I think America in the 1960s was a very interesting period concerning civil rights. So when you’re doing a show that questions the norms of society concerning human beings, you know, when you’re doing a show about asylums, I think it’s interesting to set it in the 60s and at the same time though, something about it definitely gives it a very precise, I mean, a very esthetic design that I also like.
Since the show is called American Horror Story, have you noticed anything particularly American about it as far as the style of horror or just the storytelling, coming from France?
Everything is American about it. All the myths and legends, and the mythology are very American. I don’t recall zombies as being very European-not zombies, but aliens are not American. All of the imagery is very American rooted. Even the thrill and the excitement of horror is not something that is very French, that we have in France; if that makes any sense.
What do you make of all of that? Is it interesting to be a part of that now?
It’s great. It’s fascinating, which also you’ve exported a lot of that in horror mythology. I grew up in it, even on the other side of the Atlantic. I like it; it’s so exciting.
How do you get into character to play Grace?
How do I get into my character to play Grace? There’s so many different ways, but I think what I worked on the most was [her] back story, because when we started shooting, we already had the first four scripts, so I had the back story of Grace in the fourth episode. I think that since she was based on this American character, Lizzie Borden, I read a lot about Lizzie Borden.
I discovered a source book with her inquest testimony; I loved reading it out loud. I thought she was so smart and strangely fascinating, that character. I don’t know if it helped my acting, but it was necessary for me to know a bit more of that character, who was a very important American figure. I had no clue who she was.
I did a lot of-this is going to sound weird, but I did a lot of stretching, yoga and dancing, almost ballet. I felt, you know, you want her to be moving very smooth maybe, and she’s very sexy, so you want her to be moving in a smoother way than I do. So that was a little job. And Grace, I don’t know if she’s somewhere in me-apart from that big back story and all that; her sarcasm, her way of seeing life, and that little liveliness she has.