How to Get Cast on ‘American Horror Story’

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Photo Source: Frank Ockenfels/FX

FX’s Emmy Award-winning series “American Horror Story” is returning for its 12th season this year. Co-created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, “AHS” remains one of the network’s top shows, boasting a star-studded cast with each iteration. For this upcoming season, “American Horror Story: Delicate,” Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne are reportedly joining the cast alongside “AHS” alum Emma Roberts. 

Are you hoping to land an audition for the popular FX thriller? Our guide has everything you need to know about “American Horror Story: Delicate,” including casting information and audition advice from the pros who have been at the helm of the series for more than a decade.

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What is ‘American Horror Story’ about?

“American Horror Story” is an anthology series with each season blending spooky supernatural tropes with the horrors of everyday life. For example, Season 1, “Murder House,” follows a family living in a haunted house, while Season 2, “Asylum,” focuses on the patients and staff inside a 1960s institution for the criminally insane.

Titled “Delicate,” details of Season 12’s theme still remain under wraps. However, we do know the story will be at least loosely based on Danielle Valentine’s novel “Delicate Condition”—a first for the series. Fans can expect to follow the story of a woman who believes sinister forces are at play preventing her from getting pregnant. With noted comparisons to “Rosemary’s Baby,” Valentine’s novel seems in line with the themes of “AHS” seasons past.

Who is in the cast of ‘American Horror Story’?

Because each season features a new theme, the cast varies—though many actors have become staples of the series, returning in new roles season after season. Standout stars include Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Billie Lourd, Finn Wittrock, James Cromwell, Lily Rabe, Lady Gaga, and Matt Bomer.

Season 12 will mark the return of Roberts, who’s appeared in five seasons thus far: “Coven,” “Freak Show,” “Cult,” “Apocalypse,” and “1984.” She will star alongside surprise addition Kim Kardashian, as she makes a long-awaited return to acting. As Murphy told the Hollywood Reporter, Halley Feiffer, the season’s sole writer and showrunner, “has written a fun, stylish and ultimately terrifying role especially for Kim.” Adding, “this season is ambitious and unlike anything we have ever done.” Deadline also notes that fans can expect to see former “Gilmore Girls” and “The Resident” star Matt Czuchry join the franchise for the first time.

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Who is the casting director for ‘American Horror Story’?

Murphy and Falchuk have worked with several casting directors to strike the perfect balance of star power every season. For much of its run, the namesake CDs of Ulrich/Dawson/Kritzer Casting—Robert J. Ulrich, Eric Dawson, and Carol Kritzer—have been at the helm. The team has worked on an array of hit programs, including “The Boys,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Glee.” Their former associate, Eric Souliere (“Nip/Tuck,” “The Mentalist”), a frequent Murphy collaborator, also served as CD, along with duo Nicole Daniels and Courtney Bright (“American Horror Stories,” “American Crime Story,”), and Meagan Lewis (“Watchmen,” “True Detective”).

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How does the casting process work for ‘American Horror Story’?

For some, such as Lady Gaga, landing a role on “AHS” simply meant picking up the phone and asking for a part. For others, such as Kathy Bates, they came highly recommended by an existing cast member—Jessica Lange, in this case. Model Kaia Gerber, on the other hand, had to work a bit harder than her experienced counterparts, as she filmed a self-tape with her mother, Cindy Crawford, behind the camera, proving she had the chops to keep up with the big-name stars she’d admired most of her life.

But what can those without an established name expect inside the audition room? “I always tell actors that we want the same thing: We’re putting a puzzle together and looking for someone to come in the room and be that puzzle piece that just makes the most sense for that role,” Eric Souliere told us. “It’s very rare that there are producers in the room with us. It is usually just us with a camera, so we have the freedom to work with the actor and get the best performance. It’s really a fun experience. It should be taken as a fun experience. I am always frustrated when actors come in and are obviously very nervous or place a lot of emphasis or stake on this one audition when I think we all just need to have fun and get the best performance.”

Don’t go sharing your experience with the public, though. As Souliere emphasized, secrecy remains one of the team’s biggest challenges. “There have been times when actors self-taped and sent it to us but also put it on YouTube and made it public and named it ‘AHS audition’ and someone picked it up,” he described. “We have to be very careful about keeping everything secret.”

Souliere continued: “Whenever we put out a casting notice, we change the character’s name. There’s never any plot, the sides are fake, and the names are changed, so if it does get out, people have no idea what anything means. Also, every actor who auditions has to sign an NDA, and they can’t say that they went in for this show or disclose any information about the audition or role they’re reading for. We’re very protective; [we want] audiences to be surprised as they watch.”

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When does filming for ‘American Horror Story’ Season 12 start?

According to Just Jared, “American Horror Story: Delicate” is currently filming in Brooklyn, New York, as Czuchry and Roberts were captured filming a scene on April 28. Additional images also indicate that model-turned-actor Cara Delevingne has joined the Season 12 cast, according to Digital Spy. While we don’t know the official premiere date for the upcoming installment, filming will likely continue throughout May, with the season airing sometime this summer or fall.

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Where can you find ‘American Horror Story’ casting calls and auditions?

Currently, there are no open casting calls for “Delicate.” For those hoping to join an established franchise such as “AHS,” it’s best to secure an acting agent, as they often have the inside scoop. You might also want to keep an eye on our main casting page, as we’ll update you with related casting calls as they become available. In the meantime, check out this roundup of similar horror gigs that are casting now.

What are the best audition tips for landing a role on ‘American Horror Story’?

Practice makes perfect: For repeat Murphy collaborator Sarah Paulson, success means practicing a lot beforehand. She told us, “I record everyone’s lines in the scene but mine, and I practice it that way,” as this helps her hear and respond to a voice speaking her cues. “Because sometimes you can be living room ready, you know? Like you know all your lines in your living room, then you get on set, and go, ‘Oh my God I don’t know any of them.’ You’re not used to someone speaking back to you.”

She also recommends incorporating movement into your practice, as few scenes will ever require you to sit still the entire time. “What you want to do is marry movement with your dialogue,” Paulson added. “Nobody just sort of sits with their lines. Often you’re walking and talking and moving, depending on the play or TV show. You’re liable to be messing with a prop. If you only know your lines when you’re seated and concentrated on your lines, then the minute a prop master throws you a piece of paper you’ve got to hand off to someone—or a briefcase or purse or coat—all of a sudden your lines go out the door.”

Do your homework: As Eric Dawson explained, actors often come into the audition bragging about how they never watch TV. But, if you want to work in TV, you must familiarize yourself with what you’re up against. “If you want to act in television, I think you should watch it. It’s important to know the shows that you’re auditioning for and the characters that you’re auditioning against…” he said. “As a casting director I work really long hours, but I still manage to watch every pilot that comes on television, and I kind of have a sense of all the shows that are out there. I just don’t understand giving up that extra 20 percent help that that gives you going into a room. I don’t think there’s any room for snobbery.”

Nicole Daniels echoes the sentiment, emphasizing that actors should treat auditions like job interviews: “Do your homework and research, show up on time, study the scenes, and know the lines. Take it seriously.” Courtney Bright adds, “We have no problem if someone messes up and needs to start again, but if you come in, haven’t even looked at the material, and haven’t prepared, you can’t expect much patience. We want actors to feel good about what they’ve done, but they have to put in work.”

Read between the lines: Angela Bassett knows how to find the details hidden within the pages of any given script—and you can, too. “There’s all the information that’s right there, ready to serve you. All you have to do is find it—find videos of the person or interviews that they’ve done,” she said of portraying real-life figures. “At that time, I’d put the headset in and listen to their voice [and] intonations and try to capture some of that.”

Bassett added: “And for fictional [characters], you do those things, but within the context of the script. You’re just going through the script trying to find things. How would they walk? Is there something that’s said in there about their gait? What do other people say about them? You look for gems in the script that can give you insight into who this character is.”

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