The former "Popular" actress tells TooFab how Ryan Murphy recruited her for all the murder and madness of "American Horror Story" Season 7.
Grossman played fan favorite Mary Cherry on the short-lived WB series, which ran for two seasons and 43 episodes from 1999-2001. She later worked with Murphy on "Nip/Tuck," before finally joining AHS in its seventh season in a full-time gig.
Playing new neighbor Meadow Wilton, Grossman and gay on-screen husband (Billy Eichner) certainly made quite the first impression as a pair of Nicole Kidman-loving, Second Amendment protecting, beekeeping suburbanites who move onto Ally and Ivy Mayfair-Richards' street.
So, how did this freaky gig happen?
"Honestly, Ryan texted me and said, 'I want you to come do Horror Story this next season' and I was like, what, are you kidding?! I didn't know if that was just a whim, if that was something that he meant, but he meant it and I was thrilled," Grossman told TooFab. "I didn't see myself working on 'American Horror Story,' it's not the place you'd ever think of seeing me pop up, but Ryan always has very big plans and ideas and he has a tendency to believe actors can do things before they believe they can do it. I felt like, look, this is a very successful franchise. I don't think he wants to ruin it, so he must know what he's doing by asking me to get involved."
She still had her reservations though, telling TooFab she was "really nervous" when they started filming.
"I was scared. I didn't know if I had what it took," she explained. "When you're going to be doing scenes with Sarah Paulson, you better be on your A-game and I was scared. It ended up being one of the greatest challenges of my career and one of the most rewarding jobs of my career."
Grossman clearly had no problem bonding with the rest of the cast, who took a wild trip to Las Vegas together during the summer for a Cher show. The singer's son, Chaz Bono, also appears on the new season and extended an invitation to his co-stars.
"I have to say that I think it's pretty rare that people who work together want to go away together," she said, adding that they were all surprised by "how die hard of a [Cher] fan Sarah Paulson was until we actually got there."
"I stayed out until 3 in the morning, which to me is crazy because I like to be in bed at 9pm," Grossman continued. "I did feel definitely peer pressured to go to clubs, but I let them bully me into it and I'm glad they did because we had a really good time. It was ridiculous."
Keep reading for more on Grossman's mysterious role, what it was like working with Evan Peters and Eichner and the totally "bananas" twists and turns to come.
We know your relationship with Ryan Murphy goes back to "Popular," tell us how this role came about.
Honestly, Ryan texted me and said, 'I want you to come do Horror Story this next season' and I was like, what, are you kidding?! I didn't know if that was just a whim, if that was something that he meant, but he meant it and I was thrilled. Obviously, I love working with Ryan. I didn't see myself working on 'American Horror Story,' it's not the place you'd ever think of seeing me pop up but Ryan always has very big plans and ideas and he has a tendency to believe actors can do things before they believe they can do it. I felt like, look, this is a very successful franchise. I don't think he wants to ruin it, so he must know what he's doing by asking me to get involved. I was really really thrilled when he invited me.
At what point did you start talking about what the character would be and her relationship with Billy Eichner?
He gave me some really bare bones outline of who Meadow was going to be, which I was really interested in. She's unlike anybody I'd ever played before. And obviously, when I found out I was going to be Billy Eichner's wife, I was thrilled. I'm like a dorky fan of Billy's and I think he thought I was a real loser when he first met me because I could probably quote back everything on every 'Billy on the Street.' It's my favorite show and have watched it over and over again and my daughter and I look at clips on YouTube all the time. I was thrilled. I had never really seen Billy act. I knew Billy was really brilliant and really smart and funny, and I was very happily surprised to see that he's an incredibly skilled and talented dramatic actor.
When did you hear about the Nicole Kidman fan club?
Ryan's a genius. That was all Ryan. And, of course, when I found out about it I died laughing and thought, what a perfect, bizarre layer to add to these characters. I don't know why, but it just makes sense. It works. You're like, sure, of course, they're heads of the Michigan chapter of the Nicole Kidman fan club, why not?
Is there a moment from working with Billy that really stands out?
It's really hard to say one moment because I so thoroughly enjoyed working with him. I want to start laughing when I think about it. We just wrapped, like very early Friday morning, and I have to say that might have been my favorite day with Billy. I can't go into any details why but he just made me laugh for many many reasons. That's one of the things about working on a show, you cannot, there's no spoilers. There's only so much I can reveal!
The preview for next week's episode shows your character playing the pinkie game with Evan Peters. How was it working with him?
I'm terrified to watch that scene because it's not the most forgiving lighting in the world. As a woman of a certain age, I understand the pinkie power light has to be intense, but geez!
Working with Evan was an absolute joy, he's really good and super committed and I was definitely intimidated and that was our first scene together. It's really intense, the first time you work with someone, to be staring directly into their eyes for a very intense scene. He's really kind, really talented and I was just blown away by him. I really enjoyed working with Evan. He's funny and sweet and you don't really see that in his characters this year. I really admire his commitment and the amount of work he puts into ... I'm just awestruck by the amount of work he puts into this. It really takes over his whole life. Ryan spoke publicly of the fact they're having him play several real people and his ability to do that is just so amazing, he's incredible. He's gotta be one of the most talented actors of his generation. I felt fortunate to get to work with him.
Will we see a different side of Meadow?
I will tell you that this season absolutely is terrifying and very scary and also has its tongue planted firmly in its cheek and there's a lot of dark humor. I will say Meadow, while she continues to be the person that you met, things get pretty dark in her corner of the world and it does get really intense. The best thing about this show is you just never know which turn it's going to take and I think the same can be said for Meadow's character. You're not gonna know what she's doing or where she's gonna end up and that's fun.
Now can we talk about that trip to Las Vegas, where you all went to go see Cher? That must have been a blast.
I have to say that I think it's pretty rare that people who work together want to go away together and Chaz was lovely enough to extend the invitation to all of us to join him at Cher's show. Of course, we're all crazy die hard fans. I don't think we knew how die hard of a fan Sarah Paulson was until we actually got there and I witnessed it.
It turned into a really fun weekend and we had a really really good time. I stayed out until 3 in the morning, which to me is crazy because I like to be in bed at 9pm. I did feel definitely peer pressured to go to clubs, but I let them bully me into it and I'm glad they did because we had a really good time. There was a point Sarah and I were laughing to hard that I was like, I don't remember the last time I laughed this hard. It was a great trip. It was ridiculous. Those kind of clubs, it was so hot, and it's those pool clubs where there's 6,000 people in a warm body of water, which is just my nightmare because all I can think about is the amount of bacteria brewing in there. I think people had a really good time making fun of me, like, 'Oh we got mom out in the club.'
We know Ryan loves to bring people back for repeat seasons of Horror Story, would you return?
Are you kidding? With bells on! I would be thrilled to come back. This has been such a great experience and I was really nervous when we started, I was scared. I did't know if I had what it took. When you're going to be doing scenes with Sarah Paulson, you better be on your A-game and I was scared. It ended up being one of the greatest challenges of my career and one of the most rewarding jobs of my career. I loved being a part of it, top to bottom, front to back, it was such a great experience and if Ryan thought of a way to bring me back next year, I would show up early and eager to be a part of it again.
We can't wait to see the rest of this season ...
I'm gonna tell you this: buckle up. It gets crazy. Like bananas, crazy. Whichever way you think it's gonna go, it's not gonna go that way. And then you think, oh it's not gonna go that way, it's gonna go this way, oh no, it's going to take another turn. I think people are really going to enjoy it. I just want to say one thing about this season in particular, people will say to me, oh it's too scary for me and I don't know if I can watch it. Yes, is this show super scary and gory and all of that fun stuff people love about American Horror Story? Yes. But it's also a really brilliantly plotted psychological thriller and there's a lot of puzzle pieces to put together and I think as a viewer it's really rewarding to go week to week to see if your theories are right, to see if it's going in the way that you thought and it's really fun to watch how it unfolds and I mean to the very last scene. You are not gonna know what's gonna happen.
"American Horror Story: Cult" airs Tuesdays on FX.