In ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show‘ showrunner Ryan Murphy claimed that we would be introduced to the scariest clown of all time and John Carroll Lynch,who has fully embodied that statement, sat down with Collider to talk a little about his work in the role. With Pennywise long being one of the strongest contenders of the title, it would seem a bit much that a television show would give us a clown that was the new champion of terror. but Murphy has delivered in spades with his creation.
When asked if he knew how much people were already freaked out by clowns, Lynch commented:
“Yeah. My family has a few people who are afraid of clowns and, for the most part, this won’t help them. I’ve told them not to watch and, hopefully, they’ll heed my warning. I’ve never been a person who’s afraid of clowns. And gratefully, since I don’t have to be afraid of Twisty, I’m still okay. America is also apparently running out of clowns. Ringling Bros. and other people who need clowns are running out of clowns, and I don’t think this is gonna help.”
Yes folks, even his own family shouldn’t be watching his show. At least the world can sigh with relief as there appears to be less clowns now than ever before.
It’s not just family though that has been taken with how amazing of a job he does as the clown:
“The crew can get a little creeped out. There was a scene in the first episode where Jimmy (Evan Peters) murdered the police officer and they were dismantling the body, and Twisty was watching. So, I was over there, late at night, on my own, and when I finished my sequence, I was walking by everybody. I can’t remember who said it, but one of the actors standing there said, “Man, you were really creeping me out.” I laughed and said, “You were dismantling a cop’s body with a bunch of other people, but the thing that’s freaking you out is the clown, 50 feet away?!” That was wild. I also heard from Ryan that there are some people on the crew who are like, “I don’t want to be near that.” But it’s a real testament to the wardrobe, hair and make-up, special effects make-up, and visual effects make-up crews. I’m just trying to bring a spirit to the work that they’ve already done.”
While the look of Twisty hasn’t changed from their initial plans, how Lynch has acted to portray the character has:
“There was definitely an evolution. Not of the look, per se. That became very clear, right away. But, there was definitely an evolution of my understanding of the clown. The way each episode unfolds helped me get clearer and clearer, as to what I was doing. I’m doing a lot of stuff that you will never see or hear because of the silence of the character. And there are a lot of things that I’ve never tried before because the character is silent. It was really fun to be challenged, in the way that this character challenged me.”
The true challenge though hasn’t been his fellow cast members or crew being afraid of the clown but how to portray Twisty with the limitations set upon him:
“Absolutely! There was the challenge of being told, “There’s almost no dialogue and we’re gonna take away half of your face. Let’s see if you can act in those circumstances.” That was part of the challenge and charm and risk of it. The other thing is to bring some humanity into it. Hopefully, that will happen. I think people will be surprised at the upcoming episodes. The answers to why he is the way he is and why he’s doing what he’s doing will come, and I hope they’re satisfactory, in terms of the storytelling and emotionally.”
To seriously prepare for the part though Lynch learned some new tricks:
“Yeah, I made a lot of balloon animals, especially during soccer games for the World Cup. Also, I really wanted to make sure that the clown portion read as real. He is a clown. He’s not like John Wayne Gacy, who dressed as a clown. He is a clown. You never see him not as a clown. Never. It’s important. He has a wonder about him, I think, and you’ll see that in later episodes. There’s an innocence about Twisty that is part of him. He’s the hero in his own story, even if he might not be in this one.”
With a lot of the mystery behind Twisty ,you have to wonder if we’ll understand a bit more about him by the end of the series. Lynch, apparently, has no problem in that matter:
“I understand them. I hope that you’re satisfied, or that you find it emotionally true. That’s the best I can say without giving too much away. It’s a poetic show, so will it be completely explained in an intellectual fashion? I don’t know. But certainly, it was emotionally satisfying for me. It made the risk I took in saying yes worthwhile.”
I’ve been loving his portrayal so far and can only imagine it is going to get better as the series goes on.
What are your thoughts on Twisty the Clown so far? Has Lynch set a new bar or terror when it comes to clowns?