LOS ANGELES — Michael Chiklis is ready to freak out.
The actor is joining the American Horror Story family for the anthology series’ fourth season, subtitled Freak Show. The Emmy-winning star of “The Shield” will portray the ex-husband and father of characters played, respectively, by Kathy Bates and Evan Peters.
The Chiklis casting announcement came during the American Horror Story: Coven event that served as closing night of PaleyFest, which over 16 days presented casts and crews of past and present TV series, attracting thousands of fans to the Dolby Theatre.
Coven, which aired from October 2013 to January 2014 on the FX channel and revolved around witches in a New Orleans boarding school, made for the highest-rated of the three Horror Story seasons.
The series’ stars present for the PaleyFest panel were surprise attendee Bates, as well as previously announced Peters, Angela Bassett, Jamie Brewer, Frances Conroy, Denis O’Hare Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts and Gabourey Sidibe.
Actress Jessica (Lange) is on spring break with her grandchildren,” noted series co-creator Ryan Murphy, who later revealed more season-four casting news:
Lange and “every person on this stage is coming back in some capacity,” he said.
Murphy explained the setting for the upcoming series “is not a circus and is not carnival, it’s a freak show,” adding that it was Lange who came up with idea of her character.
Lange will play a German expat in 1950s Jupiter, Florida, who is a “collector of freaks,” said Bassett, who continued, “(She) will do anything — and I don’t know what ‘anything’ might be — to keep this dying cottage industry alive just a little bit longer.”
All actors queried said they knew little about Freak Show, except the premise. But, Paulson, for one, clearly can’t wait to get back to work in New Orleans, which, this time, will double for Jupiter. “All I want is a peg leg and a black tooth … and a hunchback,” Paulson said, laughing.
American Horror Story: Freak Show is set to debut this fall.
(MIKE CIDONI LENNOX, AP Entertainment Reporter)