All signs point to American Horror Story season 3 being its best yet. This may be difficult after the aliens, Santa Claus spree killers, and other general madness of season 2’s storyline, but a glance at American Horror Story: Coven‘s growing cast list indicates that showrunner Ryan Murphy has ambitious plans indeed.

Say what you will about Murphy, but he does have a knack for recruiting top-flight talent. Having already pulled Kathy Bates (Midnight in Paris) in for the new season, American Horror Story: Coven has now signed Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe, star of 2009’s Precious.

Sidibe was announced via Murphy’s Twitter account and she will join a confirmed cast that includes Bates and a returning Jessica Lange (The Vow).

Overwhelmingly known for her Oscar-nominated role in Precious, Sidibe has spent the past few years in smaller parts. She made appearances in Tower Heist and Seven Psychopaths, and has a recurring role in Showtime’s The Big C.

Little is known about American Horror Story: Coven‘s storyline other than it will (obviously) involve witches. Murphy has dropped plenty of nebulous hints during interviews and convention appearances, indicating that the central conflict will be between Bates and Lange’s characters. The new season will, appropriately enough, be decidedly woman-centric – going so far as to (perhaps) feature a female killer/creature in the same tradition of The Rubber Man and Bloody Face.

The exact role Sidibe will play is unclear at this point. If the season does indeed revolve around a coven (or covens) of witches, it’s only logical that she will play one of their members. Given that Sidibe has yet to play any role that’s remotely sinister, one has to wonder whether American Horror Story‘s circle of witches will be (at least initially) more benign than the dark enchanters of folk legend.

Then again, this could be casting against type.  Given how inextricably Sidibe is linked to the meek, beaten-down image of Precious, it would be quite the surprise if Murphy is recruiting her as a full-on villain. After all, American Horror Story has a habit of twisting almost every character into a grotesque mirror. Will Coven show us a whole new side of Sidibe’s talents?

American Horror Story: Coven will air on FX in the fall of 2013

Source: Twitter