Tim Minear, executive producer, American Horror Story: Coven (FX, miniseries)
We had a character in the series who was obsessed with [classic rock icon] Stevie Nicks, and we planned to use a lot of her music in the show. Then, amazingly, Stevie herself became available, though we knew we were going to have only a short window with her. When she found out there was a scene where the witches perform what we termed the “seven wonders,” Stevie told [creator] Ryan Murphy, “I wrote a song called ‘Seven Wonders (with singer-songwriter Sandy Stewart).’ ” What are the odds, right? So now, on the spur of the moment, Ryan came up with a brilliant idea: Have Stevie and the other castmembers shoot a 1980s-style music video teaser with that song for our last episode. We had maybe 24 hours to put together this extremely elaborate sequence. Stevie hadn’t performed the song in ages and wasn’t sure she even remembered all of the words. But she came through like a trouper, and we were able to write it, costume it and shoot this very challenging piece that wound up kind of weirdly brilliant.
Watch Stevie Nicks perform ‘Seven Wonders’ in AHS Coven
Season 3 of the FX Network’s hit series American Horror Story: Coven, featuring Stevie Nicks’ music and appearances from Stevie herself, will soon be released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The official release date will be announced shortly. For now, the DVD can be pre-ordered online at Amazon.com.
LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 06: Stevie Nicks appearing at a screening for Fox’s American Horror Story: Coven at the Zanuck Theatre at Twentieth Century Fox Studios on June 6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. She played “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You” and “Rhiannon” on the piano and answered questions about her appearance on the hit FX show.
Stevie returned to American Horror Story: Coven on Wednesday night, appearing in the final episode of the season. The episode, aptly titled “The Seven Wonders” starts like a music video with Stevie returning to the Coven, singing along to “Seven Wonders,” a Top 20 hit from Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 album Tango in the Night. Toward the end of the song, Stevie says “good luck, girls” and turns to exit the house. Fleetwood Mac’s classic song “Silver Springs” was also used for the episode.
The legendary Fleetwood Mac frontwoman, 65, went from inspiring the cult hit American Horror Story: Coven to making an awesome cameo in the Jan. 8 episode. We talk to her about the role — and whether she’ll return to cast more spells.
AHS co-creator Ryan Murphy said it was tough to get you to actually appear on the show. How did he finally convince you?
When they asked if they could use my music, they just said, “There’s a character, and you’re a muse because she listens only to you, and she lives out in the swamp.” And that was good enough for me! [Fleetwood Mac] was in Europe, but we were able to pull up the first couple episodes. Of course, I fell into the spell. Then all of a sudden I had five weeks at home, and I was like, “Can I just do a walk-through? [Like] ‘Hello, witches! Goodbye, witches!” I had no idea I’d be written in until I got to New Orleans. I don’t want to go down in history as “Stevie Nicks: rock & roll star par excellence — terrible actress.” So I didn’t sleep very well.
What was your experience like on the set?
I did these scenes with Jessica [Lange], and I got to really watch an amazing actress act. I realized, Boy this is much harder than what I do. I get on, I’m on for two and a half hours, I get off stage, I get on the plane and go to the next city and order room service.
Murphy says you have tons of script ideas — and that you’ll be back for the Jan. 29 finale.
I know they’re like, “Are you part of the writing team now?” It’s just that I’m so unfortunately full of ideas! I wrote them a letter last night that said, “You know, my friends think I should up rock & roll and just go to work for you.” [Laughs]
The actresses dishes on Ryan Murphy’s show, working with Stevie Nicks and (possibly!) returning for Season Four
Lily Rabe is one of only five actors to appear on all three seasons of Ryan Murphy’s terrifying anthology series American Horror Story. In the current run, Coven, Rabe’s Misty Day has gone from being a Stevie Nicks-obsessed “swamp witch” to an accepted member of Miss Robichaux’s Academy. (Last we saw her, she was being locked inside a coffin by the petulant Madison Montgomery.) Played to near-perfection by Rabe, Misty is one of Coven’s most dynamic characters. And tonight, she finally emerged from that temporary tomb (pretty pissed off, but who wouldn’t be?) Rolling Stone recently sat down with the actress to learn more about Murphy’s macabre show, working with Stevie Nicks and (possibly!) returning for Season Four.
When did Ryan Murphy tell you what he had in story for this season?
When he asked me back, I remember him telling me that I was going to be playing a witch who was obsessed with Stevie Nicks. One of the things that the show has done so well every year are the names of the characters. They’re just flawless. And when you find out your name the information starts to trickle in about your character. It’s a mixture of things you know, things have a sense of and a lot more that you find out along the way (you get the script the day before you’re shooting). It’s all over the spectrum in terms of information, so you just have to be ready to roll with the punches and be on your toes. You have to be pretty game.
You’ve been on all three seasons. Is getting to do something different a big pull?
That, and Ryan. It’s a massively appealing thing; a television show. You have a steady job for five or six months and you have this feeling of family. And yet you get this incredible luxury of playing someone new every year. S0 in that way it’s more like doing a film because you start each season with a beginning, a middle and an end. That definitely keeps me coming back. And I love working for Ryan. He writes such great characters, especially for women.
What was it like to finally meet and work with Stevie Nicks?
Leading up to it, I did all these interviews. I was in such a white hot panic that I wasn’t going to be able to keep my head together. But talking about it and having to answer questions made me amazingly relaxed. Stevie has the most incredible energy and she’s just so warm, so within five minutes I felt like I’d known her for a really long time. There was an enormous amount of ease. And another thing – I got to have such a freak-out as Misty Day that, as Lily, I was able to keep it together.
Can we expect a pissed-off Misty in the finale? Or will she be her usual cerebral self?
She’s definitely a love-not-war kind of gal. She always leads with love and empathy and compassion first. She’s a very sensitive creative. However, this was pretty extreme. She is who she is, but she’s definitely pretty fired up. I would be too.
Between Nora, Sister Mary Eunice and Misty Day, who’s most like the real Lily Rabe? Who is the most different?
Misty Day is the most like me. I share very little with Nora and Mary Eunice. People that I’m closest to in the world have really enjoyed this season because they’ll tell me, “I love that she’s such a goober like you are.” She’s also the closest to me because she’s someone who really, really believes in the goodness of people and she really roots for people. And I love Stevie, too, so we share that. [Laughs]
So are you coming back next season?
I can’t say.
Would you like to be back next season?
It’s a great job and I love being a part of this show. And for all the reasons that we talked about, it’s definitely not something one tires of.
Now that you’ve done ghosts and possession and witches, what’s left?
Oh, man. Anything. I just know Ryan will come up with something better. It would be fun to fall in love on one of his shows. If I’m back, I know it’ll be great and I’ll have great stuff to do.
The “White Witch” finally made her much-anticipated debut last night on American Horror Story: Coven. Yes, the one and only Stevie Nicks popped up as a pal of Fiona’s and gave the Miss Robichaux ladies a little private concert. Elsewhere, Nan, Joan and (maybe?) Misty perished. Plus, Marie did an awesome thing her tongue. EW talked to co-creator Ryan Murphy about all this and more, like which witches are gone for good.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about Stevie first. Did she have a blast? How did she feel about the experience?
RYAN MURPHY: She did have a blast. She was nervous because she’s never acted. But it’s one of those weird things where you mythologize somebody for months and months and months in the scripts and then you tell the actors “Oh by the way, that person is coming.” So the anticipation for her on the set with the cast and the crew was great and everybody wanted to meet her and take pictures with her and talk to her. She’s one of those ladies that’s so gracious. She’s just an amazing soul and kind. I love that she did those songs. She just had a ball. She was also very interested in the acting part of it so she spent a lot of time on set watching them and really getting into it. Everybody couldn’t say enough good things about Stevie Nicks nor could I. She’s a great person.
How did you come up with which songs she sings?
I chose “Rhiannon.” At the end, I definitely knew I wanted her to do “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You” which is one of my favorite songs. I thought it oddly applied to the Jessica Lange character where Fiona has had all these great opportunities and squandered them and is just looking for some peace after her horrific acts. So that was great and Stevie loved that idea. And “Rhiannon,” we put that in the script months ago and at that point I hadn’t even imagined Stevie could do the show. That song is very witchy and fun.
Now, everyone at home can learn to twirl like Stevie Nicks.
I’ve seen her in concert and Stevie Nicks is famous for her twirling and her shawl changes. I said to the writers, “Do you think Stevie would have a sense of humor about this?” Knowing her I thought I think she’ll go for it and she did. Nobody twirls like Stevie Nicks.
Lily is a pretty good twirler.
All the girls watched Stevie Nicks on repeat to get that twirl down, believe you me.
And she’ll be back still?
Yes, she’s the complete cold opening of the last episode.
Can you say if she sings?
Oh yes! Yes! It’s a Stevie Nicks music video extravagaaaaanza!
Misty sort of had the best day and the worst day. She met Stevie and then was buried alive by Madison. Is that the last we’ve seen of her?
Well there’s two things going on with Misty Day. How does one get out of a tomb? Can she get out of it or is she buried alive? We’ll revisit her torment as the clock is ticking.
I think that might have been one of our favorite scenes we’ve ever done with Lily and Emma. I love how Emma twirls away. It was great fun!
Speaking of people dying, is Joan really dead? Also, I love that you got Patti LuPone to drink bleach. Only you, Ryan Murphy!
[Laughs] I know. God bless Patti LuPone. Yes that is the end of Patti LuPone’s character this season.
Have you talked to her about coming back for season four?
You know there’s always a place for Patti on the show. I wanted her to do more episodes. The thing about Patti is she has such an extensive life as a concert vocalist and she travels all over the country. We were just lucky to get her for the number of episodes we did. Everybody knows she’s a great singer but I thought her acting was incredible. I thought she took a very big character and made it very real and relatable and not insane. I think she’s fantastic.
What about Nan? Is she definitely dead?
Nan is sadly gone for good. I can confirm that Nan is no more.
So Marie gives Papa Legba a baby each year to maintain immortality? Does he like eat that baby? What does he do with them?
It’s not always a baby—it’s an innocent soul. I just think he takes them, he collects them. That’s based on a long myth of that character. I like that there’s a voodoo version of the devil.
His look was great. He was sorta like a scarier Rob Zombie.
We worked on his look. He’s a very fascinating character. There’s a lot of pictures of different versions of what he looked like. So we looked a lot of them and took a bit from this and a bit from that but he does have sort of a great Rob Zombie style.
He’s back for more episodes, too, right?
Oh yeah. Papa is back.
One of my favorite moments all season is Angela Bassett sticking out her tongue rapidly and screaming in the opening sequence. Who came up with that?
Alfonso [Gomez-Rejon] is such a great director. I think that’s something that he and Angela came up with together. She’s come up with her own Marie Laveau vernacular and we’re glad she has!
Will the truce between Marie and Fiona hold?
Well we have been building towards a truce and I think the viewers want there to be. If you’re watching the show, you’re very invested in these two powerful women joining forces because then they would be unstoppable. But Fiona is not to be trusted and neither is Marie. Is it real? Do they have an agenda and what is that agenda?
We explore that in the next couple of episodes.
We didn’t see LaLaurie in this episode. Will she be back next week?
Yes. Next week is Kathy’s heaviest episode that we’ve ever done with her on the show. It’s a great episode for her. It’s really upsetting because a lot of it is about the origin story for Madame LaLaurie. We read a lot about her and the question I always had is How does this woman who’s a cultured socialite and someone educated become such a brutal serial killer monster? Where does that come from? What was the first moment where she did what she did? We see that, we explore that. It’s a great Kathy Bates gets her revenge moment.
We didn’t see Queenie either. Is there a chance we’ll see her again?
Yes Queenie is in the next episode. We find out what happens to her.
It seems to be building to a battle between the witch hunters and the covens. Will that happen sooner rather than later?
That’s next week’s episode which is called “Protect the Coven” so all the stories in that are about different people having their own agendas about having to protect that sect of witchdom. There’s a great, great scene that is a big stand-off that we do in there that I give Jessica Lange complete credit for.
Cordelia had such a bummer episode. Will she figure out her place?
I don’t know that she’s so much lost as she doesn’t have a belief in her powers. The question is Can she come into her own? Will she come into her own?
So will things get better for her?
It gets much worse before it gets better, in typical fashion. The next episode Sarah had to do one of the most upsetting things she’s ever had to do on the show but it’s great. She’s really desperate to get that power back and what lengths will she go to do it?
What was Myrtle playing?!
A theremin. If you’re a fan of science fiction films of the ‘50s, it’s connected to horror/outer space movies usually. It’s just a very odd instrument that’s very specific to the sci-fi horror genre. I just thought Myrtle would definitely play and instrument and it had to be the theremin.
One of my favorite images—and this is what the spin-off should be—is Myrtle’s suggestion that Cordelia become a cruise director.
Right? I love that. Poor Myrtle. I thought that was really funny. Myrtle means well but her advice is terrible.
Tim Stack / Inside TV – EW / Thursday, January 9, 2014
Stevie kicked off the winter return of American Horror Story: Coven, appearing as herself in Episode 10, aptly titled “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks.” In the episode, Stevie sang “Rhiannon” (from the 1975 album Fleetwood Mac) and “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You” (from the 1985 album Rock a Little) while playing the piano and acted briefly in the scene, in which she presents Misty Day with a special shawl that had “danced across the stages of the world.”
The video includes all the important and relevant scenes that deal with Stevie!
Stand back, Stevie Nicks fans: The legendary songstress makes her much-anticipated appearance on “American Horror Story: Coven” at 9 p.m. Wednesday on FX.
The longtime Fleetwood Mac rocker, famous for her singular voice, signature shawls and on-stage twirls, has a guest-starring gig on this season’s 10th episode, titled “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks.”
In the show, swamp witch Misty Day (Lily Rabe) is obsessed with the singer. Misty gets to meet her idol in Wednesday’s episode when Fiona (Jessica Lange) invites Nicks to the young witches’ New Orleans home.
Nicks talked about her “AHS” debut during a phone interview Tuesday from her house in Phoenix (edited Q&A below). Nicks hasn’t seen the episode yet; she wants to be surprised when she sits down to watch it later that night after performing a concert in Vegas with Fleetwood Mac.
“I’ll be walking around telling everybody, ‘If you’ve seen it, don’t tell me what happens — or I’ll have to put a spell on you,” Nicks said.
You became friends with “AHS” and “Glee” co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk when “Glee” did its Fleetwood Mac episode. What did you think when they asked you to be on “AHS?”
In my stupid mind I’m thinking I’ll wear a long black dress and walk through the beautiful white house and just say, ‘Hello witches!’ and keep on going.
Were you nervous?
My assistant read the script out loud to me and at the end I’m like, ‘They do know I’m not an actress, right?’ I didn’t sleep too good that night. I was seriously worried I was going to suck. Strangely enough, I walked into that big, gorgeous white house — it’s incredibly similar to my house — and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it’s my house on steroids.’ I just said, ‘Stevie, you’re going to have to focus and listen to what they say. Listen to your director Alfonso [Gomez-Rejon] who’s amazing and listen to all the girls. They’re going to help you.’
You perform two songs in the show. Did you pick them?
They decided everything. I was pretty sure ‘Rhiannon’ would be in it. It’s Misty’s anthem. It’s Stevie’s anthem. I was really glad because that’s probably the only song I sit and play whenever I walk into a hotel that has a piano. I hadn’t played piano in eight or nine months. I’m like, ‘Not only am I going to be terrible at reciting lines but I’m going to make lots of mistakes on the piano because I haven’t played in so long.’ I didn’t [make mistakes], actually. I was even able to look up once in a while. It was pretty great.
Are you worried your appearance on the show will resurrect the witch rumors that have dogged you for so long?
No. Everybody is smart enough to know that I wore black for one reason. Why do we all wear black? Because it makes you look skinnier, of course. When Ryan asked me, he knew about all [the rumors]. He said, ‘I know you kind of had a problem with it.’ I said I don’t have a problem with it. I am a) not a witch and b) even if I was a witch, it’s my life. I’m 65 years old and I can do anything I want. I’m not going to not do stuff because there might be a crazy little bunch of wacko fans out there that are going to take it the wrong way.
You hadn’t seen previous seasons of “AHS” when they first asked to use your music. What did you think when you saw this season’s premiere?
I’ve never been to a horror show in my life, ever. When I saw the first episode I was a little shocked, honestly. I was like, ‘Oh my God, if my mom was still alive, what would she say?’
Why did you let them use your songs in the show?
They basically told me my music was needed because there was a character who was a witch that wasn’t part of the coven, who lived out in the swamp and basically heals people and animals and was really nice. She had no friends, no family. My songs were like her go-to self-help book. That’s how I hope my songs will affect everybody — the same way they affect Misty in the show. So I was thrilled. Misty was going to singlehandedly take my music to a whole new generation of people who probably never heard of Fleetwood Mac or me. That’s that age-14 to age-40 group. What a gift that is for me as a writer to know that my music would be picked up by a whole other generation of young people.
You give Misty your shawl in the episode. Did you give anything to the actress, (Northwestern alum) Lily Rabe, who’s a big fan of your music in real life?
I did give Lily a really beautiful black skirt and velvet jacket that is just fantasmagorical. I just made that word up. She has done me a huge favor by being that girl that takes on my spirit and sends that music out into the world to a whole other generation. There is no greater gift. I thought a beautiful black outfit was the least I could do for Lily Rabe. She lost her mom [actress Jill Clayburgh] not very long ago, one year before I lost my mom. When I wrote her the note that went with her outfit I said, ‘I know you lost your mom and so did I. I’m around if you need me.’ We’ll probably be friends forever.
Television can entail long hours on the set. Was it tiring?
[My routine is] I go into makeup at 5, I go on stage at 8, I come off at 11. I change, get in an airplane, fly to the next city and order room service. This is my life. By the time we got through six or seven hours and they’re like, ‘One more time,’ I’m like, ‘Are you insane? Again?’ Sixteen hours in, I thought I was going to turn into the old crone witch any second. I’d been wearing my high-heeled Stevie boots all day long. I couldn’t have been more tired if I tried.
Would you do it again?
This is a step into a whole other world for me. It does not mean that I want to be an actress. It means that there are other things out there for me to do beside just touring and just singing. I look forward to seeing what happens to me after this. I feel like this is going to change my life in a lot of really good ways. It’s proven to people I can step out of the mold.
Before we hung up, Nicks asked how we were coping with the brutal cold in Chicago. Her parents lived here for three years in the late ’60s while she was in college.
“It was the only move I didn’t make with them,” the Arizona native said. “I went there when they were looking for a house. It was so damn cold I said I don’t think I can live there. And I love Chicago.”
“I know you guys are suffering,” she added. “I just want you to know I’m blowing hot wind toward you.”
Lori Rackl / Voices – Chicago Sun Times / Wednesday, January 8, 2014
The White Witch has arrived! As promised, tonight’s new American Horror Story: Coven will feature a special guest turn from rock legend Stevie Nicks. It’s shaping up to be an exciting episode for Fleetwood Mac fans and Lily Rabes everywhere: Nicks will not only cross paths with her biggest fan, the supernatural swampstress Misty Day (Rabe), but she’ll also perform a certain witchy Fleetwood Mac classic.
Plus, she’s bringing a new course to Miss Robichaux’s Academy: Shawl Twirling 101 (which you can catch a sneak peak of in the video below). EW talked to Nicks about her AHS: Coven debut, meeting Rabe and the gang, and the presents she brought to the set. And if you’re worried about those old rumors about her being an actual real-life witch resurfacing, don’t be: “Don’t you know? I have powers now!” she says.
EW: Ryan Murphy had told us that when he first pitched you to be on the show, you were hesitant. What ultimately made you decide to do it?
STEVIE NICKS: When they called and asked me if they could use my music, they just explained it a little bit: there’s a character, and you’re a muse because she listens only to you — and she lives out in the swamp. And that was good enough for me! I’m like, sure you can! So whether it was a Fleetwood Mac song or Stevie Nicks song, they were going to choose a song that fit into their story. I thought, fantastic — as a songwriter, you could not ask for anything more. And I’m pretty close to them because of Glee, of course. So I said, sure, take my music — absolutely.
We [Fleetwood Mac] were in Europe at that point, but we were able to pull up the first couple of episodes [of Coven]. And I was a little shocked, because I hadn’t seen the first two seasons. So I was kind of like, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Of course, I fell into the spell, so during the tour we would do whatever we could to find that week’s episode.
I had five weeks [at] home, and I was like, you know what? Call Ryan. This is what I said, seriously: Can I just do a walk-through? I’ll just wear a long black dress, really super-super high heels, and be shot from above. I would just walk through and go, “Hello, witches! Goodbye, witches!” I really thought that was going to be it. I had no idea that I’d be written in until I got to New Orleans. I got into the hotel, the script came at 2 in the morning, my assistant read it out loud to me…. Then I walked [onto the set], there’s this spectacular house that’s very similar to my house in a lot of ways. I was like, “Oh my god, did they see my house before they built it?”
How much did you get to dig into the role?
Well, I did these scenes with Jessica [Lange], and I got to really watch an amazing actress act. Because, you know, we’d do something, I’d play piano and then be like, “Well, that was great – we’re done!” Nope. Fifty times later, after they’d filmed from under the piano and hanging from the ceiling and every possible angle, I realize, boy, this is a lot of work. This is much harder than what I do. I get on, I’m on for two and a half hours, I get off stage, I get on the plane and go to the next city and order room service. This is not like that.
Earlier in the season, Lily Rabe had told us that if she were to ever meet you, she “might die on the spot.” Did she survive?
She did faint about 700 times when we were doing that one scene! I was afraid she was going to have to go the hospital. [laughs] She’s really a lovely girl, and she does love my music. Every time I’d play a specific song, she would start to cry. I would say to her, “You know, you don’t really have to cry.” And she said, “No, no — that’s not acting.” So I said, well, then that’s okay, you go right on ahead and cry.
I love Lily. Right before I left, I gave her an amazing black outfit that I’d had a long time. I felt that she should have something, because with her character, she’s really brought a lot of my music to a whole other generation. There’s not enough diamonds and pearls in the world that I could give her to show her how much that means to me.
You give her a shawl-twirling lesson after playing “Rhiannon.” Did you bring your own shawl?
Oh no, that was my shawl [that I wore]. And I brought a couple of really beautiful shawls for [her to wear], but she couldn’t use them because they needed to keep her in hers for continuity. But listen, as far as my signature twirl? Lily needs no coaching on twirling. In the shot, I’m playing, going on and on with the “Rhiannon” take, and I’m thinking she’s just going to drop dead because she’s been twirling for a good minute and a half! So she doesn’t need any pointers from me.
Ryan Murphy mentioned that you’d be returning for another episode later in the season, and that you actually came up with the idea for the scene. Can you tell us anything about it?
It was very serendipitous. I do get on the phone like, “Well, what about this?” I know they’re like, so what, are you part of the writing team now? [laughs] It’s just that I’m so unfortunately full of ideas that they can’t prohibit. So I give my opinion.
So who’s your favorite witch on the show?
Jessica is slinky and sexy and sultry — just the kind of witch I’d want to be. And Kathy Bates is so evil — she’s not even a witch! She’s just an evil, mean, fantastically crazy woman that did horrible, horrible things. And Angela Bassett is just so beautiful, and so voodoo’d out and vibey. She walks into the room, and you’re afraid. So really, all of those ladies.