We Love TV!
This is just an unofficial fan page, we have no connection
to any shows or networks.
Please click here to vote for our site!
Interview with Zachary Quinto of
"American Horror Story: Asylum" on FX
FX NETWORK: American Horror Story: Asylum
November 15, 2012/1:00 p.m. PST
Matthew Mitchell, Media Relations
Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum, ďDr. Oliver
Moderator Welcome to the American Horror Story: Asylum
Conference call. At this time, all participants are in a
listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and
answer session and instructions will be given at that time.
As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to our host,
M. Mitchell Hi everyone. Thanks for joining the call this
afternoon with Zach Quinto for American Horror Story:
Asylum. Mr. Quinto plays ďDr. Oliver Thredson,Ē which after
last night you guys now realize he plays ďBloody Face.Ē Due
to the popularity for this call, we are going to ask that
you guys only ask one question. If you have a follow-up,
please hang up and weíll re-enter the queue. Not hang up,
but weíll come back to you at a later point; but we want to
try and get through as many questions as possible.
So at this point, weíre going to get started. Any questions
after the call, you can reach me at 310-369-7110. Thanks
Moderator Our first question is from Erin Willard with
E. Willard So you tweeted last night and now everyone knows.
When did you know? Did you know from the beginning? If you
did, did that inform your performance at all?
Z. Quinto Yes, I knew from the very beginning. It was part
of the conversation that I had with Ryan [Murphy] about me
coming back to the second installment of the show, in the
first place. It very much informed the character that I was
building from the beginning.
As a result, I felt like my responsibility became to create
a character that people could trust, or at least trust
initially, and have some hope that perhaps he is actually
the one voice of reason and sanity within this chaotic
world. So it was actually more exciting for me to know from
the beginning. It gave me more to play with and more to hold
back and more secrets to keep.
Moderator Our next question is from Rob Owens with the
R. Owens I wanted to ask you about playing this character. I
think you sort of started down that path in your answer to
the first question, but how this guy was different
fromÖbecause Iím sure you donít want to repeat yourself and
weíve only seen a little bit of his evil thus faróbut is
that something you were concerned with those comparisons?
What got you hooked on really wanting to play this part?
Z. Quinto I think any time an actor revisits territory that
theyíve been in before, it can be a source of trepidation,
as it was for me. But part of the reason that I loved what
the opportunity stood for was that I got to know, going in,
I got to really build something. With Heroes, that character
was built before I was ever attached to it. There were eight
episodes of anticipation that were built before you met
ďGabriel GrayĒ in Heroes, but I had no participation in
that. I had no opportunity to sort ofóit was just the
character spoken about.
So for me, it was really exciting to get to go in and having
all the information, and actually be that part of the
process of creating a character. That, to me, was a
difference. That, to me, was something that I thought, yes,
that makes sense, and it also has a similar structure to the
journey that I had on Heroes, at least the introduction or
the reveal, as they say; which proved very effective in that
scenario and I felt I could really also serve this story in
this particular innovation as well.
So that, and that itís just more rooted in character and
relationship, and less rooted in the sort of peripheral
elements like superpowers. I liked that this was grounded
and real. Itís something that Iím always drawn to is that
kind of direction. So I felt like it wasóand it wasnítóitís
not a six-year commitment as it could be with another show.
Itís self-contained and it was an immersion that Iím not
going to be repeating or carrying on for an extended period
of time. It was something I got to go do and contribute and
benefit and grow and learn, and then be on to other creative
pursuits and that, I think, is an environment in which I
thrive. So I was really excited about all those elements.
Moderator The next question is from Jerry Nunn with the
Windy City Times.
J. Nunn My question is about the scene when you did the
aversion therapy with her and tried to change her. What are
your thoughts on that? I mean a lot of people think they can
change us that way, me being gay myself. So what did you
think of it?
Z. Quinto I mean I think the scene was very reflective of a
pervasive mentality of the time. As unsettling as it is, I
think it was powerful to revisit it and to present an
audience with a reflection of that kind of really abhorrent
thinking. Obviously, weíve come a long ways since then and
thatís great. Thereís so much progress made and more work to
So I think itís always good when youíre able to, as an
actor, allow your work to be some kind of a conduit for a
social discourse. I think an examination of where we are as
a society and I think this season of the show, this
iteration of Ö installment, I believe we call them. This
installment of the show is really doing that in a lot of
powerful ways, that being one of many. So another reason why
Iím grateful to be a part of this kind of storytelling and
this kind of environment.
Moderator The next question is from Matt Mitovich with
M. Mitovich Now that we know ďThredsonísĒ very dark, very
dirty little secret, are we going to get into the psychosis
behind this psycho here and find out why heís doing this,
because he seems to be doing a little specific with ďLanaĒ
and her girlfriend?
Z. Quinto Yes, next weekís show is called ďThe Origins of
MonstrosityĒ and so it really dives into a lot of the roots
of the characters in this world in Asylum. So yes, a lot of
things will become clearer and probably even more disturbing
in the next couple of weeks.
Moderator Breeanna Hare with CNN.com.
B. Hare So Iíve heard that you and Sarah Paulson are pretty
close. You have a good friendship. Iím curious how that
dynamic impacts your themes, especially considering, like
you said, things are only going to get darker from here.
Z. Quinto Well I especially have a respect for Sarah as an
actress, but itís a rare and unique opportunity to show up
to work with a really good friend. Oftentimes, friendships
are formed on set and through these kinds of experiences
working together in such intimate and unusual ways, but itís
even a richer experience when you already have that
foundation of friendship. So thereís an implicit trust and
sensitivity to each other and our needs and our instincts
and our individual process. Itís really a remarkable gift in
a lot of ways. So we also are able to have more fun, I
think, and laugh at a situation a little bit more.
Thereís less awkwardness to cut through. Yes, so I think it
strengthens the connection that the characters share,
whether itís friendship or torture or hostage, whatever it
may be, but weíre reallyóI love going to work anyway, no
matter who Iím working with, but in particular with Sarah,
itís beenóand I think sheís doing such wonderful work on the
show that I also just love watching her character and the
journey that sheís taking. Sheís gone to so many extreme and
challenging emotional places, and done it so beautifully and
dynamically. I just think her work is so incredible, so itís
been a joy for me, really, this whole experience.
Moderator The next question is from Fred Topel with
F. Topel What are you watching on television right now?
Z. Quinto Iíve been watching Homeland pretty religiously.
Iím a pretty giant fan of that show. I mean, itís really
compelling and so well executed, so I like Homeland. Itís
hard to have time to, but the good news is that itís so Ö
television. Itís like Iím so excited for House of Cards to
come onto Netflix.
On February 1st, all of those episodes are being released at
the same time. I guess the whole season on T.V. and created
and given to an audience. Itís the way in which weíre
watching programming is so interesting to me. So, yes, I
like to watch Homeland like on demand, if I miss it on a
Sunday night or something.
What else? Iíve been known to watch an episode or two of The
Voice, I will say that. I think itís, of that kind of
programming, I think itís really innovative and unique and
well done. I think the performersóI donít knowóI find
thereís an element of authenticity to that show that I
really respond to and I very rarely respond to any kind of
reality programming. So if Iím going to watch, it has to be
people doing something that I could never do and obviously,
each one of those singers that holds true for. Iíve watched
a couple episodes of that lately.
Iíve watched Boss, which I think is also really great
television and I hope more people watch it or can see it.
Itís like that stuff is so accessible. So thatís kind of
about it. I mean, it ebbs and flows in terms of my
availability for it.
Moderator Our next question is from Matt Fowler with IGN.
M. Fowler Everything about ďOliverĒ that weíve seen so
farówas everything a ruse? Or is there a side of him that
deeply believes in the psychiatry part? Because one of the
last things we saw him do before the big reveal was tell
ďSister JudeĒ that ďCharlotteĒ had post-partum depression
and recommended she shouldnít go home; which was a smart
move on his part. But again, was it all just blending in or
does he believe in that?
Z. Quinto I think he definitely believes in it. I think part
of being a psychopath is an ability to dissociate from one
reality and create another one completely. I think he does
that expertly. I think his level of training, medical
training and intuition instinctóI think heís very skilled.
I mean, thatís what allows him to get away with it as long
as he does. So yes, I think he does believe in it, which is
kind of another layer of tragedy of the character is that he
could have been something else. He could have made a more
significantly positive contribution had he only rechanneled
his traumas, his energy.
You guys, if you want to hold on one quick second before I
take the next question. Iíll be right back. One second, Iím
sorry for this. Sorry about that, thank you.
Moderator The next question is from Ernie Estrella with
E. Estrella I want to ask you about approaching Season 2 as
more of a threat as opposed to Season 1 where youíre playing
victim. Was there any kind of difference there? Did you kind
of maybe go into a different method from one season to the
Z. Quinto Yes, I mean there are different styles. I feel
like the story last year was just told in a different style.
This year is a period piece and there are other
considerations that go along with that, just in terms of
characterization I think. I donít know how much it has to do
with like being the antagonist in a lair, the sort of threat
this year myself rather than the victim. I mean, thatís all
There are still a lot of psychological manipulations going
on from one end that makes it a little bit more veiled, or
always holding something back this year. But thatís just all
fun. I donít really think of it in terms ofóI just think of
it in terms of whoís the person, whatís driving the person.
Obviously, those motivations are very different for ďChadĒ
than they are for ďThredson.Ē
Moderator The next question is from Lesley Goldberg with
L. Goldberg What can you say about the victims that heís
targeting? Obviously, theyíre all women. What do they all
have in common and what is it about them that make them his
targets? The last part is any interest in returning for
Z. Quinto So for the first part of that question; youíll
find out much more about that in the coming weeks, so I
wonít spoil it by being too specific. But it all traces back
to one source of trauma that then sort of branches out to
include all of these unfortunate women.
I just read today that the show got picked up for a third
installment, so thatís very exciting. Iím so glad itís doing
well and people are really responding to it and FX has been
really great and so supportive and, I think, innovative in
the stuff that theyíre doing. So itís great to work there
and be a part of it. I havenít had any conversations with
Ryan about what heís thinking for the third season, so I
have no idea.
I love my job and I love the people that I do it with and I
always want that to be the case. So I know he has plans and
if they involve me, Iím sure Iíll have a call at some point;
but I donít know anything about it. Iím just focused on
getting through the rest of this season and moving onto the
next phase of stuff that I have lined up.
Moderator The next question is from Monique Jones with TV
M. Jones Iím a big fan, but let me know if I answer the
question before I waste everybodyís time. What did you think
of the fan reaction to the big reveal? Because I saw that
you tweeted about it on Twitter, and I kind of just blew up.
Z. Quinto Oh, I mean at least the things that Iíve scrolled
through seem supportive and excited about the direction that
the show is going in. So Iím sure Iím more likely to sort of
have those people reaching out to me than people who arenít
excited about it, which is sort of the nature of Twitter in
the end, isnít it. But, yes, I donít know. I hope people are
into it and on board for where it goes from here.
Moderator The next question is from Jen Chaney with
J. Chaney So we have seen ďBloody FaceĒ in the future or
sort of present day scenes. Iím wonderingóI donít know to
the extent you can speak to this, but will we find out
whether present day ďBloody FaceĒ is also ďThredsonĒ?
Z. Quinto Wouldnít that be cool? Yes, youíll find all that
out; youíll find all that out. Everything is going toóIíve
just read the next episode last night. It was pretty freaky
and cool. I mean itís really driving to a point very, very
well. The storytelling structure of Asylum I think is really
going to pay off in a really big way. So I think all of the
questions that people have, and that the episodes that are
airing right now are generating, will definitely be
answered. Thatís my instinct, at least, having read up
through almost the end now.
Moderator The next question is from Jessica Dwyer with
Horror Hound Magazine.
J. Dwyer I wanted to ask about was your decision to do this
series based on the fact that itís not actually American
horror, so much as it focuses on more modern horrors in the
world right now. I really like that about it and itís still
Z. Quinto I do think itís mostly uniquely American. I think
in the way that itís structured in the certain instances
where itís imaged to stories that have come before it, and
also in what itís looking at. The sort of Catholic
institutions in this country, in particular, and the social
history of racism and homophobia, and sanity, psychiatry,
the idea of how to treat people who are mentally ill. I
mean, I think those are all very American ideas and concepts
and I think the way in which we dive into them is also
really American in the style of storytelling.
I thought Episode 5, the one that just aired, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
directed and I thought did an incredible job. I mean, it was
like I was so inspired by his direction and the camera work.
It felt like such a wonderfully composed episode. I think
that is really somehow reflective of America now, in the
modern world, and also where weíve come from and thatís what
excites me about the kind of show that weíre making as well.
Moderator Our next question is from Adam Lawton with
A. Lawton I wanted to ask, with you being involved with
Season 1 of American Horror Story; did Brad [Falchuk] and
the guys allow you to provide input into your new character
in Season 2?
Z. Quinto Yes, I had a few conversations with Ryan and Brad
before we started. Ryan and I had a couple of connections
about what he was thinking and I had some questions and had
a chance to contribute to what I would like to see. But once
they got going, itís like their engines just drive them and
all of us forward in such surprising and unexpected ways, so
the vast majority of that comes from them and actually bring
it to life. Thatís how I see it.
Moderator The next question comes from AJ Grillo with
A. Grillo Youíve played some very different characters. ďSylarĒ;
there was a lot more to ďSylarĒ than met the eye. You played
an iconic ďSpockĒ and now youíre playing a psychotic serial
killer psychiatrist. What was your favorite and most fun to
Z. Quinto Thatís a good question. I mean, I feel like each
one of those experiences was so profound and unique and my
last side of six years has been just full of growth and
creative fulfillment. I donít know. Itís hard to sort of
narrow it down one, but my favorite, I feel like they are
accumulative in a lot of ways. As far as the T.V. aspect of
it goes, I would say that I feel more settled as Iím getting
older and sort of like my experience of things feels kind of
So ďThredsonĒ has been very satisfying to me in that regard.
I just feel like Iíve been carrying more of my experience
with me into my work and as I get older, that deepens
naturally. So thatís kind of cool, but I just like to do
good work, or try to do good work with good people and Iíve
been really so lucky in that regard. As long as I continue,
thatís all I could ask really.
Moderator The next question is from Suzanne Lanoue with The
S. Lanoue I was wondering when youíre recognized by people
on the street or wherever, is it usually because of Star
Trek or Heroes, or this show, or what do you think?
Z. Quinto Well as itís gotten more frequent like over the
years, I mean the good news itís kind of like for maybe more
than one thing now. Or like people that just sort of know
me, but I donít know. I donít reallyóI just try to meet
people where theyíre coming from. If itís about a particular
project then I talk about that. If itís about something more
general, like support of the president or other ways in
which they might know me, then I talk about that. But I
donít really keep track of what itís of; I donít tally it up
Moderator The next question is from Alicia Lutes with
A. Lutes Iíll just get right into the question. We have seen
your character sort of become a big focal point with this
big turnaround with ďBloody Face,Ē but what are your other
favorite storylines, outside of your own, on the show that
you really are excited for people to find out more about?
Z. Quinto I think that the ďKitĒ storylineóI really love
also watchingÖEvan [Peters] I think is fantastic. So I
really love that; I really love what Lily [Rabe] is doing,
now that sheís got the devil inside. I think thatís just
such a delicious kind ofósheís doing such great stuff with
that. Thatís really fun for me to watch and I canít take my
eyes off Jessica Lange. I just think sheís so committed to
just her ferocity of instinct. Sheís just likeóitís so
riveting and inspiring at the same time.
So I love working with these people. I wish I had more to do
with James Cromwell. I have never really crossed paths like
the doctor in the asylum, but maybe thereís something to
look forward to there. Weíll have to wait and see.
Moderator The next question is from Earl Dittman with
Wireless & Digital.
E. Dittman Before I launch into my question, I have to say
this real quick before I go to my question. You were talking
earlier about how the show is breaking down barriers and
moving things forward ahead of the gays and stuff like that,
I have to say you are very much a spearhead in doing this. I
have to congratulate you in you being so open and honest and
everything else. I think youíre moving a lot of stuff ahead
by just saying what you say and doing what you do, and I
canít congratulate you enough about it.
Z. Quinto Well man, thatís very sweet of you to say. I
appreciate that. Thank you.
Moderator The next question is from Erin Willard with
E. Willard Hi, Iíve got anotheró
Z. Quinto Ö that guyís question Ö.
E. Willard He never got his question in; hopefully he can
get right back in again. So these thoughts for the next
episode look disturbingly intriguing and may make all the
difference in the world. It has to go on a t-shirt Iím sure,
at some point, because it was awesome.
The way you delivered the line was perfect, but it looks
like your character might be getting a little more physical.
Like there might be some more physical challenges, like in
church kind of blocking issues and such. Has it been
challenging in any way in that regard and also, anything
thing that you can say along those lines about the actual
ďBloody FaceĒ mask, which was so revolting?
Z. Quinto Well, I think itís an interesting point you bring
up, in terms of the physicality of a show like this and when
you look at it, a lot of us have had to go through some
pretty intense physical experiences, whether itís ChloŽ [Sevigny]ís
character, her legs being removed and ChloŽ having to embody
that. Or Sarah Paulsen having to endure the physicality
ofóher character has electroshock therapy. Or any of the
people who have been murdered or attacked or killed, itís
like we all have the capacity to understand the difference
between, so this isnít reality in the stories that weíre
telling in the make-believe, pretend world that we live in
when we go to work every day.
But our bodies arenít so discerning and when you put them
through such intense, relentless, overwhelming stimulation;
it can have an effect, certainly, physically. I mean, weíve
been taking care of our bodies and making sure that weíre
doing what we need to do to get body work and exercise. I
think thatís an important element of being an actor on any
level, so other than that, just making sure that weíre able
to shake it off.
I never had trouble, really, shaking anything off, but this
character has been and certain things that have happened,
have been a little bit harder to leave at work. But then,
itís not like I canítóI donít know. I think that line is
important to maintain the clarity, but thatís my particular
perspective on it and Iím grateful to be able to do that.
So, yes, thatís how itís been.
There was another point to that question? Or was that, that?
Moderator We are going back to Earl Dittman with Wireless &
E. Dittman Oh my God, there is a God! Oh well, thank you so
much, Zach. I appreciate it. I guess what I really wanted to
know is that when you originally signed onto the first one,
did you know that it was going to be an anthology and
knowing that, with both times youíve played it, what are the
bigger challenges of both the two characters. If you do come
on for Season 3, obviously, youíll be playing a different
character. But of course, we wonít know that for awhile, but
Iím pretty sure that heíll call you because you have to be
in it. But go ahead, sorry.
Z. Quinto So wait; whatís the question?
E. Dittman Did you always know it was going to be an
anthology? Or when you did the first season, did you think?
Z. Quinto No, I didnít know. I mean, when I did it the first
time around, the timing of it worked out really well for me
because Star Trek had gotten pushed, so I ended up having
like a little bit of a window that I didnít expect to have,
and Ryan called to ask. I just thought it was going to be a
couple and it ended up being four episodes in that first
installment. But I didnít know what it would be, and then it
was in the middle of that, that he actually brought up the
idea of the second season being entirely different.
That was the beginning of the conversations, which really
intrigued me, obviously. I had been exploring the
possibility of another specific job that would have been a
more traditional sort of T.V. structure and it was really
exciting in its own way. But when Ryan presented the plan to
me about this, it just seemed like there was no question
that it was a little bit more unique and exciting to me,
because of that, so that made my decision pretty clear.
E. Dittman So ultimately, more challenging.
Z. Quinto This season is more challenging just because Iím
more of an integral part of it and thereís just more work to
do to build the arc of the character, because itís a more
extensive arc. But also, therefore more rewarding and more
fulfilling in a way, because youíre really seeing something
through from the beginning to the end. So thatís cool. I
have a good time with that.
Moderator The next question is Amy Harrington with Pop
A. Harrington So as with the first installment, the Asylum
is like a character on the series. Can you talk a bit about
how the environment helps you get into character?
Z. Quinto Yes, thatís a great observation, because I think
that our production designer and the art departmentóI mean,
I think theyíve done such an extraordinary job of creating
this immensely oppressive, overwhelming environment, which
does have actual characteristics depending on what part of
the set youíre shooting in. I just think itís a gold mine of
information and opportunity for action and activities along
the way. Itís just such a full environment that we work in.
Itís great; and that continues in the coming weeks because
you get to see much more of the lair in which Lana is being
held captive and a lot of their scenes take place. Yes, I
think the asylum itself, I think the hydrotherapy room and
what that invokes and what happens in there, I think the
bakery and the grand hallway and all the cells and the
offices, and that institutional feeling, that heavy-footed,
oppressive, concrete olive green kind of brown-beige. I went
to Catholic school growing up and it really invokes a lot of
the same imagery. The Ö icons and iconography and stuff with
statues, I think all that stuff is so well realized in the
world. Iím really grateful to the creative team behind that
because they do remarkable work.
Moderator The next question is from Kristyn Clarke with Pop
K. Clarke So with the dark, and so intense, subject matter,
I was going to ask how hard is it for you to step away from
that, when not on set? How does this character have an
emotional effect on you?
Z. Quinto It does to a degree, but I consider it my
responsibility to myself to be able to discern the
boundaries in my life. So I really try to separate myself as
clearly as possible. As a trained actor, I mean thatís part
of what I learned how to do as well.
Going to college and studying, and cultivating a technique
that allows me to enter some of these really complicated,
psychological landscapes and not get lost in them. But, yes,
I have, certainly, outlets and things that I can do, and do,
to make sure that I stay grounded and clear, but itís also
thatís whatís kind of fun about it. I know that I can let
myself go in certain ways, because I wonít go in othersóin
the ones that are important.
Moderator The next question is from Eva Layne with
E. Layne I just had a question about your thoughts on
horror. I mean, thereís a lot of talk about what makes good
horror; what makes horror at all. I mean whether itís
paranormal or whether itís human based like the character
youíre playing this season. So I just was wondering what you
thought makes a good horror story.
Z. Quinto I think stories that reflect societal fear back at
the audience on some level, on some visceral level, is the
most compelling kind of horror. I think thatís what this
show is doing in a lot of ways, and itís sort of evidenced
by some of the commentary that even some of the other
journalists have brought up on this call. Tackling issues
that have relevance to our modern society through another
point of view, or another time period, filtered through
different perspectives and really getting to the root of
what drives us as a society, as a culture, as an audience. I
think that can be really scary and I think that thatís
whatís really happening in a lot of ways with the characters
that weíre all playing this year, and the scenarios in which
they find themselves.
Moderator Our next question is from Chip Chandler with
C. Chandler Zach, Iíve enjoyed listening to your discussion
of the show and airing your deep thoughts about this. I have
just a really simple question. I understand that you have
some sort of family connection to Amarillo, Texas.
Z. Quinto I do; the Quintos of Amarillo. I have a lot of
family there; cousins, aunts, uncles. Iíve been there a
handful of times. I love them; I love seeing them there and
Iím sure Iíll be back before too long, I hope.
C. Chandler All right; thatís kind of just what I needed to
confirm. I had a friend that thought he saw you out one
evening and couldnít quite believe it.
Z. Quinto Carousing; carousing in the Amarillo saloons.
C. Chandler Perhaps, yes.
Z. Quinto I look forward to doing it again, man.
Moderator The next question is from Monique Jackson with
M. Jackson I have a quick question. Itís kind of a two
parter. How do you prepare mentally to play this dark,
demented kind of role, and do you enjoy it, or find it more
of a challenge?
Z. Quinto It depends on the scene. There are different
levels of preparation for different scenes in different
kinds of work. So I have a combination of things that I do.
I usually just find some solitude and some quiet in a little
corner of the set where thereís not a lot of traffic and not
a lot of people around and do what it is that I need to do.
I listen to music a lot, if I need to get into a particular
emotional space, I use that and just other sort of
stretching, just breathing, taking time to mostly be quiet
and find that kind of stillness.
I think thatís important. I love playing characters that go
to extreme places and I love to explore different kinds of
psychological landscapes, so it is ultimately a kind of fun,
but itís also complicated and colored by the depth of the
nastiness of it at certain times as well. That can be a
Moderator The next question is from Lee Allport with My
L. Allport My question to you is acting, producingóit looks
like you even dabbled in writing. What is your passion? Or
are you just doing all this so that one day you can direct?
Z. Quinto I would love to get myself to a place where I feel
like Iím ready to direct. Iím not there yet, but I aspire to
that for sure. My passion is acting and has always been.
Itís what brought me to this point of being able to
diversify and do other things, and I hope that itís
something that Iíll continue to have a passion for.
I canít see that changing, but Iím also really fulfilled by
having a production company and producing the views and
learning about how that works and happens. Itís a totally,
entirely separate skill set and itís one that I happen to
also enjoy, so I intend to cultivate all of those things
until I canít anymore, I guess. Thatís kind of my goal and I
love to be challenged and busy and so far, so good. I just
want to do whatever I can to continue to encourage that.
Moderator The next question is from Sammi Turano with TV
S. Turano Thank you. My question for you is youíve played
such diverse roles, is there one role that you dream of
playing thatís on your bucket list? If so, what is it?
Z. Quinto Oh, I never tend to think like that. Itís so
strange, because if I look back at the experiences that Iíve
had, that have been so instrumental in my growth as well as
my exposure, I could have never predicted that they would
have happened, where I would have never necessarily thought
to wish for them to happen, but they happened in very unique
ways. I tend to have an openness toward that and a faith in
that, thatís served me so far.
So I just hope that continuesóI donít know. I try to make
informed, intelligent decisions and I know what I respond to
when it presents itself, but I donít tend toóI mean, I guess
with my production company, itís a little bit different in
terms of developing material for myself. I know the kinds of
stuff I want to do and the direction in which I want to go
creatively with my career in that regard, but I donít think
of it in terms of like a dream role. So weíll see how it all
Moderator The next question is from Breeanna Hare with
B. Hare I just had one more question for you. I wanted to
get your thoughts on why you think horror shows and kind of
really gory stuff, like American Horror Story and The
Walking Dead have played so well this year on cable. Do you
think thereís anything that some of the networks can learn
from how well this stuff is doing with audiences?
Z. Quinto Well I imagine there might be somethingóI mean I
think the networks already know it and itís that the
boundaries can be pushed further on cable and unfortunately,
thatís not necessarily anything that they can do about their
own restrictions in the kinds of stories that theyíre
telling on network T.V., which are also compelling and
really rich and good in their own way in so many cases. But
I mean I think thereís obviously a sense of collective
anxiety, I feel like, in the world that we live in and itís
very complicated, precariously perched in so many ways;
environmentally, politically, socially.
I think that some of these shows reflect that back. Thatís
what I was talking about before when I think about the most
affective kinds of horror storytelling, it taps into that
kind of primal fear that all of us share and that builds
within a society and that needs an outlet. So these shows
that are able to be so bold and graphic and uncompromising,
unflinching, stand to serve that purpose and be the sort of
receptacle for all that collective anxiety. I think thatís
important, actually, in a social function; especially in a
world that has as much anxiety as the one that we live in
does. I think in some ways, itís exhilarating, but itís also
a little bit scary that that reflects the world we live in
Moderator The next question is from Suzanne Lanoue with TV
S. Lanoue I have a second question here. I know that youíre
ďjust an actorĒ in the show, but I was wondering if you had
any insights as to whether the writers and producers,
whether they worried about maybe going too far. It seems
like the second season is way more intense than the first
season, more graphic, more everything over the top. I was
wondering if they worry about that, if theyíre going too far
Z. Quinto Well, I mean I think that theyíre certainly
sensitive and Ryan is a very sensitive artist. I think heís
constantly striving for balance in his work and never wants
to go too far in one extreme direction or another. So I
think thereís a process of refinement that the show goes
through as its post production happens and Ryan is an
integral part of that. I think there are checks and balances
and measures in place to make sure that itís driving in the
I think so far, it is in a lot of ways. But I do think it is
more uncompromising this year. It is sort of tackling more
things at once and really diving in and examining. It feels
like itís pulling an audience along in really dynamic way,
so hopefully thatís generating a response. It seems to be,
anyway, with people coming back and watching week after
week. That is, after all, I believe how they assess those
things, at least at the network and the studio.
Moderator The next question is from Michelle Alexandria with
M. Alexandria I have two questions for you. One isóIím
sorry. I joined this call late, so forgive me if this
question has been asked. But I would just like to knowóyou
came off of a megahit movie and you were in between
projects, were you scared to actually go back to T.V. and
get locked into the T.V. rut again? Did productions delay
Star Trek Ö affect that decision? Then my second question
is, I heard you talk a little bit about what you think is
horror. How do you think the genre is faring as it relates
to movies, not T.V. but movies?
Z. Quinto Right, so the first part of that question is, was
I concerned about getting stuck back in T.V. sort of, like
was I concerned about going back to television? No, not at
all. The unique configuration of this particular show is
really different than going to television in a different
capacity because each season is self-contained.
It is creatively more engaging because if you are going back
to the show for another installment, then youíre definitely
going to be playing a completely different character than
the one you just played. So itís not a sense ofóthereís no
sense of stagnancy or fatigue because youíre constantly
recreating and reinvesting in the character. Then from just
a business standpoint, or in terms with like the challenge
with television, sometimes getting what you can get; in
success, you can get into a situation where you are
obligated contractually to a show for years at a time.
Sometimes six, seven years if the show is enormously
successful, and that can be outrageously beneficial and
It can also be really frustrating, I imagine. I spent four
years on one show and there were its own set of challenges
with that, but thatís the other cool thing about it is,
there is no stuck because thereís always a finite amount of
episodes. So I think itís structured really beneficially and
I think thatís why actors like James Cromwell and Joe
Fiennes and Jessica come to an experience like that. Itís
attractive in a different way for somebody thatís used to
doing features and used to having more flexibility with
their schedules. We can come and do this and then still have
that in other ways.
Then the second part of the question was, sorry about that.
M. Alexandria The second part of the question was about the
space occurrence in a horror movie. Like you mentioned
before, like a couple of horrors without mentioning, how
itís doing so well on T.V., but for some reason, if they
take it digital like in the movies Ö.
Z. Quinto Yes, horror has gone through some style
transformations withóI think the micro-budget, the success
of movies like Paranormal ActivityóI feel like thereís a
lotómy production company actually produced a micro-budget
fund for this horror movie that we just finished post
production on and are in the process of taking to the
marketplace. Itís interesting to find the home because you
can do a lot more for less now; less time, less money, less
resources. You can still generate some really significant
scary content and I think that studios are fluctuating in
their reactions and their relationships to this kind of
Itís a little bit of a see change in the feature world,
which could also have something to do with the emergence of
really successful horror series on television, perhaps. They
can be a little more tried and true, or evocative of old
school horror storytelling, but I think itís exciting no
matter how you cut it and Iím grateful to be a part of a
series thatís taking steps forward and innovating in
different ways in storytelling and content exploration.
M. Alexandria In your mind, what is too far? Is there a line
that you wouldnít cross with regards to horror?
Z. Quinto Thatís funny you should ask that question
actually. After I read the episode last night, I was asking
myself the same thing. Yes, I donít know. If there is a line
that I wonít cross, I havenít reached it yet; at least on
this show. But Iím sure itís particularly circumstantial and
that I would know it if I ever was in that situation. But I
think things are handled with enough respect and
professional and creative acumen in the world of American
Horror Story that Iíve always felt safe and Iíve always felt
supported. So I think those are the two most important
elements, trust and professionalism and we have those in
excess at American Horror Story; so thatís good, thatís
Moderator The last question is from Trish Bendix with
T. Bendix I was just wondering if you have any ideaÖďDr.
ThredsonĒ intentÖaversion therapy. Was he actually trying to
help in any way? Because now after seeing last nightís
episode, it almost seems like maybe it was sort of test.
Z. Quinto Yes, I think it was a test and I think he was
alsoóI think a lot of his actions in the first four and a
half episodes of Asylum were serving some ulterior motive.
So I think he was trying to gain his trustóI mean gain
ďLanaísĒ trust; gain some proximity to her and some intimacy
with her. I think he was definitely trying to show her that
he could be there for her; that she could rely on him even
through something as ugly as that and as brutal as that.
As barbaric as we can see it today, at the time it was a
pervasive social mentality that homosexuality was something
that could be treated medically or psychologically. So I
think to that end, he was implementing the forward thinking
of the time to try to help her, or try to feel like he was
helping her, to make some effort to get her out of there.
Then it put him in a position when it didnít work to devise
a more radical approach to getting her out; that she would
then be more likely to go along with because heís already
tried the more prescribed route or institutional route.
Let me see if I can prove that Iíve cured you, then they
have to let you out. But when that doesnít work, and he
knows it wonít I think on some level, then he can sort of be
more radical about it and she already has more faith in him.
She already has trust in him, so sheís more likely to go
along with it. I think itís kind of a manipulative tactic
that worked to a tee for him. So I think thatís whatís
thatís an example of there.
Moderator There is no one else in queue.
Z. Quinto All right; thank you.
M. Mitchell At this time we can end; thanks so much, Zach.
Z. Quinto My pleasure. Have a good day.
M. Mitchell You too.
Moderator That does conclude our conference for today. Thank
you for your participation and for using the AT&T Executive
TeleConference. You may now disconnect.
Back to the Main Articles
Back to the Main Primetime TV Page
We need more episode guide recap writers, article
writers, MS FrontPage and Web Expression users, graphics designers, and more, so
please email us
if you can help out! More volunteers always
Page updated 4/15/15