Alexandra Breckenridge: 'American Horror Story' Will Be Nominated For 'A Few Emmys'
"American Horror Story" might just be the scariest television show you've seen yet. While creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk ("Glee," "Nip/Tuck") don't really offer anything original to the psycho-thriller genre -- haunted house, creepy neighbors, basement gremlins -- they do create a rather sexually-taunting story. At the forefront of all of the blood, sex and supernatural beings is actress Alexandra Breckenridge, who happens to believe that FX's new supernatural drama "will be nominated for a few Emmys next year."
Breckenridge takes on the role of Moira, which she shares with actress Frances Conroy. In the world of "American Horror Story," Moira the maid has two sides -- the saucy one that Ben (Dylan McDermott) sees, played by Breckenridge, and the one that everyone else sees, played by the mysterious Frances Conroy. Breckenridge's character is one of the more sexually explicit characters in "American Horror Story," as her main story line involves seducing sexually frustrated -- yet married -- Ben and well, pleasuring herself.
So how did Breckenridge, who's mostly known for her bubbly comedic roles ("Family Guy," "The Ex-List"), prepare for her stint as the devious Moira? Well, dying her blonde locks cherry red was a good start.
You make a such a great redhead. Were you apprehensive at first? Because red can be kind of tricky to pull off.
It was really shocking at first! Red can be a very restrictive hair color, whereas blondes can really be offered anything. But I've grown to really love it. You know, the hair makes it easier to play my character. It gets me into the right mindset and really gives off that vamp-y vibe.
Now, before you made the change, when you were still wholesome and blonde, what attracted you to the role of Moira?
Originally, I just auditioned for it, and I really responded to the role because she was the type of person that I've never played before. She's extremely sexual and a little devious as well, so that was something that I really wanted to explore as an actor. I actually hadn't read the script before I got the part. They were keeping everything secret.
She seems like one of the more mysterious characters, too. What more can you tell me about her?
It's particularly hard at this stage to talk about my character. She is a bit of a mystery. Frances Conroy and I obviously play the same person, the maid of the house. She plays the older version, and I play the younger version. Certain people see me, and then there are certain people that see her. It all takes place in present time, so it can get confusing, but that's what makes it interesting. You're not sure what's real or what's not or what's happening.
But the two sides you and Frances Conroy play couldn't be more different, right?
Well we are the same person, but I obviously play the younger version, and I think that people really tend to develop in different ways over time, so even though we play the character very different, we are the same person. There were a few scenes where we had to have similar mannerisms, but ultimately I was doing my own thing.
So we all know "American Horror Story" was influenced by some of the most iconic horror flicks, but are you a fan of horror films?
Yeah! I've been a huge fan of horror films since I was 8 years old. For some reason, my mother let me watch "The Shining" when I was a kid. I don't really know why she let me, but it was on television, I think, and I watched it. Ever since then, I've been hooked on horror movies.
Is "The Shining" your favorite horror film?
"The Shining" is definitely one of my favorites. I also love "Rosemary's Baby." "Don't Look Now" is pretty creepy too. It's not a super well-known horror movie, but it's pretty great. And then there's "Amityville Horror." It's funny that all of my favorite horror films were used as inspiration for Brad and Ryan for the show. The show, for me, combines a lot of those elements, so that makes me excited for what's to come.
This isn't your first time stepping into something a bit more supernatural. You also guest-starred on "True Blood" for a few episodes. Are you more interested in vamp-y, supernatural roles?
I like things that are dark, mainly because when you're watching something, you're watching it to experience something outside of your own reality. When you're watching a horror show, something that will never happen in real life, I find that so much more fascinating because all of those feelings that arise when you watch something like that, you're never going to feel in your real life. That's what I find so interesting about the genre.
From what I've seen, "American Horror Story" will definitely make people feel certain emotions...
I mean, it's hard because I've only seen the pilot... I work on the show, and I'm very desensitized because I watch a lot of horror, but I wish I didn't know what was going to happen because I want to be surprised. This is a show that I could totally see myself getting into, and I'm bummed that I know what's going to happen.
What was it like working with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk?
They're both extremely intelligent and professional. They know exactly what they're doing, and there's absolutely no hesitance about anything. Ryan has a very specific vision in mind. When you ask him a question, you get a very specific answer, and it's always great to work with people like that. Occasionally, you'll work with someone that doesn't know what they're doing, so it's always a pleasure to work with Ryan and Brad.
When you're not playing a creepy housekeeper, you also do a lot of voice work for "Family Guy," which is completely different experience from blood and vamps, right?
Oh, it's so much fun. You don't have to take yourself into a dark place at all! It's so easy, too. You take yourself into a recording booth for 15 minutes and then you're done. And Seth and I have been friends for the last six years since I started working on the show. We get along very well because his sense of humor is pretty close to my own. He's just a fun guy, and it's an amazing show to work on.
But for right now, it's all about playing a sexy maid on "American Horror Story."
Right, exactly. I've put a lot of energy into the show. Personally, I feel like it will be nominated for a few Emmys next year. Jessica Lange definitely will. I mean, she's so good, it's obscene. Working with her is terrifying and exciting at the same time. I have a few scenes with her and I would love to have more, but I'm just terrified of working with her at the same time. She's just amazing.
"American Horror Story" premieres Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 10PM ET on FX. If you can stomach it, check out the first five minutes of the series premiere below.