American Horror Story Season 1 star Dylan McDermott returned to the series in a big way on last week's episode of AHS: Asylum, popping up in the present day as Johnny Thredson, the son of Zachary Quinto's Dr. Oliver Thredson a.k.a. Bloody Face. Considering that pedigree, you can expect the actor to be a major part of Asylum's endgame when the show returns for its final four episodes of the season on January 2, 2013. McDermott spoke with reporters after his first episode aired to discuss why he came back and what kind of carnage to expect from the Son of Bloody Face.
On How He Came Back
Ryan [Murphy] and I talked in the summer and he said he was looking for something for me. I had wanted to come back, but we weren't sure in what capacity. Then the day the premiere aired, he called me and said he wanted me to come back as Johnny Thredson, the son of "Bloody Face," -- the modern-day "Bloody Face." I hadn't read any of the scripts, so I knew nothing about the story for Season 2. It was sort of a blind call. When he told me the story, I was just flabbergasted and fascinated by the character. He was so different from Ben Harmon. And I thought that coming back to the same show with a different character was a great way to make television and completely different from anything you see on TV.
On How He and Murphy Developed the Character
Ryan's really the one who designed the character, but we talked at length on how he would look and what we wanted. We came up with Johnny's mullet and the tattoos and how he's really a blue collar guy as opposed to a psychiatrist like Ben. We were both looking to do something radically different than we had last season and that's been fun to play, for me, personally -- the idea of diving into his past and creating this guy, this sort of wounded person who is just lashing out at the world. I refer to both of my characters from American Horror Story as twin brothers with a different father.
On What to Expect for Johnny's Future
Without giving anything away, we're going to peek into his psychological world in the next three episodes and then we're going to have closure with his character in the season finale. He's not just a serial killer and out there on the run for no reason. I think he just really suffers from an enormous amount of abuse and there's a reason he's doing the things he's doing, even though that's not justified. I think that audiences will be satisfied in terms of what happens in the final run of episodes. You'll have closure with all the characters. It's hard to wrap up the season in one show, but having read the finale and now performing it, I think that you're going to be satisfied for sure. And if Ryan asks me to come back next year, of course; I really trust him and he has a great instinct with me. If I wasn't on this show, I'd be watching it, so I'm a fan of AHS as much as any actor on the show.
On the Strangest Thing He's Had to Do in Service of the Show
Well, if you've watched all the episodes from Season 1, you know that I've had to do some strange things. But that was part of the ride when I talked to Ryan about this show in the beginning. Whether it's walking around naked or playing a serial killer, it's all part of doing American Horror Story -- it's what comes with the dinner. You better not have any fears walking into this show, because all your personal things are public. So I think that you really have to be not too shy to do a show like this, let me put it that way.
On his Favorite Kinds of Horror Movies
I like Roman Polanski's stuff more than anything else. Rosemary's Baby is still one of my favorite movies of all time. The idea of her being impregnated with the devil and all that stuff is just like so frightening and being in New York at The Dakota... it's so scary. I'm going to work on a movie in February called Mercy from Jason and it has a similar theme to Rosemary's Baby. So I'm attracted to that in a strange way -- the concept of a demon baby, like we had in the first season of AHS. I don't think you could remake Rosemary's Baby, though. Some movies should just be left alone and that's one of them.
On Why the Show is a Hit With Viewers...
It's a funny thing. I think that people -- as much as they deny it -- want to be scared. It's sort of a strange phenomenon, really. Why people want to be scared when there is so much violence and craziness in the world. It's a conundrum to me -- it's hard to explain. It's an unconscious thing, really, why people like it so much.
...But Less So With Critics and Awards Voters
I think that sometimes people are afraid of the genre and maybe they'll judge it [based on that]. It's sort of like The Walking Dead; I think both shows deserve to have more nominations and deserve to be up for more awards and somehow I think the genre maybe gets in the way of that -- that people dismiss it a little bit more because of the genre. But if you look at American Horror Story and you look at The Walking Dead, they fit the notion of what a drama should be. These are groundbreaking shows. I think AHS is ahead of its time and sometimes when things are ahead of their time, people don't always get it in the moment. Obviously, Jessica is always doing incredible work. It never ceases to amaze me, the performance she turns in week in and week out. But I also think that Sarah Paulson is doing terrific work, as well as Zachary Quinto and Evan Peters. I mean this season, they're all doing remarkable work on a very high level. Ryan, obviously, is casting some of the best actors in the world to be on this show and there's a reason for it.
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