If the potential for fireworks between award-caliber actresses such as Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Patti LuPone, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson and Frances Conroy —can we all agree this is the greatest cast ever assembled for TV? — hasn’t whetted your appetite for the third installment of American Horror Story, perhaps new details shared by co-creator Ryan Murphy will.
Murphy revealed to reporters at a panel for Emmy voters last Friday that the FX supernatural hit series, which is currently vying for 17 Emmy nominations, which returns October 9 and will bear the previously-announced subtitle Coven, will feature an intense battle of Salem witchcraft vs. New Orleans voodoo.
“The witches of Salem, the smart ones, got out very early and they were none of the ones who were burned,” Murphy explained. “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.”
No surprise there for anyone who’s witnessed Lange’s, ahem, spellbinding work on the first two installments of the anthology. Returning out actress Paulson will play Lange’s daughter Cordelia in the new series, while Conroy will play Lange’s rival from their high school days.
He also noted that the new series will take place in both the 1830s and present day, adding “The 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.”
Equally exciting is news that Bassett (so under-used and appreciated since her turn as Tina nearly 20 years ago) has been cast in the juicy role of Marie Laveau, a legendary real-life “voodoo queen” of the 19th century in New Orleans.
Murphy said that while Bates will play the most evil woman ever, the tone of Coven will be much more “buoyant and comedic” than last year’s pitch black Asylum. Also announced were titles for the first three episodes: “Bitchcraft,” “Boy Parts” and “The Replacements.” We’re already bewitched!