Casting for American Horror Story season five - titled American Horror Story: Hotel - is currently underway. The acting ensemble is already looking to be rather different than past seasons on the show. Thus far, we have Lady Gaga playing one of the leads; Matt Bomer now confirmed as one of Gaga's costars; and Jessica Lange not playing a character, for the first time on the series.
Lange previously announced her intention to step away from the world of American Horror Story after season four. She confirmed that this is what will be happening over the weekend, during the 2015 Paleyfest panel for FX's popular anthology series. It was during that same event (at the conclusion, in fact) that the news about Bomer came to light; the latter was confirmed for Hotel, along with actor Cheyenne Jackson.
Both Bomer and Jackson have collaborated with American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy in the past, on such projects as the HBO movie The Normal Heart (based on the critically-acclaimed play) and Murphy's high school musical/comedy series Glee. Bomer, per Deadline, responded "I can't confirm or deny that there might be a love interest," when asked about his Hotel character's relationship with Gaga's protagonist.
Lange, for her part, has said that she's stepping away from American Horror Story because it's a substantial time-commitment she's done four years in a row now. However, at the Paleyfest panel, she reiterated that she's proud of the work she and her collaborators have done on the show to date:
“Yes, I'm done. We’ve had a great run here. I mean, I absolutely love doing these four characters, and in all the madness, I love the writers and Ryan (Murphy) and the insanity of shooting it."
Murphy (via Deadline) has revealed that he did scatter clues about American Horror Story season five throughout the show's fourth season, Freak Show. That includes, a reference to the 1935 Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical Top Hat, in the form of an image showing a top hat atop a coffee cup. American Horror Story has often combined theatrical horror tropes with musical genre elements (for most of its run at this stage), so clues like that one suggest this is one thing that won't change with Hotel.
Hotel has been hyped up as being a 'large reinvention' of the American Horror Story formula, but only time will tell how accurate that claim truly is. The show admittedly could use some fresh inspiration, seeing as even many die-hard fans have started to point out that recent seasons have pretty much just repeated what's come before, thematically-speaking (the bizarre characters and erratic plot twists/turns of each season aside).
Gaga and Bomer playing the leads for Hotel sounds interesting on its own. Meanwhile, the eponymous setting could provide a stage for some clever horror set pieces and atmosphere. There will probably be some supernatural aspect to the season's narrative (as is generally the case for American Horror Story), thought hopefully nothing that veers too close to what the series did in season one - a la playing with haunted house tropes as the "Murder House" storyline did.
Murphy, in the meantime, will be launching his latest anthology series later this year: high school horror/comedy series Scream Queens. The latest Murphy creation reads as being something of a mashup of Glee and American Horror Story - something that puts all the more pressure on Hotel to be strikingly different than what's been done on the show before.
American Horror Story: Hotel begins airing on FX in October 2015.