Nick Jonas, Janelle Monae, James Corden and more at EW\'s ultimate pop culture festival.
There's a secret season of 'American Horror Story' no one knows about
'AHS: Roanoke' exclusive: This season's HUUUGE twist is coming soon
How 'American Horror Story: Roanoke' connects to 'Freak Show'
a surprise. Production on the series began in June under the cloak of secrecy. Script pages were shredded. Only a handful of execs, including 20th Century Fox CEO Dana Walden and FX president John Landgraf, knew the plot. “Usually when you do a television show you have very many copies of the scripts and they go wide and the cuts,” explains co-creator Ryan Murphy. “We had everybody in the writers room sign a blood oath. We had shredders in the office. I would go around the office three times a day looking for any clue. It was like f—ing Watergate.” Adds co-creator Brad Falchuk, “Anything that had the word ‘Roanoke’ in it was x’ed out.”
Fake plot descriptions were written under the name
(script pages on the set were still marked with the code name well into episode 9 of the season). Actors and producers were forbidden to tweet or talk about the season. “I personally called all the actors,” says Murphy about the cone of silence. “We live in a world where actors don’t just act, they want to tweet. We all had to molecularly change. I like a good bit of publicity. And I love a newsmaking tweet! We just got rid of all of that. But everyday was a conversation, a security meeting. It was a big deal. It was hard.”
The marketing department also played a part releasing a broad swath of teasers that touched on all sorts of horror tropes without fully revealing the
plot. “We’ve always done 20-plus teasers on the show but they’ve always worked within the same theme, “ says FX marketing head Stephanie Gibbons. “It was a like ‘Let’s change it up. Let’s give you guys something else to have fun with.’” Adds Landgraf, “I think part of why people have enjoyed
on Netflix, for example, is that it was unexpected. It wasn’t heavily hyped so they had the pleasure of discovering it. We wanted to figure out how to give the pleasure to give back to the fans and we thought a really fun way would be for them not to know.”
It all mostly worked until TMZ posted pictures of the set in August. “Somebody who I think was paid a lot of money, dressed up as one of our security guards and took photos and then sold them,” says Murphy. “But that didn’t really give everything away.”
To read more on Ryan Murphy, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now – and subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
Murphy doesn’t know yet if he’ll employ the same
-style reveal for season 7 but he does know what the plot will be. “I have been mulling a couple of ideas and I wasn’t loving it,” he says. “Then, I literally sat up and bed and said, ‘That’s it!’ Whenever it happens it’s such a relief because it’s so much pressure. It’s also a narratively strange idea. I’ve already started to call people saying, ‘Put this on your calendar.’ It’s a good one.”
Exes Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato get stuck in an elevator together
Lin-Manuel Miranda shares advice for writers: \'Keep writing\'
Sarah Michelle Gellar describes herself with 3 Shannen Doherty characters
iHeartFestival honors Christina Grimmie with moving tribute
\'Hawaii Five-0\': That impossible cameo explained — exclusive
\'The Simpsons\': Watch the \'Adventure Time\' opening couch gag
\'The Walking Dead\': See Exclusive Portraits From Season 7
See the Voices Behind 40 of Your Favorite Pixar Characters