TV preview: 'American Horror Story' actress heading to Pittsburgh for pilot


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Last week was a bad one for actress Chloe Sevigny's character, Shelley, on "American Horror Story." Sanitarium doc and possible Nazi Arthur Arden (James Cromwell, "Babe") amputated Shelley's legs -- for no good reason.

Shelley was committed to New England's Briarcliff Manor mental hospital in the 1960s by her husband. Diagnosed as a nymphomaniac, Shelley was trying to help other inmates escape when Arden captured her and shackled her in his operating room.

And it doesn't look as if it's getting any better for Shelley in tonight's "AHS" episode at 10 on FX.

'American Horror Story'

When: 10 tonight, FX.

Starring: Chloe Sevigny.

"Well, I don't know how much more dialogue I have," Ms. Sevigny said in a teleconference with reporters last week. "There's lots of gurgling."

Ms. Sevigny, who's probably best known for her role in HBO's "Big Love," said her first reaction to Shelley's turn for the worse was regret.

"Honestly, I wanted to have more to do," she said. "I called my agent and I said, 'I wish my part was bigger.' That's honestly what happened. That was my first response, but then I kind of let go of my ego and kind of accepted what was going to happen to me and tried to find the joy in that and the mystery."

Ms. Sevigny will undoubtedly have more to do in A&E's upcoming pilot "Those Who Kill," an American remake of a Danish crime drama that begins production in Pittsburgh the first week in December.

Ms. Sevigny stars as Catherine Jensen, a police detective who's a workaholic without much of a life besides her work. She partners with Thomas Schaffer (played by James D'Arcy, "Cloud Atlas"), a forensic profiler, to track down serial killers.

Sometimes actors object to filming outside production centers such as Los Angeles or New York, but it doesn't sound as if that will be an issue for Ms. Sevigny, who has never been to Pittsburgh.

"I'm cool with the fact that it's an hour from New York, but yes, I'm excited to be there," Ms. Sevigny said. "I love being on location, especially in a town like that. I have some of the most fun times like working in Sarasota, Fla., or Shreveport, La., and things like that. So I think it will be cool to discover a new city like that."

If "Those Who Kill" is picked up to series, it's expected to return to Pittsburgh to film additional episodes.

Prior to "AHS," Ms. Sevigny starred in DirecTV's "Hit and Miss," a British co-production where she played a transgendered assassin. She confirmed that show was canceled.

But in the space of a year she will have played multiple distinct characters. Ms. Sevigny said it's not difficult to transition among characters.

"I find it pretty easy," she said. "I've already wrapped 'American Horror Story' a couple of months ago. I think they might have me come back for something else. I'm not sure. So I'll have plenty of time and then of course delving into the scripts and research and with playing Catherine there'll probably be some training involved also.

"While we were shooting 'American Horror Story,' I was also shooting 'Portlandia.' So I was going from one set to the next, and I'd never really done that before," Ms. Sevigny said. "And 'Portlandia' was so new for me because it's all improvisation and trying to be funny and all that. So it was quite difficult when you're shooting two at the same time."

For the time being, "AHS" viewers will have to contend with Shelley's evolution, which requires four hours of prosthetic makeup.

"You see her transformed into something -- something not so pleasant to look at," Ms. Sevigny said. "I think it might be kind of one of the heaviest things that I've ever done as far as where she winds up."

That doesn't sound good for poor Shelley.

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A version of this story first appeared in Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook. First Published November 7, 2012 5:00 AM


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