Lady Gaga on ‘What It Means to Be on [American] Horror Story’: How Ryan Murphy ‘Takes Care’ of His Actors

Lady Gaga’s Oscar-nominated turn in A Star Is Born (and the subsequent romance rumors that followed suit) has managed to overshadow her previous on-screen appearances. Yet, before Bradley Cooper gave the pop icon a shot at one of the most coveted leading roles — previously performed by Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand — Ryan Murphy saw her vast potential. Lady Gaga portrayed the hedonistic, blood-sucking vampire The Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel. 

Lady Gaga and Ryan Murphy
Lady Gaga and Ryan Murphy | Stefanie Keenan / Contributor

The Countess went on to earn the “Poker Face” singer a Golden Glode and helped to catalyze her film career. Before AHS, Gaga boasted small roles in Machete Kills and Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill for.

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gaga spoke about Murphy and AHS, noting the directors’ inspiring degree of creativity and artistic vision, as well as how much she learned about acting from him. Gaga also explained what it’s like to be on a macabre Murphy set. 

Lady Gaga talks about Ryan Murphy’s duality — balancing light and dark

While the AHS set — in all its dark, gory, and supernatural splendor — can be a bit heavy on the heart, Murphy has a “lightness” that helps with counterbalance. Gaga explained: 

“He has a lightness in him that helps with the darkness. He has that yin yang thing happening where he can do all this dark stuff and then be like the most positive, amazing, funny person you’ve ever met, and he’s teaching me how to be that way…” 

Gaga | THR

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Gaga noted that Murphy is able to create an environment that allows the actors to flourish — tap into the darkness required, without utterly succumbing to it. 

Lady Gaga says Ryan Murphy takes care of his actors 

Gaga explained to THR:

…”It’s very hard to walk around his [Murphy’s] sets all day, working with dead bodies, and killing people, murders, it has to be real for me, and it is for all the actors. So, the way he takes care of us, you know, this is what it means to be on Horror Story, it means to be in a truly immersive, artistic experience, where everybody’s just going all the way.” 

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While the AHS set is an immersive experience — filled with murder, deceit, backstabbing, and more, there is a bond between those on a Murphy set — there is a trust. And, Murphy, in balancing his dark and light natures, is teaching Gaga (and likely others) how to be true to both forces simultaneously.