If you followed the first season of the Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk/Ian Brennan comedy-horror anthology Scream Queens, you know it was an absolute scream. But behind all the over-the-top campus campiness was a strong message of feminism, delivered by an empowering female ensemble. Dig a little deeper into the backstory of said ensemble and you start to see how these actors are more similar than not, and just how fiercely delicious the casting truly is.
Let’s go to the board!
1. The Hollywood Parents Connection
Amongst these women, there’s a small group that feels like stardom was simply their birthright. The original scream queen and star of Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Hollywood legends Tony Curtis (Some Like It Hot) and Janet Leigh (Psycho). Billie Lourd is the daughter of Princess Leia herself Carrie Fisher, and Emma Roberts is the daughter of prolific actor Eric Roberts (which also makes her Julia Roberts’s niece).
In Episode 8, “Mommie Dearest,” Curtis lovingly paid homage to her late mother by reenacting the infamous Alfred Hitchcock shower scene from Psycho, while Lourd sported earmuffs throughout the series as a nod to her mother’s iconic space-'do. It’s worth mentioning that Lourd's grandparents are pretty legendary, too. Heard of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds? Yup. #GeneGameStrong
2. The Nick Connection
No, we’re not talking about their cohort of the Jonas kind. Three of the young ladies starred in their own Nickelodeon shows geared toward their then-younger peer groups: Roberts starred in Unfabulous, Keke Palmer in True Jackson, VP, and Ariana Grande in Sam & Cat. To say they’re seasoned professionals is an understatement. #StarPowerStrong
3. The Ryan Murphy Connection
Skyler Samuels and Roberts both left their mark in past seasons of that other Murphy/Falchuk horror anthology American Horror Story. Lea Michele starred in the Murphy/Falchuk/Brennan musical dramedy Glee. There’s something to be said for keeping it in the family. #InnerCircleStrong
4. The Broadway Connection
There’s probably no better training for an actor than live theater — and there’s no arguing that the pinnacle of theater excellence lies on the Great White Way. Michele made her Broadway debut at the age of eight, breaking hearts as the castle-dreaming Young Cosette in Les Misérables. She became a Broadway name some 12 years later when she starred opposite future Glee co-star Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening.
Grande also got her big break on Broadway as a teen in the musical 13, while Palmer starred as the titular heroine in the most recent revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Abigail Breslin also flexed her thespian muscle playing a young Helen Keller in a gripping production of The Miracle Worker. Oh, it’s legit. #TheatreStrong
5. The Comedy Queen Connection
Niecy Nash and Nasim Pedrad in particular come from strong comedy backgrounds. Nash starred as Deputy Raineesha Williams in the mockumentary-style cult favorite Reno 911!, while Saturday Night Live alum Pedrad devoted her Saturday evenings for five seasons to characters like Shallon, Kim Kardashian and Arianna Huffington. No joke. #FunnyLadyStrong
6. The Awards Connection
Amongst the ladies' list of award recognitions are seven nominations including two Golden Globe wins for Curtis; two Golden Globe nominations for Michele; a string of Emmy nominations for Curtis, Michele and Nash; Grammy nominations for Grande; and an Oscar nomination Breslin. That’s some major industry noddage between them. #AccoladeStrong
7. The Recording Artists Connection
Grande, Michele and Palmer might be the obvious chanteuses in the cast, but Roberts and Breslin also have proven their singing chops. Indeed, Roberts's Weezer cover screams absolutely guilty pleasure. #SangItStrong
As the hotly anticipated second season of Scream Queens inches its way closer this fall, with many favorite characters returning and with the new backdrop of a mental hospital, it’s probably not totally unreasonable to hope for sprinklings of American Horror Story-esque musical sequences.
One can only dream, queens.
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