Sarah Paulson is one of the poster stars of the American Horror Story franchise, appearing in all but one season of the anthology series, but the actress has now revealed that she felt “trapped” in one particular season of the FX hit as she had no interest in making it and only did so because she was contractually obliged. The run in question was 2016’s sixth season, AHS: Roanoke, which is infamous with fans for taking a meta approach to the material.
Paulson opened up about her struggles with that season in an interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. The star explained that she had no interest in Roanoke‘s storyline and found it particularly hard to adjust to it after her critically-acclaimed turn on The People v. O.J. Simpson, which was also helmed by AHS creator Ryan Murphy, for which she won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
“I just don’t care about this season at all,” Paulson said. “I know people will get mad at me for saying it, but for me, this was post having played Marcia [Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story], and it was what I went to do right after finishing Marcia.”
Having come from what was, by all accounts, the highpoint of her career, Paulson revealed that she felt “so underwhelmed” by the lack of challenging material on Roanoke that she didn’t have an enjoyable experience while making it. Paulson even said that if it had been possible, she would’ve asked Murphy to cut her out of the show.
“I was so underwhelmed by the whole experience because I felt like I had entered into a new place inside of myself in terms of what I thought possible, in terms of what I might be willing to see if I can do,” Paulson added. “I felt really kind of trapped by my responsibility and my contractual obligation to do American Horror Story. As much as it’s my home and I’ve loved it always, it was the first time I felt like I wish I could have gone to Ryan and said, ‘Please let me sit this one out. You know, let me out.’”
Roanoke saw Paulson portray actress Audrey Tindall, who was starring in a TV special about haunted houses. In a satire of the true crime genre, the “real” Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe) recounted her ghostly encounters with the lost Roanoke colony while Audrey would feature in the reconstructions of her experiences. Most fans would agree that it’s not one of the show’s best runs, but Paulson’s strong criticism is still surprising to hear.
That said, the actress stresses that she still loves being part of American Horror Story overall. She did eventually sit out season 9, 1984, but that was only because she was busy partnering with Murphy again for Netflix’s Ratched. Paulson will once again be involved in season 10, the upcoming Double Feature, which premieres this August 25th on FX.