A serial killer on the loose can be a real scream
It is fun playing a baddie. Just ask Emma Roberts who stars in Scream Queens from Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy.
Roberts, who starred in American Horror Story seasons Coven and Freak Show, plays Chanel Oberlin, leader of the Kappa sorority at Wallace University in the horror comedy.
Oberlin lords it over her sorority minions (her term) — Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd), and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin).
University dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is determined to crush Oberlin. She launches a plan to destroy the exclusive sorority by making it compulsory to accept anyone who wants to pledge.
“You’re about to get hazed harder than a suburban banquet hall during bar mitzvah season,” is just one of the zingers Oberlin aims at unwanted pledgers including scoliosis sufferer Hester Ulrich ( Glee star Lea Michele).
“She (Chanel) is a b---- for want of a better word, but it is really fun to play because there is so much comedy (in Scream Queens),” Roberts says. “We (cast) were surprised by how laugh-out-loud funny the script is.”
The inspiration for Scream Queens came from a real-life incident — an expletive-filled, homophobic and racist email from a sorority sister at the University of Maryland that went viral in 2013.
“We were interested in mirroring that idea,” Murphy says. “Unlike that girl, who apologised and resigned, we wanted to bring our queen bee character to some sort of awareness about her behaviour.
“(Emma’s character) is pretending to be something she’s not and part of the fun of that character is peeling away those layers as we go on to see the vulnerabilities she has and explain why she is this way.”
Scream Queens’ kicker is that there is a serial killer on the loose at the sorority house, wreaking vengeance for another murder 20 years ago. There will be buckets of blood spilt each week.
Curtis was the first actor signed by Murphy. She had long been labelled Hollywood’s scream queen for her starring role as babysitter Laurie Strode in the Halloween movies. The young cast are in awe.
“I could never imagine I would be doing a TV show with her”, Keke Palmer ( True Jackson, VP), who plays brainiac Zayday Williams, says. “I grew up watching every last one of Halloween, my sister and I, that’s a fact. We love her. Ride or die for Jamie Lee. She is cool as hell, I’ll tell you that.”
SCREAM QUEENS, CHANNEL 10, TONIGHT, 9PM; ELEVEN, TONIGHT, 10PM.