‘American Horror Story: Cult’: Inside Lena Dunham’s Role As Valerie Solanas, The Woman Who Shot Andy Warhol
American Horror Story: Cult will be about “the cult of personality that can rise in a divided society,” according to Ryan Murphy. The showrunner told reporters at an American Horror Story: Cult press screening that in the upcoming season of his FX horror anthology, franchise favorite Evan Peters will play a series of cult leaders, including the fictional Kai Anderson, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Andy Warhol as the new season examines “how those people rise to power and why did people follow them.”
Murphy also revealed details on Lena Dunham’s character. In Episode 7, Dunham will play radical playwright Valerie Solanas, the woman who tried to assassinate Andy Warhol in the late 1960s because she felt denied “by the cult of personality that was Warhol and The Factory at the time.” The episode is titled “Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins, Scumbag.” Lena Dunham will play Solanas in flashback scenes.
“That episode is about the female rage then and in the country now,” Murphy said, according to Variety.
“[Solanas] told women to kill all men, and that was the only way you could rise to power.”
Valerie Solanas was the author of the SCUM Manifesto, which proposed the elimination of the male sex while deploring women looking for “Daddy’s” approval. In 1967, the same year she self-published the SCUM Manifesto, Solanas founded the Society for Cutting Up Men. She was its only member, according to Time.
Solanas’ beef with Warhol came in 1966 after he declined to produce a play she had written. While she hung out on the fringes of Warhol’s famous Factory on June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas shot and critically wounded the artist amid simmering outrage over his rejection and the fact that he had lost his copy of her play.
Solanas got the national attention that she has been seeking, but after pleading guilty to assault she was sentenced to three years in prison. Valerie Solanas was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.
After the attack, Andy Warhol spent months in the hospital and never fully recovered from his injuries. He reportedly had to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life, and he developed an aversion to hospitals so severe that he refused much-needed gall bladder surgery five years later. Warhol died in 1987 after surgery for an infected gallbladder. Valerie Solanas died the following year of pneumonia at age 52.
After her American Horror Story: Cult role was revealed at the press screening, Lena Dunham took to Twitter to write that she feels “blessed to play the embodiment of female rage” on Murphy’s’ hit series. She also gave the AHS showrunner a shout-out for his writing.
Genius @MrRPMurphy plays with pop perception of his actors as he writes for them. Internet thinks I want all white men men dead? Voila!
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) August 26, 2017
You can see the trailer for American Horror Story: Cult below.
American Horror Story: Cult premieres September 5 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
[Featured Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Huffington Post]