Zachary Quinto has shown that he can play evil brilliantly as he did as Heroes' Sylar, but his turn on American Horror Story:Asylum was quite unexpected. Dr. Thredson seemed to care about doing right by Kit and Lana and he ranted about the abhorrent conditions at Briarcliff, but all the while he was Bloody Face. A killer.
The day after Dr. Thredson's true identity was revealed, Quinto spoke with reporters about the show and this surprising reveal.
American Horror Story: Freak Show is available on Amazon Prime.
When did you know that Dr. Thredson was Bloody Face? Did you know from the beginning?
Yes, I knew from the very beginning. It was part of the conversation that I had with Ryan [Murphy] about me coming back to the second installment of the show, in the first place. It very much informed the character that I was building from the beginning.
As a result, I felt like my responsibility became to create a character that people could trust, or at least trust initially, and have some hope that perhaps he is actually the one voice of reason and sanity within this chaotic world. So it was actually more exciting for me to know from the beginning. It gave me more to play with and more to hold back and more secrets to keep.
Now that we know Thredson's secret, are we going to find out why he's doing this?
Yes, next week's show is called "The Origins of Monstrosity" and so it really dives into a lot of the roots of the characters in this world in Asylum. So yes, a lot of things will become clearer and probably even more disturbing in the next couple of weeks.
Was everything that we've seen so far about Dr. Thredson a ruse? Or is there a side of him that deeply believes in the psychiatry part?
I think he definitely believes in it. I think part of being a psychopath is an ability to dissociate from one reality and create another one completely. I think he does that expertly. I think his level of training, medical training and intuition instinct--I think he's very skilled.
I mean, that's what allows him to get away with it as long as he does. So yes, I think he does believe in it, which is kind of another layer of tragedy of the character is that he could have been something else. He could have made a more significantly positive contribution had he only rechanneled his traumas, his energy.
What can you say about the victims that Dr. Thredson's targeting?
... You'll find out much more about that in the coming weeks, so I won't spoil it by being too specific. But it all traces back to one source of trauma that then sort of branches out to include all of these unfortunate women.
As with the first installment, Briarcliff is like a character on the series. Can you talk a bit about how the environment helps you get into character?
Yes, that's a great observation, because I think that our production designer and the art department-- they've done such an extraordinary job of creating this immensely oppressive, overwhelming environment, which does have actual characteristics depending on what part of the set you're shooting in. I just think it's a gold mine of information and opportunity for action and activities along the way. It's just such a full environment that we work in.
It's great; and that continues in the coming weeks because you get to see much more of the lair in which Lana is being held captive and a lot of their scenes take place. Yes, I think the asylum itself, I think the hydrotherapy room and what that invokes and what happens in there, I think the bakery and the grand hallway and all the cells and the offices, and that institutional feeling, that heavy-footed, oppressive, concrete olive green kind of brown-beige.
Was Dr. Thredson trying to help in any way with the aversion therapy? Because now after the Bloody Face reveal, it's seems like it was sort of test.
Yes, I think it was a test and I think a lot of his actions in the first four and a half episodes of Asylum were serving some ulterior motive. So I think he was trying to gain Lana's trust; gain some proximity to her and some intimacy with her.
As barbaric as we can see it today, at the time it was a pervasive social mentality that homosexuality was something that could be treated medically or psychologically. So I think to that end, he was implementing the forward thinking of the time to try to help her, or try to feel like he was helping her, to make some effort to get her out of there. Then it put him in a position when it didn't work to devise a more radical approach to getting her out; that she would then be more likely to go along with because he's already tried the more prescribed route or institutional route.
Let me see if I can prove that I've cured you, then they have to let you out. But when that doesn't work, and he knows it won't I think on some level, then he can sort of be more radical about it and she already has more faith in him. She already has trust in him, so she's more likely to go along with it. I think it's kind of a manipulative tactic that worked to a tee for him.
American Horror Story airs on Wednesdays at 10 pm ET on FX.
(Image courtesy of FX.)