Below, McDermott opens up about playing modern-day Bloody Face, the infamous cry-bating scene from "American Horror Story's" first season, Thredson's skin-covered house (where things will get "more creepy than you could imagine"), Dermot Mulroney, "Philly Justice" and more!
What was your reaction when Ryan asked you to play modern-day Bloody Face?
You know, we had talked in the summer about me coming back in some capacity. I wasn't sure which. And then the day the show premiered, he called me and explained to me this whole Bloody Face thing because I wasn't up to snuff on any of it. I was just instantly fascinated with the idea of me being the son of this serial killer who raped my mother and she tried to get rid of me and all of sudden, I'm this person that's almost a thing that's thrown away and in search of his mother. I was instantly on board for that.
Had the possibility of you playing any other characters come up?
No. He was searching for something for me. But then, when this guy came up, in the writer's room they put a picture of me up with Zach and Sarah to see if I could be their son and I guess it worked out.
Early on, some people guessed that modern-day Bloody Face would be the spawn of Thredson and Lana. Was it hard for you to keep it a secret?
I mean, Ryan Murphy had told people that I was Bloody Face in one interview with EW and so I tweeted that I was modern-day Bloody Face. But he asked me not to talk about that aspect of it with my parents so I honored that.
Was it really you in the first couple episodes with Jenna Dewan Tatum and Adam Levine?
No. I guess they hadn't cast anyone yet.
But it was you on the phone talking to the police and that's when people really started to figure it out.
Yeah, they knew it was me. I wasn't foolin' anybody.
The opening scene with modern-day Bloody Face, who goes by Johnny Morgan, in last night's episode was written before you were cast. But it had a couple nods to Ben Harmon so those must've been added after you signed on.
I don't know. I think it was sort of a happy coincidence in many ways -- the idea of me being in a therapist's office. I don't know how planned out it was because the office looked similar to my office [in Season 1] and me being the patient and not the doctor. You could write a thesis about that scene 'cause there's a lot of things going on in it.
The masturbation line was a funny throwback to the scene we all have scarred in our minds from Season 1.
Yes, of course. [Laughs.] The cry-bating.
Speaking of that, will you have any scenes with Frances Conroy?
I don't unfortunately. I love her. The Angel of Death doesn't visit me for some reason.
You mentioned to EW that you'll have a scene with Sarah and a scene with Zach. How is that possible?
Without giving anything away, I will tell you that it's deeply fascinating stuff because it's psychological. There's a reason why he's a serial killer -- not to justify him by any means -- but there's a reason he ended up the way he did and he's after answers. He wants to know why he was thrown away. He just can't wrap his head around why someone would do that, why somebody would abandon him in such a horrible way so those questions are going to be answered for sure.
Will we also find out how he realized who his parents were?
Yeah, we do. That's coming up.
Johnny mentioned that in search of some answers, he's living in Thredson's very bizarre house. Will we see what he's up to there?
Oh god. I don't really want to see those creepy nipple lampshades.
I know, right? And believe me, there's a scene coming in that house that's more creepy than you could imagine. [Laughs.] This post-modern, very clean, strange house, there's a creep factor for sure. But he wanted to be there to be close to his dad.
Some viewers noticed Johnny had a bit of a likeness to Dexter Morgan on "Dexter" and his last name is Morgan. Was there anything to that?
It may have been a coincidence. I don't know. He's just using an alias for a minute.
Is there anyone you got to work with on "Asylum" that you didn't have many scenes with in "American Horror Story's" first season?
I have a big scene with Sarah coming next week so I'm excited to work with her 'cause I think she's doing terrific work.
So you have been watching?
Yeah! If I wasn't on the show I'd still be a fan. I love the show. It's crazy. [Laughs.]
Would you come back for Season 3 of "American Horror Story"?
Yeah. It's hard to find work as compelling as this. Most television, you're walking around with a pair of tweezers and a flashlight looking for evidence so when you get to play interesting characters like this, it's really hard to find.
I know Season 3 is still in its fledgling stages, but if it were up to you, what kind of character would you play next season?
You know what? I feel like Ryan knows me very well and he knows how to create characters for me so I really leave it up to him. I mean, to play Ben Harmon and then Johny Thredson the next year, they couldn't be more polar opposites. For Season 3, he's going to blow my mind with another character, I'm sure.
You tweeted that you saw the Dylan McDermott/Dermot Mulroney "Saturday Night Live" skit from this past weekend.
Of course! How could I miss that?
Is that a common thing for people to confuse you for Dermot Mulroney?
I think it's the name. I don't think it's because we look alike. I think because the syllables in the name are so similar, if you break it down to Dur-mot Mul-rone-y and Dyl-an Mc-Der-mott. You know what I mean? They are similar names and that's how you get the confusion and Derbal McDillet. I tweeted that -- "I am Derbal McDillet" -- and I've never had so many retweets in my life!
You couldn't be on "SNL" because of "American Horror Story," right?
They asked me to come. I'm not ever sure what they had in store for me, maybe the two of us on stage together. I think it worked out for the best. I think it was very funny and I really enjoyed it.
Have you met Dermot?
Oh yeah. Definitely over the years. Totally.
When will we see "Philly Justice"?
I'm so excited to see it. I'm waiting for it to come out. I don't know where the hell it is. We filmed it a while back. "Parks and Recreation" is a show that's so fun to be on, I can't even tell you. I had a blast doing it with them. It's really a fictional pilot from the '80s, sort of like "The Practice." That's why I wanted to do it because it's kind of like an homage to "The Practice" in many ways, if "The Practice" went off the rails. But it's really a failed pilot called "Philly Justice" and I'm sort of like this sleazy lawyer who's coming on to everybody and weird and strange and the rest of the "Parks and Recreation" cast are filming the pilot. I replace Paul Rudd. He's just not making it and they bring me in to replace him. [Laughs.]
Well, we're excited to see it and the rest of "American Horror Story."
Yeah, we're going to unveil Johnny a little bit more, get under his skin. No pun intended.
"American Horror Story: Asylum" airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on FX.