Ryan Murphy, ‘AHS’ Stars, Gwyneth Paltrow & ‘Glee’ Alums Celebrate ‘Scream Queens’

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Back On? Emma Roberts and Evan Peters Hang Out at Scream Queens Premiere.

Lea Michele’s journals from the time she’s spent in New Orleans filming Fox’s comedy-horror anthology “Scream Queens,” which debuts with a two-hour premiere at 7 p.m.

At the Television Critics Association press tour in August, Jamie Lee Curtis, who plays a frustrated dean trying to wrangle an out-of-control sorority in “Scream Queens,” a mashup of a sorority drama and a horror premiering on Fox tonight, asked if she could talk a moment about creator Ryan Murphy’s approach to satire. “We are the actual people that say the horrible things,” Curtis said. “And actually, we say what people think.Glee executive producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan have cooked up another primetime confection, and this time, it’s a wicked fun ride set at Kappa Kappa Tau, a college sorority house.Lea Michele might star on Ryan Murphy’s latest horror series, Scream Queens, but that doesn’t mean she’s immune to fear, as the Glee alum proved on Ellen.Forget unmasking the Red Devil – the real mystery for Scream Queens viewers to solve is whether leading lady Emma Roberts is really back with her ex-fiancé Evan Peters.

I’m hungry,” said producer Ryan Murphy, as he greeted Fox bosses Dana Walden and Gary Newman Monday at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, as the two-hour “Scream Queens” screening (well, “screaming,” according to the invite) let out into the premiere party. Host Ellen DeGeneres chatted Michele up for a few minutes about her new show, New Orleans, and scary movies in general before a man dressed as Halloween’s Michael Myers popped out of the table sitting between their two chairs. Though Roberts, 24, walked the red carpet at Monday night’s premiere with her sister, she sat with Peters, 28, inside the screening, and the on-again, off-again couple seemed inseparable throughout the night. A mohawked Murphy, dazzling in a show-stopping sparkly pink blazer draped like a cape over his shoulders, headed into the main room where food stations were set up like a sorority dining hall, complete with a closet-adorned bar — leopard-printed shoes were placed next to cups and cocktails. A veteran of the New Orleans-filmed “Coven” and “Freak Show” seasons of “American Horror Story,” Roberts has acted as concierge for Michele as she found here way around town. “I literally text her and I say, ‘OK, I want a quiet Italian restaurant with outdoor seating and pizza on the menu — go!’ Michele said. “And she’ll literally say, ‘Mariza.’ I feel bad for her, writing her every single day.

And the thing that’s so brilliant about this show is it strips away, it flays the imagined behaviors of human beings, and it actually shows, I think, what people really are, which is inherently dark, inherently unhappy, and angry, frustrated human beings, who are trying so desperately to hold it together. In their place are college couture and utter disdain for those who don’t live up to the high standard set by Chanel (Emma Roberts), the sorority’s queen bee. As Chanel Oberlin, Roberts revels in a role she seems born to play: a vicious, conniving, sharp-tongued and lethally ambitious young woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. She gushed about the restaurants—which she says are turning her into a Pilates fiend—the welcoming residents, and even the swamp tours, admitting excitedly that she once even got to feed a gator.

And this show peels off those masks each week, and it’s brilliant.” It was an explanation that crystallized for me why I often find Murphy’s shows so frustrating, even as I recognize his singular vision and crisp aesthetic style. It got even more adventurous in the city when Michele described one shoot where she had to be buried up to her neck in the dead of night in the New Orleans soil for a scene. And from there, things went from bad to worse. “Then, we were out in the swamp tour for two hours and I had to pee,” added Roberts, who came to the premiere dressed in Alexander McQueen. “So they made me pee in a cup on the boat!” “I think the hardest part is walking up and down the huge dramatic staircase in six-inch heels at 6 in the morning,” she said, laughing. “That’s what I dread every day! Though execs, agents and talent at the party were joking they were barely standing on two feet after the weekend’s jam-packed schedule, Walden and Newman were talking to guests about Andy Samberg’s stellar host performance, while also chatting about Fox’s big upcoming TV premieres from “Scream Queens” to “The Grinder” with Rob Lowe and John Stamos’ “Grandfathered.” Many “Glee” alums celebrated with Murphy in the mock sorority house, from Heather Morris to Chord Overstreet and Gwyneth Paltrow, who stunned in white, as co-creator Brad Falchuk‘s date. We meet the newest KKT pledge class and quickly see that Chanel does not want to recruit anyone who doesn’t conform to her idea of future minion or a perfect KKT gal.

Paltrow also had fun girl talk with “Scream Queens” star Skyler Samuels, who also had a stint in Murphy’s “American Horror Story.” Many “AHS” cast members — Matt Bomer, Naomi Grossman, Finn Witrock and Evan Peters — were also on hand to honor Murphy’s latest project. Saturday (Sept. 26) at Garden District Book Shop when Michele signs her new book, “You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life.” A sizable crowd is expected.

But his true sympathy is with his vicious sorority girls, his homophobic mothers, his tyrannical cheerleading coaches, and the campy, brazen, often deeply unhappy women at the heart of his shows. Munsch has it in for Chanel because she thinks Chanel is responsible for the death of the former KKT president, even though Chanel claims she had nothing to do with that unfortunate incident — which involved a spray tan gone horribly wrong. And Murphy’s real gift isn’t to destroy them, but to get inside their minds and understand how their ugliness works, where it comes from and how it might be possible for them to move beyond it. Michele, whose 2014 book “Brunette Ambition” was part memoir, part fabulosity how-to, is an exemplar of aspirational journaling. “My history with journaling began back in about 2007,” she said during a recent phone interview. “I was working on Broadway, and my best friend Jonathan Groff, who was in the show with me – ‘Spring Awakening,’ it was very successful on Broadway at the time – would perform a three-hour-long, very dramatic, intense performance, and he would sit in his dressing room for an extra hour after the show to journal. “I had never journaled before.

Murphy has a style of dialogue that’s as distinct and snappy as Aaron Sorkin’s, and much of it’s dedicated to viciousness, some of it very funny. If we laughed at the Archie Bunkers of the world — Murphy reveres Norman Lear, the creator of “All in the Family” and other socially conscious sitcoms — the alchemy of Murphy’s dialogue is often to get us to laugh along with the ugly, racist, homophobic things his brutal blondes sling as casually as a “hello.” Listening to Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), the fascist cheerleading coach on “Glee,” summon a group of students by declaring “Santana! I would watch him journal, and I eventually sort of started to want to do it myself. (I liked) the fact that he was getting to write down all of these memories and all of these feelings and have something that he could look back on.” “Less stories and retelling of my day and whatnot, but more setting goals for myself and more journaling about what I wanted to do and making plans through the journaling,” she said. “It’s a specific type of journaling. Throughout the years, however many years ago now, I really believe it’s helped me get to where I am today — writing down my goals, writing down my dreams and making them happen.” The proof is in the pages.

The actress understandably shrieked and then finally caught her breath until DeGeneres had producers roll back the tape and relish in the embarrassment as the prank unfolded one more time. After running into Chanel at the campus coffee shop The Grind and witnessing more of her dangerously obnoxious behavior, Grace resolves to be the change she wants to see at KKT. With the help of barista and aspiring investigative journalist Pete Diller (Diego Boneta,) Grace thinks she sees a way to expose Chanel and oust her and her minions from the house. Shaft!” may reveal that she’s a racist, but Murphy can’t help but give her enormous flair and the kind of deranged self-confidence that carries through to viewers at home.

She wasn’t sure when she’d wrap because of the nature of the story – a mysterious killer serially attacks a haughty college sorority – and how her character might exit it. “It’s fun and funny, but it’s a lot of work,” Michele said. “We’re really putting our blood, sweat and tears into the first season of this show to make sure it’s the absolute best it can be.” “New Orleans is honestly such a welcoming city,” Michele said. “Everyone here has been so nice, and just really have been so wonderful in opening their arms to us as a cast. Scream Queens owes more to the movie Heathers than Mean Girls, which is meant as a compliment — its writing is scathing, sarcastic, and darkly funny. Watching Jane Forrest (Ellen Barkin), a conservative Ohio resident who is horrified when her granddaughter (Georgia King) agrees to become a surrogate for a gay couple (Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha), grouse “Would you just look at all the money these homos spend on decorations? Sue Sylvester turns out to have a sister with Down syndrome and to be mentoring Becky Jackson, a student with the same condition, to encourage Becky to think of herself as tough and fabulous, rather than defined by her disability. Oliver Hudson brings some gravity as Grace’s dad Wes, who’s the only person worried about his daughter living on a campus where there’s a killer on the loose.

Though Jane Forrest moves to California unwillingly, her new circumstances introduce her to the kinds of sexual and professional satisfaction she was denied in her own life. Props also have to be given to the minion Chanels, Ariana Grande, Billie Lourd and Abigail Breslin, though we don’t get to learn much about them in the premiere.

In a way, Murphy’s characters are high-camp versions of Mary Dorman (Catherine Kenner) from David Simon’s recent HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero.” In that show, Dorman was energized by the fight against affordable housing that would move black Yonkers residents into historically white neighborhoods. Over the course of the series, she became disillusioned with some of the blunter manifestations of racism among her fellow activists, and found new purpose by mentoring the families who were moving into their new homes. And we sort of were interested in sort of mirroring that idea, but, unlike that girl, who apologized, sort of bringing our queen bee character to some sort of awareness about her behavior and why she is doing these things. And that certainly is part of the show.” Maybe in a moment of intense scrutiny of the politics of pop culture it’s easier to sell a show like “Scream Queens” as satire, a moral fable that will result in Chanel Oberlin’s eventual improvement, than as an ultimately somewhat sympathetic look at a nasty, retrograde person. And given that Ryan Murphy’s bad blondes so often have more fun than the virtuous people who surround them, acknowledging that happiness and goodness aren’t always the same thing might be a sharper strike at our present hypocrisies than any revenge of the nerds.

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