After his breakout turn as Dandy on “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” it would be tough to think that Finn Wittrock could match the crazy highest of that part. But after pulling double duty this year on “American Horror Story: Hotel,” audiences know he’s not a one trick pony. Finn spoke with us about what it’s like handling two characters, the challenges as an actor working on this show, and more. Here are some highlights.
On Performing “Into the Void”
Like all the other actors, Finn Wittrock only knows what the writers tell him with regards to the character, which in a sense forces them to be even more on their game performing into the void of character choices. “It’s a different mentality than most things. When you’re doing a movie or a play you know the end, so to not know, it’s a little scary. Generally you just make a big bold choice and just go with it.” The writers of the show are constantly watching the show and make sure to take the character interesting places based on what you’ve already done. He remarked that after his first few scenes of working he kind of had an idea who the character was. Ryan then came up to him and started talking about making sure to work in some “eyes at Liz (Denis O’Hare)” because their relationship would come to the fore. This type of work allows Finn as an actor to tap into the three-dimensionality of the character, breaking him out of his pre-conceived notions of who the character was, making them more open.
Playing Two Characters
Ryan told him early on that he was thinking of potentially having the actor play Rudolph Valentino and Wittrock immediately agreed, going so far as to send side by side photo comparisons of himself and the former star. “There is a logic to the same actor playing both parts because the Countess, Gaga’s character has been searching for her Valentino, and so every guy she meets has been a replacement for him. And when she finds Tristan, she’s found the closest possible match to him.” Of the challenges of playing two characters, on real and one fictional, he said both brought various difficulties. With a fictional character you don’t have the pressure of playing someone real, but you have to lean more on your imagine. As for playing a real character, Wittrock used the experience he gained on The Big Short for getting into the character of someone who is still around.
Finn also had a good laugh at the meme going around of every actor looking the same.
“The bathing in the blood was a lot easier than eating it,” Finn remarked at the crazy shenanigans. The toughest scene for him to shoot was when his character Tristan finds a man on Grindr and then the Countess and he proceed to devour him. The rig and technical aspects made the scene really hard to shoot.
Check out the full interview below to hear Finn chat about late night singing session with Gaga, his love for Denis O’Hare and more: