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American Horror Story's Jessica Lange on Her Gay Fans, Sister Jude and Her Favorite Co-Star

By Jerry Nunn

With another Golden Globe nomination this year, it's clear Jessica Lange remains one of the finest actresses of our time. On the big screen she broke King Kong’s heart, teased Tootsie, fought Robert De Niro in Cape Fear and did the horizontal dance on a kitchen table with Jack Nicholson in The Postman Always Rings Twice.

She recently starred in The Vow with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, and will be in an upcoming film adaptation of The Big Valley in the classic Barbara Stanwyk role.

After seeing Lange on Broadway, American Horror Story series creator Ryan Murphy wrote the role of neighbor Constance for her in the first season. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, as well as the Dorian Award by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association for Television Performance of the Year, among other accolades.

This multiple winner of Academy Awards and Golden Globes returned to Horror Story playing Sister Jude in the second season. We talked nun to Nunn about her role in the show and the future of Season 3.

First off I have to mention you have tons of gay fans.
Some of my dearest friends in the world for a long, long time are gay men.

Do you have a gay relative?
No, I don’t have a family member that’s gay.

You have been heavily involved in AIDS work, even traveling to the Congo and Russia as a Goodwill Ambassador, so I thought that would be the case.
I’ve worked a lot, especially in the beginning, with different AIDS organizations.

It must be interesting to work with Ryan Murphy and all of the LGBT factors in the show.
Well, yes, I think he deals with all of that in, I think, a very interesting way. There’s always a character or two characters that enter in, and it’s also interesting that he places them in specific times, like this idea that in the world of psychiatry back in the ’60s homosexuality was dealt with as a mental condition, a mental illness that could be cured. He approaches things, I think, with great, I don’t know, relevance, and I do appreciate that a lot.

Horror Story has opened up a new audience to your work. What do you think of that?
Well, I don’t follow that side of it too much. I understand that there’s a demographic that otherwise probably wouldn’t know my work. I’m always surprised when young people don’t know certain actors or are not familiar with certain films, even people who are working in Hollywood, which is really alarming, are not aware of certain filmmakers if it’s more than 20 years ago or 25 years ago, or maybe even 15 years ago.

So I understand that this has given me a whole new exposure that probably I wouldn’t have had otherwise, because the kind of films that I do, I don’t do big studio films that gross $100 million or whatever, I’ve mostly done small, independent movies, and that has a very limited audience. So this is a greater audience probably than I’ve had for a long, long time, and it’s also the demographic is much younger, so that’s all good, I guess. I don’t know ultimately what that means, but yes, I’m glad people are looking at the work. I’m very grateful for that.

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