Katharine Isabelle should be a hell of a lot more famous than she is, especially since she’s a scream queen that hasn’t really had to do that much screaming in order to be a queen in horror. For instance, Ginger Snaps, American Mary, and my resident cannibal TV addiction Hannibal. She almost always plays a woman that is devoutly fierce, no matter the obstacles. We need more Katharine Isabelles in horror. God bless you, Canada.
You make sure they deserve it, and don’t waste a minute of your time thinking about them after you’re done.
Entertainment Weekly: You play Elsa Mars, a German lady. And you’re sort of the owner of the freak show and it’s on its last legs.
Jessica Lange: Yeah, it’s kind of that thing of the end of one popular entertainment and the beginning of another. As Ryan likes to say, “The end of one freak show and the beginning of another.”
EW: And you arrive in this town and you discover conjoined twins Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson) and they become the new star of your show?
JL: Yeah, that was a way a lot of these people were found. They would find them in hospitals or jails or wherever and recruited. So that’s how Sarah is introduced into the story. I hear something about her, she’s in the hospital, and I go there.
EW: Is it a maternal relationship between Elsa and the twins?
JL: Well, maternal would be putting it very generously. My character is very manipulative. She understands what’s needed, and she provides it. However, the thing I want to be very clear in this is that my character Elsa really loves these people. She truly cares for them, in her own selfish, narcissistic way. But they mean a great deal to her. It’s not just exploitation. She’s tough, and she’s mean sometimes, and all of that, but she really does love them.
EW: Is she not as villainous as Fiona or Constance?
JL: I don’t see her as villainous. She’s delusional—let’s put it that way [laughs]. But it’s fun to play a delusional character. But she came out of the Weimar Republic, out of that just the s–tstorm between the two wars in Germany and was at one moment a very successful cabaret performer and then everything dissembled. And this is ultimately where she ended up: in a freak show, small town circuit in the south in the early ’50s. So it’s been a wild ride for Elsa. I don’t see her as villainous. I see her as delusional, as narcissistic, as ruthless in her ambition. But her ambition is all tied up in her delusion.
EW: I heard you get to sing again.
JL: Oh my God! Singing, yes! In the first four episodes, I sing three numbers. Which is nuts!
EW: How was that?
JL: Well, actually, it was great. Ryan is a little more than usual playing a little loose with time and genre. So we’ve got a couple really big production numbers that I think if they work are going to be very unique. (x)
You get me closer to God
I was told love should be unconditional. That’s the rule, everyone says so. But if love has no boundaries, no limits, no conditions, why should anyone try to do the right thing ever? If I know I am loved no matter what, where is the challenge?
I love One Direction fans. Y’all are thirsty as hell from the minute you wake up until the minute you fall asleep and I appreciate that. I appreciate y’all.