There isn’t much Lily Rabe can say about American Horror Story: Coven, the third installment of the terrifying FX series premiering October 9. The 31-year-old actress, who’s been on the show—which changes characters, settings and storylines every season—since its beginning plays Misty Day, a young witch whose special powers are not met with excitement by the citizens of her Southern town. But that’s about all anyone knows about the forthcoming season, and Rabe’s not revealing many secrets.
Still, as the series’ title suggests, Rabe doesn’t play Coven‘s only mystical creature. Series veterans like Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson also play witches while newcomers Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts and Angela Bassett take on other spooky roles in the show, which was created by Glee mastermind Ryan Murphy. While intelligence on the coming season is scarce, fans are surely in for a freaky, gory and delightfully wicked good time.
DuJour fielded a call from Rabe, who’s living in New Orleans while the show shoots, to talk about witchcraft, The Hunger Games and all of the things she can’t really talk about.
You’re in New Orleans shooting the new season of American Horror Story. Do you feel that famous haunted vibe to the city?
There is something about New Orleans. I love a city that has a lot of complexity and history and, of course, you can feel the history in this city without a doubt. In terms of it being haunted, that’s definitely something everyone talks about. You do feel a tremendous amount of energy in this city, and it lends itself quite well to the show we’re shooting here.
Have you experienced any of the city’s more mystical corners firsthand?
There are a couple of amazing witchcraft stores that I’ve gone into. I haven’t yet sat down on the street for a reading; I was very close to doing it last night walking home from dinner. I’m sure that I will soon, though. I love that kind of stuff. I’m not a non-believer.
In the first season of American Horror Story you played a ghost. In the second season you were a possessed nun. What’s in store for you this time around?
There’s nothing much I can say that isn’t already out there.
The show changes each season. What’s that like for you as an actress?
It really does feel like you’re starting a new job at the beginning of each season and yet you already have this sort of family. For viewers, I’d think it’s a similar thing. If they’ve watched all three seasons, they already have a relationship with the show and some of the actors.
Nothing carries over from season to season on screen, but is there any competition on set to get back at someone who bested your character on a previous season?
Not overtly, but I do wonder. There are no rules on the show, so even if someone dies they might not really be dead. You’ll think you have to say goodbye to someone and then they’re back three episodes later. So even if you got someone back, they could reappear in two weeks.
The show itself is pretty dark, but does the mood on set match?
There is lightheartedness. It’s not dark; it’s not scary in hair and makeup.
You’ve been through haunted houses, Nazi doctors, serial killers and all sorts of creepy crawlies. Have any of your own big fears been in the mix?
I think I’m very afraid of deception. I think there’s so much of that, especially during last season. Inevitably I’m sure it’ll be around on the new season as well. It’s something that happens a lot—that’s part of why I’m so afraid of it. To think that someone’s one thing and have them turn out to be another is deeply terrifying to me.
In addition to AHS you’ve just joined the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay as a former Hunger Games winner, Commander Lyme. That’s a whole different strange world for you to play in.
I’m so excited to be part of it. I love the first movie so much, and I’m just really thrilled to be part of it, but I want to keep my job so I can’t talk much.
Are there any projects on the horizon for you that don’t take place in a haunted or dystopian world? Something a bit more lighthearted?
There is, actually! But I also can’t talk about that. I hate saying that because I read interviews where people say that and it’s just so annoying, but then you realize that you get in big trouble if you do talk about it.
Well, that’s not vague. As far as American Horror Story is concerned, where can you see the show going? Is there some kind of spooky setting you’re rooting for?
I really don’t know. Anything I would think of, Ryan Murphy would just do it better.
“American Horror Story: Coven” premieres October 9 at 10 p.m. on FX.