'American Horror Story: Asylum' Interview with Lizzie Brochere: Grace's Shocking Backstory and Those Pesky Aliens
'American Horror Story: Asylum' Interview with Lizzie Brochere: Grace's Shocking Backstory and Those Pesky Aliens
Morgan Glennon
Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Lizzie Brochere might not be American, but the French actress is certainly a big part of the American Horror Story making the second season of FX's terrifying show such a success.

In the last two episodes, we've found out quite a bit about her character Grace's grizzly past. Who knew we'd feel so much sympathy for an axe murderess? It's probably because Brochere plays Grace with such humanity in the face of increasingly crazy plot twists.

Warning: This interview may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

The latest twist of course being Grace's sudden abduction by aliens. Aliens, nazis, and nuns: oh my! American Horror Story: Asylum has certainly been eventful so far. 

BuddyTV was lucky enough to speak with Brochere on a conference call about the alien storyline, the famous historical figure that inspired Grace, and the twisted allure of American Horror Story: Asylum

Is there something you can tease about what's coming up for Grace in the upcoming episodes?

So much is happening to Grace, poor Grace. What I like about my character is it kind of joins a storyline that I cherish a lot, which is the alien storyline. 
 
When you move to the United States for work, which is what I just did, you have a visa where they call you an "alien with extraordinary ability". So ever since I got a foot in the U.S. administration I've been like, 'oh aliens; interesting'.  Aliens are immigrants. 

So when I got the script everything kind of made sense in a way.  It's this idea of foreigners. So I love being close to that storyline because I felt so much myself like an alien.

How much did you know about your character? How much did they keep from you until the scripts came in?

I didn't know anything since the audition scenes had nothing to do with the character.  What I did know from the meeting with Ryan [Murphy] and Brett [Falchuk], was that she was based on Lizzie Borden. 

All of the breakdowns of the character since the beginning, everyone was saying she's very sexy. When I discovered she was raped by her dad during her whole life, that was a big surprise. So that's where that rage comes from, and that's where that sexiness comes from.  So it's way more twisted and painful than I had ever imagined before.

How do you get into character to play Grace?

There's so many different ways, but I think what I worked on the most was that back story you heard. When we started shooting we already had the first four scripts, so I had the back story of Grace in the fourth episode.  

Since she was based on this American character, Lizzie Borden, I read a lot about Lizzie Borden. I discovered a source book with her inquest testimony; I loved reading it out loud.  I thought she was so smart and strangely fascinating, that character. I don't know if it helped my acting, but it was necessary for me to know a bit more of that character who was a very important American figure. I had no clue who she was. 

I did a lot of--this is going to sound weird, but I did a lot of stretching, yoga and dancing, almost ballet. I felt she's very sexy, so you want her to be moving in a smoother way than I do.  

She's somewhere in me- her sarcasm, her way of seeing life and that little liveliness she has.  You know, how she always says amazing lines where you feel like she's a young little Tibetan monk.  It wasn't that hard to tap into her, apart from the killing of my dad and all of that.

Did you watch Season 1 at all? How was working with Evan Peters, who played Tate? 

I have seen Season 1 before, and I have to say that one of the reasons I loved Season 1 was because of Tate. I came out of watching Season 1, and said, "Wow, who's that? He's awesome."  was really excited to be working with him.  

He's great. The thing is since we're in an asylum, we haven't been collaborating much. It's a lot about characters being alone with their little story and kind of colliding in the scenes.

For the first three episodes, I didn't feel comfortable collaborating with him on scenes because you don't want to get too familiar. You want to keep that kind of distance. With four, we kind of bonded and trusted each other more as our characters did.

Is it scary on the set?  Do you get the creeps at all?

I did! Especially in episode four, I did get the creeps because the story was so dark.  For example, when I hide in the closet it's a fake flashback, but we did it for real. 

I hide in the closet, and I go back and I think that I'm saved. Then there's this foot with blood dripping on my shoulder right next to me. So realistic, it was crazy!  I couldn't open the closets after that for a week at my place.

Since the show is called American Horror Story, have you noticed anything particularly American about it as far as the style of horror or just the storytelling, coming from France?

Everything is American about it.  All the myths and legends and the mythology are very American. All of the imagery is very American rooted.  Even the thrill and the excitement of horror is not something that is very French, if that makes any sense.

What do you make of all of that?  Is it interesting to be a part of that now?

It's great! It's fascinating. Also you've exported a lot of that horror mythology, so I grew up in it even on the other side of the Atlantic. I like that, it's exciting. 

American Horror Story is a pretty twisted, dark show.  What do you think it is about this show that appeals to people? And what appealed to you when you were thinking about joining the cast?

What appealed to me is that I had this feeling in the first season that behind all the horror and the sometimes provocative style of American Horror Story, there was something where it was talking about our society nowadays. That's where the horror was rooted. What I loved about the second season was that it was even more of that for me. 
 
I could feel this asylum as some kind of purgatory, but one that felt familiar in a 2012 society.  To have all these paths of religion, science, and psychology with the characters of Sister Jude, Dr. Arden, and Dr. Thredson. Each of them is trying to understand or give answers to the unknown or the unknown that you can have in the human being. All of them are failing in their quest and at the same time being beautiful in it, and horrible. 
 
I love that place of trying to understand human nature and the darkness in it. Trying to go beyond the labels and the comfort zone of normality.  Questioning what's normal and what's not; what sane and what's insane; what's bad and what's good.  When you're honest with those questions the frontiers are so, so much greater than what we pretend they are. So all that was just fascinating for me.  

We're on episode ten right now and all these scenes are getting so much sicker, and I love that.

American Horror Story: Asylum airs on Wednesdays at 10pm ET on FX. Add it to your watch list to keep up to date on all the horror with the BuddyTV Guide App for iOS

(Image courtesy of FX)