Sarah Paulson

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - COLIN VICK­ERY TV WRITER

Sarah Paulson is part of Ryan Mur­phy’s posse. For the past four years, Paulson has starred in the Mur­phy-cre­ated Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story. In the orig­i­nal se­ries Paulson played medium Bil­lie Dean Howard. In the fol­low-up, Asy­lum it was gay writer Lana Win­ters. In Coven she played witch Cordelia Fox and, most mem­o­rably, con­joined twins Bette and Dot Tat­tler in last year’s Freak Show.

Now Paulson is film­ing two Mur­phy shows at once. In Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Ho­tel she plays Hy­po­der­mic Sally along­side Lady Gaga. Paulson is also por­tray­ing pros­e­cu­tor Marcia Clark in Amer­i­can Crime Story: The Peo­ple v O.J. Simp­son.

How would you de­scribe Hy­po­der­mic Sally? My char­ac­ter this year is quite dark. I think she’s sexy. She’s a drug ad­dict, and not that drug ad­dicts are sexy, but this girl hap­pens to be quite sexy. She’s got a thing. I don’t think it’s like any­thing I’ve done on this show. Sally lives at the ho­tel Cortez. She hates (ho­tel man­ager) Iris (played by Kathy Bates) in a rather an­cient way for rea­sons that are re­vealed quickly. I have kind of a bud­ding some­thing with Wes Bent­ley’s char­ac­ter, De­tec­tive John Lowe.

It looks like Hy­po­der­mic Sally would be fun to play. Is she? It is very ex­cit­ing. I played a very nasty woman in 12 Years a Slave (plan­ta­tion owner Ed­win Epps’ wife Mary op­po­site Michael Fass­ben­der) so I had some prac­tice, but not on this show. I’ve al­ways played some version of the hero or the vic­tim — the per­son that comes out on top like poor put-upon Delia who ends up win­ning the whole thing. The same thing with Lana and the twins too get their fi­nal jus­tice by killing that dandy. What are the touch­stones you used to cre­ate the char­ac­ter? I watched a lot of Sid and Nancy and I watched that movie Rush with Jen­nifer Ja­son Leigh and Ja­son Pa­tric. Sid and Nancy es­pe­cially be­cause of Chloe Webb … I’m not say­ing I’m play­ing a char­ac­ter like that but she’s more like that than any other char­ac­ter in­spi­ra­tion.

You’re also film­ing Amer­i­can Crime Story. What are your mem­o­ries of the O.J. Simp­son case? I was in New York. I re­mem­ber just where I was when the Bronco chase hap­pened (on June 17, 1994). I watched the trial on TV. I never dreamt that I would be play­ing this kind of woman.

Did you talk to Marcia Clarke to help you pre­pare? I’m about to do that — be­cause I wanted to wait. I was too afraid to do it at the be­gin­ning. I wanted to get a lit­tle bit of pur­chase on the thing be­fore I rushed off.


Sarah Paulson has had prac­tice play­ing nasty women.

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