Ryan Murphy promised the actors of American Horror Story that if they returned for season 2, they would be playing completely different roles. That was certainly the case for Dylan McDermott who made his debut on AHS: Asylum last night as deranged serial killer Johnny Thredson, aka Bloody Face, a stark change from his role as sex-addicted therapist Ben Harmon last season. EW talked EXCLUSIVELY to McDermott about the shocking role and what’s in store ahead.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this all work out?
DYLAN MCDERMOTT: I loved doing the show. It’s like being home for me. We talked about it I think early in the season. He [EP Ryan Murphy] called me over the summer and we were trying to figure out what was the best plan and in what capacity. I wasn’t sure myself and obviously he’s the master and the genius that figures this s— out. So the day the show premiered he called me and he explained it to me because I hadn’t read any of the scripts. He explained to me what my character was going to be and I was like, “Are you f—ing kidding me? I love this! I love this! It’s beyond!” To play the modern day Bloody Face and to have this whole back story of a guy who’s thrown away and aborted and still lived! It was just like, are you kidding me? It was music to my ears, maybe nobody else’s. But to me? I couldn’t believe it. It’s so twisted and dark and f—ed up. That’s why I’m on the show because I love stuff like that.
Did he tell you that you’d have to wear that mask?
Yeah, he broke it down. I knew exactly what I was getting into. With Ryan, he tells you what you’re getting into. It’s not like you don’t read it on the page that you’re crying and jerking off at the same time. I know what I’m getting into here!
I loved the opening sequence with all the homages.
I know there’s so many twists, obviously, with me being a therapist last year.
Are there a lot of tips of the hat to last year coming up?
Yeah, I tried to do that a couple of times. I don’t know if it will get into the show. But I did try and tip a little bit in a couple episodes just to sort of echo to the first season a little bit. Maybe three people will know that but I love that kind of thing.
Has it been tough playing such a creepy, disturbed guy?
He is. I think in the episodes that are following you’ll get a little more sympathy for him and you’ll understand him more than in the first episode. I think after that he softens up a little bit. You kind of see the torture a little more and are a little more sympathetic to him.
What’s more uncomfortable – Bloody Face’s mask or the Rubber Man suit?
Wow. I enjoyed the Rubber Man suit. It still hangs in my closet. I break it out every once in a while. The Bloody mask…you have the hair which kinda gets in your mouth and gets uncomfortable at times. It’s gruesome. It’s a gruesome, gruesome character. There’s no way of softening that. But like all of Ryan’s shows, there’s a reason for it. We uncover what those reasons are as we go.
Have you been able to see any of your old AHS cast members, like Evan Peters or Sarah Paulson, since you’re in the modern storyline?
Yeah, Sarah I’m going to see in this episode coming up. Zach, I did a scene with him. So yeah there will be sprinkles of it.
Were you surprised by fan reaction that you were returning?
It’s been amazing. We kind of live in a bubble. That’s what’s great about things like Twitter. Your fans come out and really support you. It’s amazing how people are genuinely excited for me to return tonight. I’ve never expected this in a million years.
Would you do a season 3?
Of course. I’m a fan of the show. I have a great time making this show. Whatever Ryan wants me to show, I mean I completely trust this guy. If there’s a part for me, then I’m there.
Did you watch Saturday Night Live this weekend? They did a very funny skit about a game show about you and Dermot Mulroney.
Oh God. Of course. They asked me to go but I was working on American Horror. If we were both there? The TV would have blown up! I thought it was hilarious. It was so funny.
So what’s next for you after AHS: Asylum finishes?
I have a movie called Olympus Has Fallen with Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Aaron Eckhart, and Gerard Butler. Behaving Badly with Selena Gomez. Oh man, it’s a really s— character I play. And then I’m going into two movies now starting in January/February after I finish American Horror.
‘American Horror Story’ scoop: Who’s back? Who’s pregnant? Who’s dying? 5 teases from the winter finale
Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’ production designer Mark Worthington on creepy Briarcliff Manor
‘American Horror Story’: Ryan Murphy on Ian McShane’s psycho Santa and the return of Pepper – EXCLUSIVE
Follow Tim on Twitter: @EWTimStack