Created for the FX Channel, American Horror Story (by Brad Falchuk and openly gay Ryan Murphy) is already in a second successful season. This time the story is set in an asylum, where it's hard to tell who to believe.
German actress Franka Potente plays the character Anne Frank, who may have possibly survived her book's fate and wound up trapped in the asylum. Potente is known for the movies Run Lola Run and Blow, as well as being in the Jason Bourne films.
Windy City Times talked with her as her story arc was just wrapping up on "Horror."
Windy City Times: Hi, Franka. How did you first get involved with this role?
Franka Potente: I got asked to take a general meeting with Ryan Murphy. So, I went to the Paramount lot and met him in his very nice office, and I didn't really expect anything until he went right ahead and was talking about a really awesome, cool part that he had for me.
He writes for several series, and he didn't tell me too much. There was really no script at the time, but I was a fan of the first season of American Horror Story and, of course, I said I would be part of anything that he was envisioning for me.
WCT: When did you did you find out you would play Anne Frank?
Franka Potente: That was something that he kind of explained to me without going into detail. Honestly, I think I got the script maybe a week before, and that's when I really found out how it would come about and what was going on with her and all these things, but yes, very secretive and it makes sense. I totally appreciated that because if you watch a show like this, you know all these scripts you don't want to know. With the Internet and everything, stuff gets out so easily that they kind of have to do that.
WCT: Did you have a special connection with this part being German?
Franka Potente: Well, I think [The Diary of a Young Girl, about Frank's writings] is known worldwide. It's probably one of the most famous books ever, and like every other high school student, I read it in school. I visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. I knew things, but I kind of looked at the diary again and I refreshed my memory a little bit. It's one of her landmarks of historic people, heroes, the heroic character I think that when you're a child almost.
WCT: It looked like an emotional part for you. I was touched.
Franka Potente: Yes, totally, in many ways other than expected.
WCT: What was it like working with Jessica Lange and James Cromwell?
Franka Potente: I think in the beginning, it was a little bit intimidating. I remember my very first day of work was only scenes with Jessica, and I think I had about 20 pages of lines. So, I was very, very nervous. I didn't want to mess up.
She was very sweet and kind and very focused, and really embraced working with me and was so great in the scene that it felt really good. I really felt like we worked together. We made it happen and really brought something to the table.
James is just awesome. He is a very curious man, a very knowledgeable man. He loves to talk with you and talk about all these things, so I had an awesome time with the two of them.
WCT: What is the set like on American Horror Story: Asylum?
Franka Potente: The set is pretty eerie, which is great for an actor because we basically we need to step on and the mood is already created. We say our lines and that's that. That's definitely half the magic.
WCT: Did you do research on asylums and the people there?
Franka Potente: I actuallymany years ago, for a German film that I did with Tom Tykwer, The Princess and the Warriorworked at an insane asylum for two weeks. I have very vivid memories of that awkward time. On the other hand, this is set in the '60s, so I think it's very, very different. They averaged a lot of experiments that the contact with patients was very new at the time and stuff was very different.
WCT: How involved is Ryan Murphy with "Horror Story?"
Franka Potente: He just started this new show, The New Normal, so you can imaginethis man has three huge shows, Glee also running on a Paramount lot. So, I ran into him once when I was on my way to lunch and that was like the only time I really saw him while I was shooting this. So, you feel their presence more in the creation than them constantly being there.
WCT: What are your future projects?
Franka Potente: Well, I'm a series regular on a BBC America show called Copper that just finished its first season, and we just got picked up for season two, so that will be six months of my year next year. So, I'll be going back to Canada shooting that and, besides that, I'm a writer. I'm a published writer. I'm working currently on my finishing, hopefully soon, my first novel. So, it's a very different world. So, that's what I'm doing whenever I don't shoot a movie or a TV show.
Watch every Wednesday to see what happens on American Horror Story: Asylum. Visit www.fxnetworks.com/ahs for details and listings.