Lizzie Brocheré is currently playing the role of Grace in FX’s hit show “American Horror Story: Asylum”. She is known for her work in France with about 40 foreign films and TV roles under her belt. As the show approaches the end of the second season, Lizzie took out some time to chat with Media Mikes to chat about her character and what we can expect.
Mike Gencarelli: How did you first get involved in the show?
Lizzie Brocheré: Weirdly, I self-typed from France. I had no idea that I could get the part because it was supposed to be an American part. I did the audition anyway because I never felt safe and my managers here sometimes get mad because I never send anything in, and because also the process of the audition was so much fun. I watched the first season of American Horror Story and have been a big fan, and the audition for the part of “Grace;” it was two scenes. One was a scene taken out of Girl Interrupted, “Lisa’s” character. It was very, very out there. It was very provocative, a very strong character and very …. So that was fun, it was like, wow, what is that character that they’re auditioning for? The other scene was a scene from …, which was a masturbation scene, very provocative as well. I was like; I don’t know where they’re going with that character, but she’s wild. So I did the audition with my friend, and didn’t really believe in it, and then two weeks later I was in L.A. meeting Ryan Murphy … for five minutes and they were talking to me about the part … and that was it. It was amazing. and I didn’t even have a driver’s license.
MG: How do I get into my character to play Grace?
LB: There’s so many different ways, but I think what I worked on the most was that back story you heard, because when we started shooting, we already had the first four scripts, so I had the back story of Grace in the fourth episode. I think that since she was based on this American character, Lizzie Borden, I read a lot about Lizzie Borden. I discovered a source book with her inquest testimony; I loved reading it out loud. I thought she was so smart and strangely fascinating, that character. I don’t know if it helped my acting, but it was necessary for me to know a bit more of that character who was a very important American figure. I had no clue who she was, in fact, …for example. I did a lot of—this is going to sound weird, but I did a lot of stretching, yoga and dancing, almost ballet. I felt, you know, how she’s always–you want her to be moving in a very smooth maybe, and she’s very sexy, so you want her to be moving in a smoother way than I do. So that was a little job, and Grace, I don’t know she’s somewhere in me–apart from that big back story and all that; her sarcasm, her way of seeing life and that little liveliness she has. You know, how she always says amazing lines when you feel like she’s young little Tibetan monk. It wasn’t that hard to tap into her, apart from the killing of my dad and all of that.
MG: Can you tell us a little bit about shooting the murder scenes?
LB: That was so fun. We wanted to–I mean the whole crew was so happy to change my look, and they were really excited about doing some kind of flashbacks and knowing a little bit more about Grace. So everything, costumes and hair, for example, I don’t have the same haircut at all. They really wanted to show Grace as she was before the asylum, and everyone was really excited about that. The actual murder scenes, there was a lot of blood, a lot of different axes. I think we had six different axes that are still in the props office, and they’re all on the walls. You have one that’s a rubber axe, and then you have another one that’s a real axe, and you should never mix up with the other one. Then you have another one that’s a half cut axe, so that you can pretend that it’s in the body. You only have a part of it sticking out of the body. I mean we have so many different axes; it was funny. Then you have, for example, when I kill my step-mom, we have these effects guys that were behind the body of my step-mom … blood on the face each time that I hit her. There were so many people in that closet but it was fun.
MG: How you ever been spooked on the set?
LB: I did get the creeps. Yes, because the story was so dark and all these flashbacks that we shot. For example, when I hide in the closet, and it’s a fake flashback, but still, we did it for real, and I hide in the closet, and I dove back and I go back and I think that I’m saved and then there’s this foot with blood dripping on my shoulder right next to me. So realistic, so realistic. It was crazy. I couldn’t open the closets after that for a week at my place.
MG: How do you shake a show like this at the end of each day?
LB: I have very different ways–the crew, for example, is so much fun–I mean they’re totally disconnected from the cast. Joke with the crew when you get out of set, for an example, that helped me so much. Otherwise, in my day-to-day basis, it would be I guess, a bit of yoga. I go biking, read, watch shows, I go to music concerts. I’ve taken a lot of road trips since I’ve been here. I’ve been to The Joshua Tree. I’ve been camping on the Channel Islands. Each time that I have two or three days off, I’m off somewhere in California.
MG: The asylum itself feels like a character on the show, so how much does that environment help you get into a scene?
LB: It makes the scene. There’s no question about where you are. I remember one of the first days on the set when …–the first scene was something in the solitary, and I’d be visiting in the solitary cells. When you’re in that hallway with all the solitary cell doors; Ooh. You have no question of where you are. It’s such a particular asylum. It’s such a designed asylum. It’s such an interesting–I don’t know you can feel the whole weight of the metaphor that it represents, you know.
MG: What’s coming up for Grace in the upcoming episodes?
LB: What can I tease? So much is happening to “Grace,” poor “Grace.” I don’t really know. My character joins a storyline that I cherish a lot, which is the alien storyline, and that is something that I’ve been really looking forward to. I’m so happy about that because, first of all, when you move to the United States for work, which is what I just did, you have a visa where they call you an alien with extraordinary ability, but still that’s what I am right now. It’s strange, to be like right, in the administration system, you have a label which is a visa 01, which is for aliens with extraordinary ability; good Lord. So ever since I got a foot in the U.S. administration and moving to the U.S., I’ve been like, oh aliens; interesting. Aliens are immigrants. That’s interesting, what is an alien? So when I got the script everything kind of made sense in a way. This idea of foreigners–so I love being close to that storyline because I felt so much myself like an alien.