By Dominique Redfearn
Fans dressed head to toe in black clothing, leopard print coats, and dark makeup filled the Dolby Theater March 20 for the closing night of Paleyfest to honor “American Horror Story: Hotel.”
Moderated by Tim Stack of Entertainment Weekly, the panel featured cast members Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Denis O’Hare, Angela Bassett, Wes Bentley, Cheyenne Jackson, Matt Bomer and Finn Wittrock along with executive producer Tim Minear and creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.
Before the panel, not much was known about the upcoming season other than Bassett and Lady Gaga confirming that they will return without any indication of when or to what extent their characters will be involved.
In previous years, Murphy has used Paleyfest as an opportunity to reveal details on the upcoming season such as its theme or by bringing out new cast members but to many fans’ disappointment, not much was revealed about what will happen in the new season.
The only thing Murphy revealed about the theme for season six is that it is still in development and that they have “been working on two ideas at once, which we’ve never done.”
Murphy also mentioned that both ideas contain elements of children and that all of the cast in attendance at the panel “that wants to come back can come back.”
Although Gaga, who played The Countess, was not in attendance, she was the focus of many questions throughout the night.
“She’s a little bit other-worldly,” said Paulson about Gaga while comparing her to former cast member Jessica Lange. “(Gaga) was one of the more emotionally available actresses… She was just right there just in that way that Jessica is. If you’re feeling something, she’s often feeling the exact same thing.”
“She wanted to be an actor all her life and that’s what she studied for originally,” said Murphy. “She really was a student through the entire process.”
He said Gaga would ask for the footage of the scenes including her that they chose not to use so she could see what she might have done wrong in comparison to the scenes that they did use to see what they determined to be better.
Staying on the subject of acting, Paulson said that playing conjoined twins, Bette and Dot, during season four served as preparation for the hardships that she faced this season in going back and forth between playing two characters on two separate shows.
Along with playing Hypodermic Sally on “Hotel” this season, Paulson took on the role of prosecutor Marcia Clark in the FX series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.”
“It was a good warm up (playing Bette and Dot),” said Paulson, “but it was absolutely enough to make me think I was losing my mind.”
The panel wasn’t all serious discussion. O’Hare walked onstage in high heels as a fun tribute to his character, Liz Taylor, and sung a tune later in the panel.
The cast shared memories about their experiences filming throughout the panel such as the pool party Gaga had thrown for the cast that featured a blood colored pool and an erotic cake for Bassett’s birthday.
As the panel came to a close, a microphone was passed around to fans in the theater to allow them to ask questions to the cast and crew.
Many of those who received the microphone would thank the cast for being in attendance at the panel and gave them praises for being as talented as they are before they would ask their questions. One fan even credited the show as being her “rock” for many years.
A number of fan questions were directed to Paulson and Wittrock, they both even received gifts from young fans after they asked their questions. Paulson receiving what appeared to be fan letters and Wittrock receiving a flower crown from another fan that he immediately placed on his head.
Although no date has been set for the return of “American Horror Story,” it is expected to be back in the fall.