Interview: “American Horror Story: Coven” Star Taissa Farmiga Talks Dead Baby Compliments and Her New Film “Jamesy Boy
Taissa Farmiga is a masochist—that or she just really loves her job. She stars in American Horror Story: Coven as Zoe, a witch whose powers include, among other things, killing anyone she has sex with. Oh, and she might be the new Supreme, a.k.a HBIC head witch in charge. No big deal.
In real life, the 19-year-old actress is actually terrified of goblins, ghouls, and anything that’s meant to make you piss your pants in fear. Basically, everything AHS is all about. So how does she do it?
Farmiga fills us in on how she keeps her cool, explains Gabourey Sidibe’s “dead baby” tweet, and raves about her new film out now, Jamesy Boy, about a troubled boy’s journey to redemption, co-starring Spencer Lofranco, Mary Louise Parker, and James Woods.
Interview by Debbie Encalada (@DebbieOE)
How’d you land the role of Sarah in Jamesy Boy?
I first had a meeting with the director, Trevor White, and we just met in this little coffee shop in L.A. and we just talked about the project and how passionate about it he was. We talked about how Sarah is the tiny little beam of hope in the script. Then he brought me in one more time and that was that and we shot the movie a couple of weeks later.
Apparently, I look like a dead baby when I’m all dolled up.
What was that experience like?
I had a month off after the first season of American Horror Story, and then I went to Maryland for Jamesy Boy. I was only there for five days because I had to go work on another project. There was a timing conflict where it almost didn’t work out, but I really wanted to do the film. We compressed all of my scenes, but it was great.
You said you didn’t really spend a lot of time shooting, but do you have any on set stories?
I tried to work with Rosa Salazar again because she worked on American Horror Story: Murder House with me. In the movie she plays Crystal. One really fun moment happened when I was about to leave. I had to catch a plane to L.A. in like a couple of hours and we had to finish up this one scene where I’m in the grocery store and Rosa and Spencer first come in. They were messing around off-camera, throwing bags of chips over the aisles, making a mess, and going crazy trying to get reactions out of me. [Laughs.]
Speaking of American Horror Story, you’re on Coven right now. What kind of Supreme do you think Zoe would be?
Out of all the girls, Zoe is the one that really wants everyone to band together and act like a coven. She would be the right kind of leader. She’s the one who just wants to help out. She wants to be there for the coven. She’s not as selfish about it as Madison, but I mean, who doesn’t want to have the title of Supreme?
I read you had a spooky experience on set during first season. Have you had a similar experience this season?
I know Gaby (Sidibe) had a weird thing going on when she said some of her spells. One of the first times we had to do spells with Madison, when we were bringing Kyle back to life, Emma (Roberts) could’ve sworn she saw a ghost. We were shooting in this old hospital and Emma was like freaking out and she asked me, “Are you nervous about this?” It was just really creepy stuff.
Since you’re from New Jersey, have you visited any Weird NJ places?
Ugh, no. I try to stay far away from anything creepy and supernatural. I rather not think about it. All my friends will be like, “Let’s go check out this place!” and I’m like, “No, let’s go watch a movie.”
What exactly does looking like a “dead baby” mean?
[Laughs.] Oh gosh. Gaby is so incredible and I love her so much. I texted her today. I was like, “Hi, I exist by the way” and she sends me back a text, and she’s like “Hi, my dead baby!” It’s this thing. Apparently, I look like a dead baby when I’m all dolled up. I have no idea. Maybe it does relate to something on the show, but I can’t really explain it too much. Who knows? It’s just incredible. I can’t figure it out.
You once said your friends think you’re a pro-zombie survivalist. Do you watch The Walking Dead?
I don’t watch The Walking Dead. I caught bits and pieces. Some of my friends are trying to get me to watch it, but again, I flip out. I can’t take it. I finally agreed to watch The Sixth Sense, like, a month ago. I was hiding my face in the couch. Most of it is not scary! I just—I have panic attacks. I don’t even know why I’m working on this crazy show because, ugh, I can’t. I’m crazy.
How do you cope?
I go home and I watch, like, Cartoon Network. No, I have no idea. I go home. I’m so scared. I sleep with all the lights on. I keep on the lights in the bathroom downstairs, the lights in my bedroom. I know, I know it’s lame, but guys, I’m scared. What am I supposed to do?
Spoiler alert: Zoe and Luke fled the Coven. If you had to, what’s your ideal place to hide in real life?
I would flee the country and I would go to some tiny little island and tan on the beach. That sounds like heaven right now.
What would you bring with you?
I’d probably bring a bikini, sunglasses, and a big hat to hide because I get nervous when I get recognized. I love my fans, but I’m just so awkward. I’m more nervous than they are and they don’t realize that. I need a towel. I’ll bring my GoPro camera and go in the ocean, even though I’m actually terrified of water.
What can we expect for the last episode?
Chaos. Maybe some blood, maybe some death. Overall craziness. Everything you love about American Horror Story, expect that to happen.