American Horror Story: Cult opened with President Donald Trump’s win on election night 2016. Show creator Ryan Murphy said the election would play a big role… but American Horror Story Season 7 is oh-so-much more and Evan Peters’ character Kai Anderson is about to get oh-so-much freakier.
Warning! American Horror Story: Cult Spoilers Ahead.
Kai Anderson is introduced to viewers as a Cheetos-faced, blue-haired Trump supporter stoking post-election fears. In the second episode, he fills a condom with urine and throws it at immigrant workers who then beat him up. Kai emerges as the victim, blaming immigrants for violence, just as Trump called Mexicans “criminals and rapists.”
Kai goes on to run for political office and to freak the shit out of Sarah Paulson’s character, Ally Mayfair-Richards.
Peters will play other Charles Manson-esque characters —David Koresh, Jim Jones and Andy Warhol —as the season progresses.
American Horror Story: Cult Season Preview
"For Evan, it's been a real and great challenge to work on the physicality of: How am I going to be Charles Manson, and how am I going to be [Marshall Applewhite]," Murphy said at a recent press event. "It's really pushed him, I think, to the limit. But he's really attacked it, as has Sarah. She and Evan have been friends for a long time, and they've been in the show since the beginning. And seeing those two get to go against each other has been a great reward."
According to Murphy, Peters prepared for his role by researching cults and the rise of fascism.
"Evan's character gets darker, and darker, and darker as he rises to power," he said. "So [the season] does go a little deeper and darker, but the comedy is always there."
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"Yes, the jumping‑off point is election night and the characters have very strong views about Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it really is not about them," Murphy said. "It really is about the cult of personality that can rise in a divisive society. That's what this show is about. And I hope that people can figure that out."
Murphy said the show isn’t an attack on Trump and once conservative viewers see what the season is all about, they’ll be able to enjoy having the pants scared off them.
Since the 2016 election of Trump, hate crime sharply rose and white supremacists have been feeling empowered enough to publicly rally. Exploring the personalities that rise to power to create cults, Murphy examines how the disenfranchised can take positions of power in a fractured society.
"There's something about this sense of free‑floating, general craziness and anxiety," Murphy said. "[Cult] takes place in suburban Michigan in a small town, a slice of suburban Americana, and yet you lay in this unbelievable craziness, which is played not only for fear — it's a very scary show — but it's also a very funny show, for me, in that it deals satirically with how unhinged and how crazy everybody is surrounding identity politics and all the kinds of stuff that's going through the culture right now."
This season will not feature supernatural elements.