Sarah Paulson Says She Hated 'American Horror Story: Roanoke'

The actor now wishes she'd asked "AHS" co-creator Ryan Murphy to sit out the poorly reviewed season, which left her "so underwhelmed."

Seems just about everyone has their favorite (and least favorite) season of “American Horror Story” ― including one of the series’ most indelible stars, Sarah Paulson.

Appearing on this week’s episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, Paulson reflected on her storied stage and screen career, as well as her professional relationship with writer and producer Ryan Murphy.

The actor first worked with Murphy in a 2004 episode of “Nip/Tuck” and has gone on to star in many of his most acclaimed projects, including “Ratched,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” and, of course, seven seasons of “American Horror Story.”

Though Paulson praised the majority of her collaborations with Murphy, she said the sixth season of “American Horror Story,” titled “Roanoke,” left her “underwhelmed.”

“I just don’t care about this season at all,” she told host Scott Feinberg. “I know people will get mad at me for saying it. To me, this was post-having played Marcia [Clark, on ‘American Crime Story’]. It was what I went to do right after finishing Marcia and I was so underwhelmed by the whole experience.”

Sarah Paulson (left) and Ryan Murphy.
Sarah Paulson (left) and Ryan Murphy.
Bruce Glikas via Getty Images

The actor went on to note that she felt “trapped by my responsibility and my contractual obligation to do ‘American Horror Story.’” But her performance on “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” for which she won both an Emmy and Golden Globe, made her yearn for a new challenge.

“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,” she said “As much as [‘American Horror Story’] is 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.’”

“Roanoke,” which aired in 2016, follows a young couple (played by Lily Rabe and André Holland) who relocate from Los Angeles to a haunted house in North Carolina. Paulson appeared in the second half of the series as an actor portraying Rabe’s character in a made-for-TV series that depicts the couple’s experiences.

Turns out, that mid-season meta twist turned out to be confusing for viewers and critics alike, and “Roanoke” is routinely listed as among the worst installments of “American Horror Story.”

And true to form, Paulson ― who returns to Murphy’s orbit once again this summer in “American Horror Story: Double Feature” ― had nicer things to say about her roles on other “AHS” seasons, including “Asylum” and Coven.”

Check out the full “Awards Chatter” interview with Sarah Paulson here.

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