Cody Fern is getting a bizarre amount of flack on social media for his role in Episode 6 of American Horror Stories, mostly about how he “can’t do an Australian accent for s–t!” If only those haters had taken a second to Google him, they’d know how stupid they sound.
“I’m not fairly comfortable acting in my accent,” the Australian-born actor tells TVLine, adding that he prefers to develop distinct voices that define his characters, which have included Michael Langdon in American Horror Story: Apocalypse and Xavier Plympton in American Horror Story: 1984.
“So it was very strange for me to use my own accent,” he says. “I don’t have Twitter, but I’ve seen feedback from people within the company who are sending me little tweets like ‘He should stick with his plain white-boy American accent’ and ‘Who does this Harvard grad think he is trying to do an Australian accent? He’s not Meryl Streep!’ I’m like, ‘You all need to calm down.’”
Playing park ranger Stan Vogel marked the first time Fern has used his accent on an American TV show, and although it wasn’t the original plan, he admits that it “worked for this character because it instantly set him apart as an outsider with an outsider’s perspective.” Fern initially rejected the idea of using an Australian accent, but the bleakness of the episode — which focuses on an estranged husband and wife looking for their missing son, who was taken by a tribe of feral people living in a national park — inspired him to go for it.
“My role was written far more seriously, but I said, ‘No, I need to come in here and shake things up and be that comic relief that changes the tone and the vibe,’” he explains. “I think the park ranger was originally going to be older and grizzled. I wanted to do something that was going to be a little more memorable in the context of this particular episode. You need a big tone shift, otherwise it’s just bleakness. You needed someone to be like, ‘These f–ing idiots coming out of the woods. I told them not to go in there!’ I got to have a lot of fun in that.”
Read on for more of Fern’s thoughts, including the likelihood of him doing another full season of American Horror Story. (We’re also about to spoil the entire episode, so if you haven’t watched, get to streaming!)
TVLINE | Compared to Michael and Xavier, I feel like this is your most normal Horror character yet.
[Laughs] And I had to go and do my thing and make him not-so-normal. I guess that’s kind of my schtick now. Stan is certainly the most earthy. I’m not sure I’d call him normal, but he’s a lot of fun.
TVLINE | Well, the fans are already posting things like “Stan Vogel is iconic!” and asking for behind-the-scenes photos. Should they be on the lookout for any?
I don’t know, I don’t really do that. I have a very strange relationship with social media. I enjoy it for the expression that I can bring to it, but I don’t like being beholden to it. And I certainly don’t like talking to a particular base, or garnering interest or any of these sorts of things. I find it unhelpful for me in what I want to do as an artist. I might post something if the mood strikes me, but we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t think I’ve posited in four months or something. People might think I’m dead.
TVLINE | Speaking of which, Stan had a pretty gnarly death. How would you compare it to your previous Horror Story deaths?
I’m always getting killed, so at least I saw it coming this time. I haven’t seen the episode yet, but I hear [the death is] very gruesome. When you’re shooting it, it’s all very technical. We’ve got these fake guts, there’s a camera above you and you’re just trying not to get fake the blood in your eyes. This was my most fun death, I would say. It was all happening so quickly that I was like, “Yeah, kill me! Rip my guts out! Here we go!” And those ferals look so amazing. The hair and makeup and costuming was extraordinary. It was fun to watch them do their thing.
TVLINE | Had you ever heard the conspiracy that the national parks were created to keep these creatures at bay?
I had not, no. There are so many different conspiracies brought up in the episode. And they’re obviously conspiracies, but there are also a lot of things based in reality — theories based on things that have happened in parks over the years. And I’m a wilderness freak, so I loved playing the park ranger. I go out every year into the wilderness for five or six days with two of my friends. The last time we went to King’s Canyon and did a 50-mile hike into the back country. You go in with everything you need and you hope you make it out.
TVLINE | Are you going to be on the lookout for ferals on your next hike?
[Laughs] I’m not actually a very jumpy person. I’m very practical. I’m also the person who is straight on it when he hears a noise. I’m the person that will go and check it out. I guess that comes from growing up in Australia where everything will kill you.
TVLINE | Fair point. Seeing you in this episode was nice, but is there any chance you’ll come back for a full Horror Story season someday?
Never say never. I’ve been working on a couple of other things, so my time has been a little split. There was a three-day window for this episode that worked really well. And everything with COVID is so strange. But I love working with Ryan Murphy, I love his world. When Ryan picks up that phone and calls, it’s very hard to resist, so we’ll have to wait and see. I’d love to see what he cooks up for me.
TVLINE | Another death, I assume.
Maybe I’ll survive one season! I feel like there’s always a final girl, but there’s not too many final men.
Your thoughts on “Feral”? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with your full review.
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