LOS ANGELES — The third season of "American Horror Story" will be subtitled "Coven," and add actress Kathy Bates to the series' ensemble, according to the TV anthology's co-creator, Ryan Murphy.
"We're far enough along in the writing that I can tell you what it's about," Murphy announced to more than 1000 of the show's fans who attended the PaleyFest panel on the series Friday night at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles.
Murphy ("Nip/Tuck," "Glee," "The New Normal") confirmed there would be witches in the new season, but failed to reveal any more plot specifics. "It's a really cool story that we've been talking about for a couple of years, actually, and this seemed the year to do it," he continued, dropping one more tidbit:
After filming the first two seasons on lots and soundstages, parts of the series three will be shot in New Orleans.
"The fun thing about doing the show is researching what are the really haunted places in America, because every year the institution is one of the lead characters," Murphy explained. "The first year was Murder House, and this year was Asylum. We have another couple doozy locales."
Joining Murphy on the panel were "American Horror Story: Asylum" cast members Frances Conroy, Naomi Grossman, Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Lily Rabe as well as executive producers Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear. Before the event, it had been reported that Conroy, Lange, Paulson, Peters and Rabe were confirmed to be a part of the third season.
Previously, Murphy had also said Lange would be playing a "glamor cat" in her latest "Story" role. When Lange was asked about that new character, she replied, laughing, "I don't know what a `glamor cat' is, but I am excited about it."
Late in the event, the ensemble's latest major cast addition was introduced to the audience: the Oscar-winning Bates ("Misery"), who said she was a big fan of the series and a longtime friend of Lange. Joked Murphy, "You know, I love a good Oscar winner," referring to two-time Academy Award honoree Lange, and adding that he and Lange had thought of Bates as this season-three character for some time. "So I pitched (Bates) this cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs character. I said, `I know you have a lot going on. And we're way, way, way far ahead, but think about it for a couple weeks, and call me or write me.' And my phone rang an hour later: `I'm in.'"
"I've always been fast," Bates injected, chuckling.
Continued Murphy, "The only thing I'll say about the part is, you know, I wanted to see a lot of scenes with Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates going at it. So, that's what you're going to see."
Murphy also said he was considering a vampire-themed `Horror Story,' and that "I have been talking to John (FX network president and general manager John Landgraf) about doing a companion piece to `American Horror Story,' so I think it would be really cool to do a couple different incarnations of the idea. So, we've been talking about that, but I can't talk about it."
"American Horror Story: Coven" will premiere this fall on FX.
We've talked a little bit about the portrayal of witches in pop culture...so I'm curious what your take on this is?
Me? I'm honestly kind of excited to see it. I was super disappointed with the last season...and I'm torn between hoping that this season is actually scary and wondering what kind of stereotypes/false ideas it might feed into.