“American Horror Story: Hotel” returns the show to L.A., the setting for season 1, Murder House. Described by cast and crew as noir-ish, creator Ryan Murphy says this season deals with real American horrors, like drug addiction. Click here for more on the Hotel theme and its mysterious real life inspiration. Season 5 premieres on FX on October 7.
Lady Gaga as Elizabeth (aka The Countess).
She’s the hotel’s owner. Even though actors not known for singing featured in musical numbers in seasons 2, 3 and 4, word is that the pop icon will not. Hotel marks her “AHS” debut. According to Billboard, after the first week filming, the cast and crew are already lauding the newcomer. And, as proof of her fabulousness, she threw a cast party earlier this week and dyed the pool blood red! Murphy describes her role, “She is a very wealthy social doyenne who is consumed with art, fashion and people, and she has a nefarious plan that is revealed in the first episode that plays out over the season.” She will have sexual relationships with at least 4 characters (3 male and 1 female).
Kathy Bates as Iris.
She runs the hotel. Bates says Iris loves crossword puzzles and describes her as sexy. Academy Award winner for “Misery,” Bates played Delphine LaLaurie in Coven and Ethel Darling in Freak Show.
Matt Bomer as Donovan, Iris’s son.
He lives in the hotel and has a discordant relationship with his mother (Bates). Following involvement with Elizabeth (Gaga), he’s rejected when she takes up with Tristan (Wittrock). Star of USA’s “White Collar,” Bomer worked with Murphy on the HBO film “The Normal Heart” and appeared in an episode of “Glee.” He also appeared in one episode of “AHS” Freak Show as a hustler, gruesomely murdered by Dandy (Wittrock).
Denis O’Hare as Liz Taylor.
Even though the show has featured historical celebrities, not so in this case. He’s a fan and imitator of the movie star, and works for Iris in the hotel’s bar, The Blue Parrot Lounge. O’Hare played Larry Harvey in Murder House, Spalding in Coven and Stanley in Freak Show.
Evan Peters as Mr. March.
No dish yet on this character. Could Murphy’s suggestive tweet “this season, Evan Peters will be waiting for you in Room 64” mean he’ll once again play a ghost, as in season 1? Could Mr. March mean he’s a calendar pin-up? Peters played Tate Langdon in Murder House, Kit Walker in Asylum, Kyle Spencer in Coven and Jimmy Darling in Freak Show.
Cheyenne Jackson as Will Drake.
He’s a fashion icon who’s a “little desperate” and moves from NYC to LA “trying to creatively re-establish himself” (according to Jackson in Popsugar). His cocky and controlling behavior angers others. He’s also one of Elizabeth’s conquests. Although this is Jackson’s “AHS” debut, he appeared on 3 episodes of Murphy’s “Glee” and boasts an impressive resume of stage, big and small screen roles, including a lead role in “United 93″ and twelve episodes on “30 Rock.”
Finn Wittrock as Tristan Duffy.
He’s a drug-addled male model involved with Elizabeth (Gaga). Wittrock joined AHS last season as spoiled brat turned twisted killer Dandy Mott. Prior to that, he appeared in Murphy’s HBO film “The Normal Heart.”
Sarah Paulson as Hypodermic Sally.
Another drug addict, hotel resident and enemy of Iris. Happily surprised to learn Paulson would return to “AHS” after being cast in a lead role in Murphy’s new show “American Crime Story.” The anthology show’s first season The People vs. O.J. Simpson has Paulson playing head prosecutor Marcia Clark. Paulson was Billie Dean in Murder House, Lana Winters in Asylum, Cordelia Foxx in Coven, and Bette and Dot Tattler in Freak Show.
Angela Bassett as Ramona Royale.
Bassett said, “I have a very strong, real, lasting relationship with [Lady Gaga] character, so I’m sure I’ll be at odds with [Finn Wittrock] down there. My character is this fabulous actress of the day. I don’t live at the hotel, but I visit very often” (according to TV Line). She played Marie Laveau in Coven and Desiree Dupree in Freak Show.
Wes Bentley as John Lowe.
He’s a detective who stays at Hotel Cortez to investigate gruesome murders and becomes entangled with Sally (Paulson). Known primarily for his role as teen Ricky in “American Beauty,” Bentley debuted in “AHS” in the two-part Halloween episode of Freak Show as Edward Mordrake.
Chloë Sevigny as Alex Lowe.
She’s a doctor and John’s wife. The couple are grieving a personal loss. (A child perhaps?) Sevigny, nominated for an Oscar for “Boys Don’t Cry,” appeared in the opening episodes of “AHS” Asylum as Shelley.
Emma Roberts as Madison Montgomery.
YES! Looks like Roberts will reprise her Coven role. Another surprise that Roberts would return to “AHS” after being cast in the lead in Murphy’s new show “Scream Queens.” In the new hour-long horror comedy, she plays the head of a sorority and clashes with the dean, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. The dean forces the sorority to accept all new pledges, after which a murder spree ensues. Madison appears in the last 4 episodes of “AHS” Hotel in a story arc with Evan Peters, her real life ex-fiancé. Besides Madison, she played Maggie Esmerelda in Freak Show.
Lily Rabe as Aileen Wuornos.
Rabe portrays the real life serial killer in the two-part Halloween episodes, titled Devil’s Night, which Murphy himself will direct, saying he just couldn’t give them away. Previously, Rabe played Nora Montgomery in Murder House, Sister Mary Eunice in Asylum and Freak Show, and Misty Day in Coven.
as a woman with a sick son, treated by Sevigny’s character. Amick, a “Twin Peaks” alum, also starred in Lifetime’s “Witches of East End.” This is her “AHS” debut.
as an addict. The “New Girl” star dyed his hair blonde and lost A LOT of weight for the role. Might he be playing Amick’s sick son? This is Greenfield’s “AHS” debut.
as a fashion editor. According to TVLine, Elizabeth (Gaga) confronts the supermodel’s character, who pays the ultimate price for her critiques. Campbell is new to the show this season.
Darren Criss as Justin,
a hipster. The “Glee” star checks into Hotel Cortez with his girlfriend and annoys Iris with too many requests. Previously, Criss wrote and starred as Harry in “A Very Potter Musical,” a parody based on the Harry Potter books and movies. This is his first time on “AHS.”
Helena Mattsson as Agnetha.
IMDb shows the star of “Species: The Awakening” slated for only the opening two episodes. Might she be one of the first victims? Hotel marks the “AHS” debut for the stunning Swede.
Richard T. Jones
as L.A. homicide Detective Hahn. Jones was a regular on “Judging Amy” and appeared in “Godzilla” (2014). Although Hotel is Jones’ debut on “AHS,” he’s worked with Bassett before. One of his first roles was playing Ike Turner, Jr., in “What’s Love Got to Do with It” (1993); Bassett played Tina.
works in the laundry at Hotel Cortez in the 1930s. Gordon Northcott (the Wineville Chicken Coop Murderer) kidnaps her son. This true horror story previously featured in the 2008 Angelina Jolie film “Changeling.” Winningham appeared in an episode of Coven as Kyle’s molesting mother and in an episode of Freak Show as Pepper’s cruel sister Rita.
Christine Estabrook as Marcy (left, pictured with Nicollette Sheridan).
Estabrook reprises her role from season 1 as the realtor who sold the Harmons the Murder House. She’s been pictured in a scene with the new guy in town, Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson), and his son, as the realtor showing them around the Hotel Cortez. Ryan Murphy has also revealed that Hotel will return to the Murder House for an episode, so Estabrook may be involved in that.