‘American Horror Story’: What Made Evan Peters Return?

Evan Peters shocked fans when he announced that he’d sit out American Horror Story Season 9 with another primary cast member, Sarah Paulson. Forget vampires, the anti-Christ, and all the other scary things we’ve seen on the show. This was the fan’s true nightmare. When season 10 was announced, the fan’s biggest question was if Peters and Paulson were returning.

After teasing fans for a bit, creator Ryan Murphy announced that Peters and Paulson were returning for American Horror Story: Doube Feature. So far, the new season is already looking good, and it’s partially due to their returns. But what changed Peters’s mind? What made him want to return?

Evan Peters at the premiere of 'American Horror Story: Freak Show.'
Evan Peters | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Why did Evan Peters leave ‘American Horror Story’?

Even though American Horror Story brought Peters success, often playing sinister roles has damaged his mental health. It couldn’t have been easy playing serial murderers like Tate Langdon and James March.

Speaking to GQ about his exit from the show, Peters said, “It’s been all a massive stretch for me and really difficult to do. It’s hurting my soul and Evan as a person. There’s this massive amount of rage that’s been called upon from me, and the emotional stuff that’s been called on me for Pose has been heartbreaking, and I’m sick. I don’t feel good.”

“I’m goofy, I’m silly, I like to have fun. I don’t like to yell and scream. I actually hate it,” he added. “Horror Story sort of demanded that of me. It’s just exhausting. It’s really mentally draining, and you don’t want to go to those places ever in your life. And so you have to go there for the scenes, and it ends up integrating it somehow into your life. You’re in traffic and you find yourself screaming and you’re like, What the hell? This isn’t who I am.”

Certain scenes like the one where he’s having sex with a girl as he slashes her to death in Hotel scarred him. But his mental health wasn’t the only reason for his departure. Peters had a lot of upcoming projects, including Dark Phoenix. Then, he wanted to do a romantic comedy, plus, he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed in the horror genre.

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Who is Evan Peters playing in ‘American Horror Story: Double Feature’?

After doing Cult and Pose back to back, Peters was exhausted. However, he and Murphy talked about doing a comedy or having Peters do a lighter character. He’s a hairdresser in Apocalypse, yet it wasn’t enough to make Peters stay.

But when Paulson said she’d only return if Peters returned, it got the ball rolling for them both to sign on for American Horror Story: Double Feature. So far, Peters’s character this season doesn’t look as dark as some of his other characters, but that can change. He plays Austin Sommers, a creepy, witty writer who takes “the muse” to become rich and famous. He’s buddies with Frances Conroy’s character, Belle Noir, who’s also a successful writer due to “the muse.”

As we’ve seen, the side effect of “the muse” is an insatiable hunger for blood, thus making them bloodsuckers. Austin and Belle have just added two more members of their pack, Finn Wittrock’s Harry Gardner and Harry’s young daughter Alma. That’s all we really know about Austin so far, so we’ll have to see what happens as the season progresses.

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Why has Evan Peters returned to ‘American Horror Story’?

Peters has yet to explain why he’s returned to American Horror Story, but Paulson is probably the answer. As mentioned, Paulson said she’d only come back if Peters did. Then, if Paulson really wanted to come back, all she had to do was convince Peters enough to follow her.

Maybe his time off was refreshing. In 2019, Murphy told Entertainment Weekly that he’d spoken to Peters about returning. “But we spoke in the past month about him coming back to the show some year and I hope we will. I really admired the dedication and the discipline he delivered,” he said.

Whoever and whatever convinced Peters to return to American Horror Story, we’ll be forever grateful. We’re just glad he’s back and doing a great job. Is there a way of downloading Peters’s rendition of “Islands in the Stream”?