Emma Roberts may have risen to fame by starring in more family friendly fare like Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous and 2007’s Nancy Drew, but the twenty-two year old actress has effectively shed that skin with a bitchtastic turn as witch Madison Montgomery on FX’s American Horror Story: Coven. The seemingly self-involved starlet is may have met an early demise at the hands of Jessica Lange’s Fiona Goode, but Montgomery is back and bitchier than ever as she navigates her way through Ryan Murphy’s macabre witchcraft-infused world. GQ sat down with Roberts to discuss the series, Spalding sex, Madison haters, and if she’ll return for season four.
GQ: Most of your previous work was much tamer than this. Why did you decide to come back to TV now and how did you get involved with American Horror Story?
Emma Roberts: I’ve always loved TV. I love watching TV and I loved working on TV, even though it was ten years ago. I was always a fan of American Horror Story. The first season, I was literally glued to my TV every week. I had to watch it. I wouldn’t even DVR it. I had to go home and watch it live. I just fell in love with it and I kind of know Ryan [Murphy] through some family and friends, so I always running into him and I would say, “So when are you going to put me in something. I love all your shows. I love your work. You need to put me in something.” I think I just badgered him so much that he finally gave in. [Laughs] He called me up one day and said, “I have this role for you,” and he told me the role and – I’m not even kidding – I was silently screaming and jumping up and down, and then I was like, “Okay, that sounds cool,” trying to play it so cool. It was literally my dream role on my dream show and getting to work with people that I’ve been dying to work with, like Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates and Ryan Murphy. I just remember being like, “We need to say yes! Make it happen!” I needed it solidified because if it didn’t work out I was going to cry.
History has taught us that the transition from child star to adult actor is one of Hollywood’s toughest professional hurdles, but Emma Roberts is making that evolution look effortless with wonderfully complex roles in It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Scream 4, The Art of Getting By and Celeste & Jesse. Although it seems that those projects were simply set-ups for her greatest performance to date: as the wickedly wonderful Madison Montgomery on American Horror Story: Coven.
From her first vitriol-laced barb, it was clear that both the actress and her creation were not to be trifled with. Subsequent episodes have given Emma room to evolve Madison into more than your garden variety bitch as she’s slyly infused all of her most venomous moments with an unmistakable insecurity and breathed luxurious lethargy into Madison’s recent resurrection.
I caught up with Emma Roberts in anticipation of tonight’s mid-season finale (titled Head in honor of Madame LaLaurie’s decapitated dome) that kicks the coven vs. coven feud up a dozen notches. In addition to warning viewers they’ll soon be forced to pick a side, Emma opened up about her time in Ryan Murphy’s Coven, basking in the overwhelming online reaction to Madison and the shocking scene that never aired!
ETonline: Coven fans are pretty obsessed with Madison. What’s the reaction been like for you?
Emma Roberts: It’s been pretty amazing. I was so worried people would hate her too much, but I keep getting all these hilarious Tweets from people saying they love to hate her or declaring they’re on “Team Madison.” It’s really fun to play a character that people have such strong opinions about. I love reading Twitter to see what everyone thinks about the fashion and the hair and makeup and her one-liners. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m seriously going to be so sad when I don’t get to play her anymore.
Cordelia’s attacker is revealed. Fiona looks to form an alliance with Marie Laveau. Nan learns a disturbing truth about Luke’s past.
TV Series >> AHS: Coven >> 03.09 – Head – stills
Below are captures of Emma from last night’s American Horror Story: Coven entitled The Sacred Taking! Below is a preview of next weeks episode!
From co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the FX series American Horror Story uses a unique and compelling approach to television, with a different setting, different characters and a rotating cast of actors for each season. For Season 3, American Horror Story: Coven tells the secret history of witches and witchcraft in America, with a cast of talented actresses that includes Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Patti LuPone, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe, Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe and now even Stevie Nicks.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Emma Roberts (who plays out-of-control Hollywood starlet and resident bitch Madison Montgomery) talked about how she came to be a part of Coven, that she was initially nervous about the subject matter, how much fun it is to play a bitch, how far ahead she was made aware of her character’s story arc, the fantastic clothes and shoes she gets to wear, how great it is to work with all of these talented actresses, just how much crazier things can get (they actually cut out a sex scene from Episode 7), the fan reaction she gets from people when she’s out, and how she’d love to return for Season 4. She also talked about how she hopes to continue to find a balance between roles in comedy and drama, and how it’s her dream to play a Margot Tenenbaum (from The Royal Tenenbaums) type of character. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: Ryan Murphy has said that he wanted you to be on the show for awhile, and then this character came up and he thought it was perfect for you. Had you been talking to him about doing the show?
EMMA ROBERTS: I’d told him that I wanted to be on the show since the first season ‘cause I was obsessed. Anytime I’d run into him anywhere, ‘cause we’re kind of friendly, I’d be like, “When are you gonna put me on American Horror Story?” And he randomly just called me, one day. It was so surreal. I got a call saying, “Ryan wants you to be on the show, and he’s about to call you.” And he called me and I tried to be cool, but I was jumping around my house like, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
When you were told about what the season would be and who the character would be that you’d be playing, what was your initial reaction?
ROBERTS: When I heard it was going to be Coven, I was like, “I’m so happy I’m on this season ‘cause if I wasn’t and I was watching it, I would be so mad.” When I was younger, I loved all those witch movies, like The Craft and The Witches and The Witches of Eastwick. Even Sabrina the Teenage Witch was what I grew up on. There’s just something so fascinating about witches, and I think it hasn’t been done, in a very, very long time. It’s just so cool. When we do our witch stuff, obviously we don’t see it because it’s special effects. I love watching the shows because I look really cool.