One of the benefits of American Horror Story's anthology formula is that the same actors can return over and over again in different roles, as the series spans time from the 1960s setting of Asylum to the modern-day narrative of seasons like Murder House. The fact that many members of the principal cast - including Jessica Lange, Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga - have returned in different roles has raised fan speculation over whether or not the various stories take place in the same universe, and whether there's some bizarre form of reincarnation going on.
American Horror Story: Freak Show will have the earliest main setting of any of the seasons so far. Showrunners Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have set their latest dark tale in Jupiter, Florida, in 1952. As the subtitle suggests, the story revolves around a freak show run by Elsa Mars (Lange), with attractions that include a bearded lady (Kathy Bates), a strongman (Michael Chiklis) and a woman with three breasts (Angela Bassett).
One of the most common performers found in old-fashioned freak shows were people with microcephaly - often exhibited as "pinheads" or "missing links." The ill-treatment of microcephalics has already been touched on in American Horror Story: Asylum with Briarcliff Manor inmate Pepper (Naomi Grossman), a microcephalic woman falsely accused of drowning her sister's baby and slicing its ears off. Now Entertainment Weekly has revealed that Grossman will reprise her role as Pepper in American Horror Story: Freak Show, and released a new still of her alongside fellow cast member Jyoti Amge.
Since Grossman is not microcephalic herself, the make-up process for turning into Pepper takes up to three hours and requires quite a lot of prosthetics - something that we'll no doubt be seeing a lot of in American Horror Story: Freak Show. 20 year-old Amge, on the other hand, officially made it into the Guinness Book of World Records a few years ago as the world's smallest woman. Freak Show marks her first screen acting role, and in the image above her character name is listed as Ma Petite.
American Horror Story: Freak Show is set 12 years prior to the start of Asylum, and Murphy explained to EW that the fourth season will show what happened to Pepper before she ended up in the asylum.
"What Elsa has done for 20 years is she goes around to hospitals and jails and rescues these ‘freak’ circus performers who are going to be shipped away to asylums and she signs the waivers and she becomes their guardians."
The showrunner added that the decision to include a character from a previous season for the first time was not made lightly, but ultimately the writing team decided that it would be "interesting to do." The character of Pepper was pretty popular among fans, so there will no doubt be plenty of people who are happy to see her back.
American Horror Story: Freak Show premieres October 8, 2014 @10pm on FX.
Source: Entertainment Weekly