'American Horror Story: Coven': Season 3 sees Jessica Lange as Sarah Paulson's mother (and witch!)

jessica-lange-sarah-paulson-american-horror-story-coven.jpgIn what is no surprise, based on the title, "American Horror Story: Coven" is centering around witches, though not every character is a practitioner of the dark arts.

But at the 2013 TCA FX day, Sarah Paulson reveals that she is playing Cordelia, daughter to Jessica Lange's Fiona (and don't think the use of the name "Cordelia" is a coincidence, you Shakespeare fans). Are they a family of witches? We'll have to wait and see.

"Some of us play witches, some play historical characters. I do play a witch. We move back and forth in time, so it encompasses a lot of different stories," teases Lange.

The historical characters she refers to are Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) and Marie Laveau, off whom Angela Bassett says her character is loosely based. And despite the darkness of those characters -- LaLaurie as a famous slave-torturer and Laveau as a Voodoo priestess -- executive producer Tim Minear says the third season of "AHS" will be a lot of fun.

"The fun quotient is high this year," says Minear. "This year is a drama, but there is a lot of humor and there is a kind of -- we are embracing a kind of velocity and fun with the series this year, so it's not the same as it was the last two years, but I think it might be a bit more welcoming to the audience."

Minear adds that the over-arching themes of the season include oppression and also family.

"I think some of the bigger themes this year are oppression of minorities of all kinds. Within that idea, the idea of minority groups sort of going after each other and doing the work of the larger culture for the larger culture," says Minear. "While there is a very strong feminist theme that runs throughout 'Coven' this year, there's also themes of race and themes of oppression. There's also a very strong theme of family and specifically mothers and daughters."

The show is shooting, at least partially, on location in New Orleans, which Lange waxes poetic about, as Kathy Bates cracks that the humidity is not so much fun. But Lange says:

"There is something in that city that is unique in this country. It has a kind of power. It has an authenticity that I think is lacking from most places in this country. It has a sense of history and the people live in the past and the present. It has this -- I remember [Bob] Dylan had a wonderful description of it -- 'New Orleans is one long poem.' Truman Capote said, 'New Orleans is a secret.' There's a sense of place that I think will lend itself over time in a way that the backlot at Paramount never did. There is something about New Orleans that is going to inform all our characters, inform the story, the writing, the look of the place, everything. It's inescapable. ... I've been in love with New Orleans for a long time, so to have the opportunity to work there, it's a great gift."

Minear adds, "We are absolutely dipping into real things in New Orleans. ... Just this week, we shot in a house that is 150 years old. It was taken over by the Union army during the Civil War. You can't beat that kind of verisimilitude in shooting."

"American Horror Story: Coven" premieres in October 2013 on FX.

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