As one door closes, another one opens. This phrase applies heavily to the American Horror Story fandom right now, what with the news of the impeccable Jessica Lange leaving the show after fives fabulous seasons. For a while, it was hard to imagine the show feeling the same with such a staple of confidence like Lange gone. Ryan Murphy and FX have answered that sense of fandom diaspora by casting none other than Lady Gaga in American Horror Story: Hotel. This is good news, I guess. It's kind of like having your old bike that you learned to ride on stolen, and your parents simply buying you a newer, shinier, technically better one. But it just doesn't feel the same!
Gaga was the very first cast member confirmed for American Horror Story Season 5, ahead even of series icons like Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson. Having Lady Gaga star in Hotel is clearly a move to give the show a new sense of energy, but is it a good one? Let's weigh out some aspects of Gaga's acting efforts, and work out just what she could bring to American Horror Story: Hotel.
Gaga has only ever played herself
Pop stars making the transition to acting isn't a new thing, yet almost all of them have to go through that awkward teething phase, where they're essentially employed for their recognizability, and for the audience to get quick thrill in seeing their favorites. Gaga was no exception from this novelty casting, and has always appeared almost entirely to to make the audience say "oh hey it's Lady Gaga!" American Horror Story: Hotel would be a break from that tradition, seeing Gaga for the first time play a completely separate character that does not rely on her prior star image. How much can American Horror Story really divorce her from that inherent recognizability?
Lady Gaga's other roles
I say that Lady Gaga has only ever played herself, but that's only partially true. She's technically played distinct roles in movies like Machete Kills, where she playing La Chameleón, though this generally just involved her having cool hair and a bit of an attitude. Her role in Muppets Most Wanted simply saw her playing herself and duetting with muppets, which I guess is just mandatory for being famous. Her role that makes me most hopeful for American Horror Story Season 5: Hotel, however, is in Sin City 2.
The thirty seconds that Joseph Gordon Levitt spends talking to Lady Gaga might be the best moment in what is a generally miscalculated and sluggish movie. The film gains an energy the second she's on screen, and her sense of parodic classical style makes Sin City 2 enjoyable on a campy level for those few moments. It's also what makes her perfect for American Horror Story: Hotel.
Who will Gaga play in American Horror Story Season 5: Hotel?
We still don't know if Lady Gaga will play the lead role in American Horror Story: Hotel, or what kind of role she will have. Complaining about the "central" character in American Horror Story always seems kind of futile, for the show is an ensemble piece by nature. Remember how boring Zoe from Coven was? And that season is fantastic!
Lady Gaga will bring some zing to Hotel, that's for certain. The only thing we don't know is what kind of character she'll be. I find it hard to imagine her playing a complete normal, naive to the messed up world the show takes place in. She would have to be some kind of witch or demon, or some sort of malicious entity. What persuades me to make such a judgement? Oh I dunno, just her entire career.