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American Horror Story's Leslie Grossman Calls Margaret A Gift From Ryan Murphy

Compared to some other long-timers in the "American Horror Story" repertory, Leslie Grossman is something of a recent arrival. She first showed up in Season 7 of the anthology horror show, "Cult," as Meadow Wilton, an unstable member of the titular cult who just can't seem to unwind from around Kai Anderson's (Evan Peters) finger. She's been in every season since then, playing everything from a strong-willed and cruel talent in the first half of "American Horror Story: Double Feature," to a doomed and troubled woman going through a divorce in "NYC." Despite not even being much of a horror fan, Grossman seems to really like what she does on these series.

But there is one role in particular that, at the time at least, seemed to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Speaking with GameSpot Universe at the celebration of the 100th episode of "AHS," Grossman was asked which of her roles on "American Horror Story" was her favorite. "Hands down, Margaret," she answered, referring to her "1984" character, psychopathic serial killer-turned-real estate mogul Margaret Booth. "I've been very lucky in that I've gotten to play Meadow, I've gotten to play Coco [St. Pierre Vanderbilt, from 'Apocalypse'], and they all had their own colors, and it was a joy to play all of them. But Margaret was really Ryan Murphy giving me a gift, and saying 'I'm gonna give you something really fun and really special."

Playing the villain can be fun

Of course, there's the obvious question an actor who enjoys playing horror inevitably comes up against, and Leslie Grossman seems aware of it. "I don't know what it says about me that I'm having the time of my life playing a horrible, psychotic, vicious, awful killer," she continued, "but it's just been the most fun for me." 

Grossman is far from alone. Many actors famously love to play the villain as it gives them a chance to explore some forbidden or taboo facets of the human mind. Even actors with widespread reputations for being incredibly warm and decent people are able to really sink their teeth into villainous characters. For example, Bryan Cranston comes to mind for his portrayal of Walter White, who does some truly evil things over the five seasons of "Breaking Bad."

Still, for Grossman to say that "AHS" creator Ryan Murphy is giving her a gift is not nothing. Taking into account the whole scope of her resume, she has technically been familiar with what it means to work in Murphy's oeuvre for more than twenty years. Between 2003 and 2008, she appeared three times in "Nip/Tuck" as the character Bliss Berger. Before that, she played unhinged and spoiled cheerleader Mary Cherry in all 43 episodes of the WB's "Popular," the show that arguably put Murphy on the map.