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Sarah Paulson: Ratched & Run

Sarah Paulson
Courtesy of the Artist
Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson is an Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor, known for appearances across screens big and small. She's played 11 separate characters in the anthology series American Horror Story (so far), and stars in films like Ocean's 8, Carol, and Glass.

Her latest projects — in the Hulu film Run (out Nov. 20) and the Netflix series Ratched, based on the infamous nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, add to her list of intense, disturbing roles. On NPR's Ask Me Another, she told host Ophira Eisenberg it's ironic to find herself playing these types of parts, joking that she's afraid of her own shadow.

Paulson said, when she was a child, her parents loved watching movies like Nightmare on Elm Street. The films scared her so much, she'd leave her bedroom door open at night. Meanwhile, "my sister would be in the bed next to me, like, 'Freddy's gonna get you.'"

While Paulson said she prefers not to watch her own acting, she broke her own rule for the Netflix series Ratched, where she's an executive producer. "I felt it would be really unfair of me to be shouting about what I thought should be different or other, having not seen it."

Paulson is also a big music fan. For her Ask Me Another challenge, Coulton sang R&B songs re-written to be about other things with an ampersand, like M&Ms, A&P & A&W.

Interview Highlights

On having a devoted cult following grow out of her iconic American Horror Story lines:

The only time it gets supremely weird is when you go to some of these fan events, and they will roll up their arm and show you a tattoo of the phrase. Or, they will ask you to sign that phrase on a piece of paper, and you will see them later at a fan event and they have tattooed that exact, your handwriting on their body. And, it's a lot of dedication. I'm grateful for them, but wow.

On being a bad speller:

I am the worst speller. I am a terrible speller. I had a job at Circle's Pizza, in Brooklyn. Circle's Pizza up there on 15th? I think I worked there for an afternoon, because I got a phone call for an order to be delivered, and they asked me to spell "chicken parmesan," and I didn't know how to spell "parmesan." And I panicked, it never occured to me I could write "chicken parm." I just didn't have the skill. And I remember calling my mother and saying, "How do you spell parmesan?"

Heard on Sarah Silverman, Sarah Paulson, Rickey Thompson & Denzel Dion: Influencers

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