Ryan Murphy confirmed today what’s been out there on Reddit: That Lena Dunham will play Valerie Solanas, the woman who attempted to assassinate Andy Warhol, on American Horror Story: Cult. And Evan Peters will be portraying various cult leaders who people began to follow in disenfranchised times: a local Michigan suburban leader, Charles Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones and Warhol.
In a Fox lot Q&A for Season 7 with FX CEO John Landgraf, Murphy said, “We examine how these people rise to power — they’re idiots.” Dunham’s character would appear in Episode 7, “Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag.”
“It’s about female rage and that’s in the country now. Solanas wrote the Scum Manifesto. She told all women to kill men, and it was their only way to rise to power,” said the AHS co-creator.
Dunham will play Solanas in flashbacks.
Journalists were treated to a screening of the first three episodes of Season 7 this afternoon. Murphy said over the past three years he was trying to figure out a season that would revolve around Manson, but couldn’t crack it. By every October, he needs to lock down his theme so he can set his cast. At that time a year ago, the writers room was constantly abuzz about the election, and that provided a perfect window into examining the cult of personality, and how it takes advantaged of people at broken times. Initially, the opening of Season 7 would center around Hillary Clinton winning, but the same principles and themes the season would have still prevailed given American’s division.
“Everyone is still at each other’s throats,” said Murphy about the anxiety which has existed ever since Trump won back in November. Hence, Sidney Lumet’s Network was a big influence for Murphy this season. “That movie captured how everyone was losing their sh*t at the time and no matter if you’re Democrat or Republican, everyone is still losing their sh*t,” added the AHS co-creator.
But again per Murphy, “It’s not about Trump and Clinton (this season). It’s about somebody who put their finger up to the wind and rose up in power and used people’s vulnerabilities, and they feel the world is on fire.”
Asked by a reporter what his response would be if Trump tweeted against Season 7 of AHS given its socio-political underpinnings, Murphy responded, “I would hope that he has more important things to do.”
“He’s obsessed about the entertainment industry. The only thing I can do is be in charge of my side of the street,” said Murphy. “The work stands for itself.”