, so it’s hard to know for sure what kind of role he’ll play. Maybe he’s one of the camp counselors who ends up having to fight for their lives.
He’s got swagger and confidence in this trailer, but Horton is better known as the awkwardly nerdy and gay Lionel Higgins on Dear White People. For those needing an excuse to finally get into the show, you’ll get a taste of Horton before he pops up in American Horror Story – and you’ll get new episodes on August 2nd.
Otherwise, you can rewatch the second season of American Vandal and catch him as Lou Carter, the best friend and sometimes right-hand man to DeMarcus Tillman.
Probably the most surprising casting, Olympian Gus Kenworthy has been tapped as Emma Roberts’s character’s boyfriend. The skier has no acting credits outside of a guest judge appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race, so it’s hard to know what to expect from him. Kenworthy’s definitely going to be fun to look at though, especially if he keeps wearing crop tops and high-waisted shorts.
If Kenworthy’s character is dating Roberts’s character, he’s definitely part of the in-crowd. With Roberts as queen bee again, she would never date someone unworthy. It seems like good old Gus’ll be the stereotypical jock character as of right now – but Murphy does like to mislead us in teasers.
As we come closer to September 18th, more will be revealed about the horror tropes we’ll be witnessing. But for now, we’re going to keep the trailer on repeat for . . . research, that’s it!