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Why This AHS Actor Refused To Speak To His Co-Stars On Set

For a certain type of fan, one of the great delights about movies and TV is hearing stories about actors who were willing to put themselves through hell to deliver a memorable performance. You've probably heard some of these stories, like all the times Christian Bale has lost and gained insane amounts of weight for roles, or the way Daniel Day-Lewis never gets out of character on set. Celebrities: they're just like us! Except when they're not.

The A-list actors who go to extremes for their craft tend to get the most headlines, but this sort of acting is actually a lot more common than you might think. Here's one such story about actor Denis O'Hare, who was a main cast member on "American Horror Story: Coven." This was the third season of "American Horror Story," centered around a group of modern witches whose ancestors perished during the Salem Witch Trials. O'Hare found a way to out-creep practically all his co-stars, and he didn't even have to say a word.

When you hire Denis O'Hare, you get total commitment

On "American Horror Story: Coven," O'Hare played Spalding, the butler at Miss Robichaux's Home for Exceptional Young Ladies (via the American Horror Story Wiki). His main identifying feature is that he's completely non-verbal after he once cut off his own tongue in an act of extreme devotion to the coven. To get into character, O'Hare refused to speak on set. The actor shared this tidbit in a 2014 interview with Gold Derby, explaining that he spent his first two months of filming "American Horror Story" silent and only became verbal with his coworkers when Spalding started speaking on the show, which was about six episodes in.

Refusing to speak in a fast-paced environment like a TV production definitely made things awkward. "It made it very difficult to kind of just navigate," he explained. "People would sort of walk into me, they'd walk around me. I was like wallpaper. I would just stand there [with my hands folded] in my little corner, and people would not notice me. They wouldn't ask me things. They would break for lunch and not tell me."

It also made his job more challenging. "It became difficult if I had to talk to a director," O'Hair said. At one point, director Jeremy Podeswa tried to have a conversation with O'Hair, but O'Hair just kept shaking his head "No." But playing Spalding was overall the good kind of challenge, forcing O'Hair to rethink his craft. "Thing about being silent all the time is you realize you stop trying to communicate in words, so you communicate in grand ideas." 

For a role without much dialogue, a lot of work clearly went into it. "American Horror Story: Coven" fans would agree that it was definitely worth it.