American Horror Story has always had an eye for the fantastical. Across its six seasons, it's covered a haunted, murder-driven mansion, an alien-adjacent psychiatric institute, an ancient witch coven, a '50s freak show, a ghost-ridden hotel, and a reality show-style dive into the lost Roanoke colony. It came as a surprise, then, when showrunner Ryan Murphy revealed earlier this month that season 7 would focus on something a little more true to reality: the 2016 presidential election.
The theme makes sense given the country’s current political climate, but it’s also a bit outside of Murphy’s purview, as AHS tends to veer toward the more campy and absurd. Still, last season’s Roanoke proved Murphy has a penchant for social satire, and if you want a modern nightmare, the 2016 election is certainly rich in source material — regardless of what side you're on.
But now, as reported by IndieWire, Murphy clarified that AHS' next installment won't be a literal interpretation. While at the Publicists Guild Awards Luncheon in Beverly Hills on Friday, he told the audience that President Donald Trump and his former democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won't be characters in the show:
“The themes of American Horror Story have always been allegories. You will not see Trump and Clinton as characters on the show.”
However, he did joke that series regular Sarah Paulson would have delivered a spot-on take on Kellyanne Conway, Trump's aide. “Now as I look over at Sarah Paulson, I think of Kellyanne Conway. I don’t know! I might be rewriting!” he teased. (So far, Paulson and fellow anthology favorite Evan Peters are the only announced cast members for AHS season 7.)
It's tough to imagine an election story without Trump and Clinton, though assumedly Murphy will feature characters of a similar nature, just with different names and a more parodic tone. Most of the AHS narratives seen thus far have been rooted in either the supernatural or gruesome — vengeful ghosts, unhinged serial killers, or in some cases, both — so it will be interesting to see how Murphy translates something drawn directly from real life.
It's also a rather bold direction, as AHS has a quite contentious history when it comes to its fan base. Often times, the seasons spark a "love it or hate it" reaction, and based on the conversations happening around politics off-screen, an AHS election story could very likely be its most divisive installment yet.
American Horror Story season 7 premieres this fall on FX.