Does your DVR have vacancy? Cheyenne Jackson, out star of stage and screen, is one of the handsome new residents of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s anthology series American Horror Story, which returns October 7 on FX. In the show’s hotel-set fifth season, Jackson plays Will Drake, a father and fashion designer with secrets. We grilled the 40-year-old Glee and 30 Rock alum on costar Lady Gaga and whether or not he has any sex scenes with Matt Bomer.
By Brandon Voss
Next: Many of your costars have worked together before, but you’re an American Horror Story virgin. What’s it been like to join the AHS family?
Cheyenne Jackson: It’s been crazy but so fun. It’s kind of everything you’d imagine. It’s one thing to join an established show that’s won tons of Emmys and has these amazing Oscar winners on it, but it’s another thing to join a show that you’re a huge fan of. I’ve seen every episode of every season — a couple of the seasons twice, because I have Netflix. My first day on set was surreal. My very first scene was with Kathy Bates, who’s literally one of my favorite actresses. Seeing the sets and getting to say these words — it’s amazing, scary, and so exciting.
Did Ryan Murphy sit you down to tell you what you can and can’t tell people about your character?
It’s not as formal as that, but we definitely know what we can and can’t say. Everything is guarded very closely, and that’s part of the fun with a show like this. We don’t know what happens to our characters either — if we live, if we die. I have friends on the show like Denis O’Hare and Sarah Paulson, and they told me to just roll with it and have fun with the fact that you don’t know the outcome.
What can you tell me about Will Drake?
He’s a fashion designer. He’s conflicted. He’s desperate. He’s a dad. He’s very successful, very wealthy. He’s made a name for himself in New York, he’s gotten so much money and acclaim, but he really doesn’t feel inspired anymore. He’s not as relevant or as dangerous as he used to be, so he’s looking for that spark, which he thinks he’ll find by moving to L.A., being in this cultural epicenter of art, and staying at this hotel. He’s having some major personal crises that you’ll see play out in episodes 2, 3, and 4. I’m hesitant to say anything else.
Did any real-life fashion designers inspire your character?
Oh, for sure. There’s a lot of Tom Ford there — not just because my character wears Tom Ford, but there are many parallels. He’s so impeccably groomed. I love fashion as much as the next guy, but I don’t really have my finger on that pulse, so when I get to my trailer every day, it’s so fun to see what I’ll be wearing. Sometimes I know the shoes aren’t even going to be in the shot, but they’re Prada.
Speaking of parallels, you’ve also made the big move from New York to L.A.
Yeah, there are certain things I can relate to with this character, and one of them is making a life for yourself in New York and then basically starting over. I was in New York for 14 years, and being in L.A. for a year and a half has been an adjustment, but it suits me.
We know that Lady Gaga’s character, the Countess, is bisexual. Where does Will Drake fall on the spectrum?
That is under the category of “wait and see.” I wish I could divulge, but, again, that’s part of the fun.
Just tell me if you have any sex scenes with Matt Bomer.
I can neither confirm nor deny. [Laughs] I do have some racy, exciting scenes, but I can’t tell you who they’re with.
You Instagrammed a fabulous photo with Gaga after the Emmys. Are you two getting along famously?
I can’t say enough good things about her. I’ve been a fan of hers throughout her career, and I’m especially a fan of her jazz stuff, because that’s what I do. As a person and as an actress, she’s fantastic. She’s so committed, so prepared, so game, so open. The entire cast and crew is obsessed with her. She’s everything you want her to be and also entirely approachable. I’ve been having a lot of fun with her. After you spend many hours with someone on set, there’s a level of comfort there. Then you watch people flip their shit when they see her at the Emmys afterparty, and you’re like, “Oh, yeah. She’s Lady Gaga!”
I’m totally jealous that you attended Gaga’s recent American Horror Story pool party.
That was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It’s midnight, we’re swimming in this pool that she’d dyed red for us, and Ryan, Sarah, and I are looking at each other, like, “Is this real life?”
Next, September 2015.