‘American Horror Story’ Star Sarah Paulson Discusses Playing Two Characters At The Same Time

American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson has discussed what it has been like playing two characters at the same time. Not all of her characters have even been in the same show, either, making it a little harder for her.

During American Horror Story: Freak Show, the actress played conjoined twins Bette and Dott. Little did she know it that this would set her up for playing two roles on different shows at the same time over the next year.

Paulson’s acting as both the conjoined twins was believable. Audiences knew exactly who was speaking or acting in the screen. Even without the headbands being different or being focused on a different side of the body, there was never a question over which twin she was meant to be and whether she had accidentally got them mixed up.

During American Horror Story: Hotel, she would effectively play three roles at the same time. While she portrayed Sally on the show, she also came into the episodes as Murder House’s Billie Dean Howard. At the same time, Paulson was playing the role of Marcia on American Crime Story. All these roles were completely different, and she had to keep her head in the game.

It turns out that all the roles being different worked to her advantage. She was able to separate them all to make sure she didn’t accidentally slip into one while playing the other. There was never any confusion for viewers at home, as they wondered why characters had suddenly changed their actions or personalities.

Talking to Glamour, Paulson admitted that there were times she would be filming American Horror Story and American Crime Story on the same day. She did admit that it was taxing, but she was able to use the skills she learned in AHS Season 4 to divide her attention and focus.

“The reason I was able to play Sally was that she just literally didn’t give a f**k about anything. A person who has no investment in anything is the polar opposite of Marcia. Marcia had so much empathy, conviction, belief, dedication, and fire in her belly.”

One of the benefits about Sally and Marcia is that they were completely different. Sally didn’t care about anything, but Marcia had empathy, dedication and a “fire in her belly.” For Sally, it was all about getting another fix, but Marcia wanted justice.

Sarah Paulson nominada a 2 Emmys por Sally/Billie Dean y Marcia Clark, Q U E E N ♥ pic.twitter.com/xzXQbk6EA2

— J u l i ✨ (@JulianEmln) July 14, 2016

At the same time, she said that playing Sally was extremely freeing. She enjoyed not having to keep an attachment to something and had fun exploring the selfish side to her character. That doesn’t mean she’d want to play that sort of role in real life, as it is also very lonely without friends and family.

There are still questions over whether Paulson will be in American Horror Story Season 6. She hasn’t confirmed yet, but judging by her interview with Glamour it certainly looks possible. She commented how she is playing a role that she has never done before. Every year, she gets to go back to the set and put on a different costume. She takes on a completely different role, and it is something most actresses don’t get to do with a long-running TV series.

“I just think I have the greatest job on the planet because my TV show [FX’s American Horror Story] is going into its sixth season and I’m playing an entirely different character, like nothing I’ve ever played.”

That being said, she hasn’t outwardly said that she was talking about American Horror Story Season 6. It is possible that she was thinking back over her Season 5 character, who she had previously said was a completely different character that she had been looking forward to portraying.

Very little is known about AHS Season 6, except that it will air on September 14. It looks like it may be set in the lost colony of Roanoke, but it’s unclear whether that is the main setting or the flashes to the past. It may be connected to American Horror Story Season 1 since Paulson’s character Billie Dean told the story of Roanoke and the meaning of the word “Croatoan.”

Tune in for American Horror Story Season 6 on September 14 on FX.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown]