Actress Billie Lourd had a rough 2016, Entertainment Tonight is reporting. Her mother, the legendary actress Carrie Fisher, died suddenly and unexpectedly. To make matters worse, her grandmother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, died abruptly a day later. This obviously took a toll on Lourd’s well-being. Playing the character Winter in Ryan Murphy’s disturbing FX series American Horror Story, however, was therapeutic for her.
“Being able to cry for Winter helped me cry for myself,” Lourd shared. “And it’s been really healing and cathartic in an amazing way, and getting to be around all the incredible people on set, they’ve become like a family to me, and I cannot thank Ryan enough. Honestly, it kind of saved my life.”
Murphy first cast Lourd as Chanel #3 in his horror-comedy series Scream Queens. While her character was mostly vapid and served plenty of comedic relief, Lourd proved her range as an actress after she was cast for Season 7 of American Horror Story, which is much darker than Scream Queens. The series tells a different story every season, and Season 7 was called “Cult.”
“When Ryan offered me Cult, it was just a few months after my mom passed, and it honestly helped me process all of my emotions through these characters,” Lourd said.
Lourd’s performance was so well-received that she was brought back for Season 8, called “Apocalypse.” In this season, Lourd plays a witch named Mallory who is tasked with saving the world from permanent destruction. This character was helpful for Lourd too, and she revealed that playing Mallory helped her access “kindness and empathy” within herself. She also shared that she is still in disbelief of her career having taken off and is amazed that she gets to work with acclaimed actors such as Emma Roberts and Sarah Paulson. She even described her castmates as her best friends.
While Lourd would like to branch out eventually and try out more roles, she is thoroughly enjoying her role on American Horror Story and hopes to move forward with the show.
“I love doing this show,” she said. “It is so much fun and so challenging and has taught me so much. I would do as many seasons as they would offer me. I mean, obviously I would like to do, like, a sweet romantic comedy on the side too, but, like, this is my jam. I love this show so much. And I would do anything Ryan asked me to do. I trust him with all of my heart.”