Evan Peters, one of the main faces of the American Horror Story franchise, wants you to know American Horror Story: Cult is not all about President Trump and that there are more important issues than the NFL right now.
We spoke to the 30-year-old on Monday ahead of tonight’s new episode of AHS about cults, characters and of course, politics.
You’ve been in all eight seasons of American Horror Story, but you play different characters each season. Are there benefits to that?
It’s really an actor's dream come true, or at least my dream come true. The biggest fear for an actor is that you’re pigeon-holed and you can only play one thing. I didn’t know the first season that it was going to be a different story every season and I’d be playing a different character. I was just happy to be a part of the show and when I found out we were going to be doing that, I was shocked and also incredibly excited that I would be able to stretch myself and play something different. [It's been] incredible as an actor to be able to have [show creator Ryan Murphy] put his faith in me. To be able to do that has been awesome to say the least.
Will we see you in future seasons of American Horror Story?
I’m happy to! Whatever Ryan wants to do, I’m happy to talk to him and figure that out.
It seems like a very chaotic time for America with North Korea, natural disasters and the renewed NFL controversy. Even though the election theme is dropping away, how did it feel to play Kai against the backdrop of our times?
I think there’s other things we need to be focusing on than the NFL thing, obviously. Much more important issues, but anyway, it’s been difficult. The character is insane and you’re absolutely right, it’s not really about the election. It’s just a starting point for everything that Kai’s trying to do and trying to accomplish. It’s the spark that’s going to start the flame that’s going to allow him to bring it all down and become the leader that he wants to be.
The character as a whole has been challenging to play the whole way through because it’s only gotten crazier and crazier and he’s going more and more off the deep end so it’s been challenging the whole way through.
Do you think politics has gotten cult-like?
I definitely think so. It’s completely polarizing and in the political parties’ eyes, their leader can do no wrong and it’s the same as a cult. I think it’s important to question our leaders and it’s important to question everything that’s going on in the world right now and see if we can’t make it less corrupt and less polarizing. I don’t understand why we can’t have some kind of common sense.
And that’s something that Kai talks about a lot. The only thing I’ve ever to related to about Kai is [that] I don’t understand why we can’t just have common sense and compassion and love for one another. And figure out how to do things in a fair just way, so that everybody can have a fair shot and live their life the way they want to live it.
Have you gotten feedback from fans on the show? Do people think you’re dumping on Trump?
We just wrapped Friday so I’ve kind of been in a hole of darkness. I haven’t read or seen anything or experienced anything of the kind, so no.
Viewers saw Ally’s “liberal” neighbors donning sombreros and throwing Taco Bell coupons at her accusing her of racism. Is there extremism on both sides that can be dangerous?
Uh, is that really a thing that’s going on? People are wearing sombreros and throwing coupons at each other?
It happened on the "Neighbors from Hell" episode.
I don’t remember that. [Laughs]
Of all the cult leaders you play in this season of AHS, which is your favorite?
I really liked to play Andy Warhol. I thought that was really fun and such a great time period and the factory and everything about it was really fun and interesting.
How about your favorite character from any season of AHS?
This has been the most challenging season that I’ve done. Kai has been really taxing physically and emotionally on me, so it’s been the hardest one and the most challenging. It’s been the most fun.
What do you think our readers need to know?
I guess that cults are real, that they really do exist and it is a TV show, but it is sort of mirroring our time and mirroring the past of some of these cult leaders. I guess to just keep an eye out for it.
To me, the show is 10 percent about politics and 90 percent about cults. So I hope that people continue to watch and sort of see that it unfolds in that way. It is a reflection of our politics, the fear-based politics, but it is ultimately about Kai and his journey for world domination. So I hope that people watch it and enjoy it… or are scared by it. [Laughs]
American Horror Story: Cult airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.