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Exclusive: Abigail Breslin talks Fox’s “SCREAM QUEENS”

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If academic degrees were given out for such things, Abigail Breslin would by now have a Ph.D. in acting in high-end horror. Her latest genre venture—and her first for TV—is the Fox network’s SCREAM QUEENS, and FANGORIA got some one-on-one time with Breslin to discuss it.

At age 8, Breslin made her feature-film debut as Mel Gibson’s daughter in SIGNS. Four years later, she won mainstream success and a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, and while she still does straight drama and comedy, she has amassed an impressive list of horror credits, including ZOMBIELAND, HAUNTER, THE CALL, MAGGIE (which she discusses here) and FINAL GIRL. Now Breslin is a terrorized-but-attitudinal sorority girl in SCREAM QUEENS, from AMERICAN HORROR STORY creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, plus Ian Brennan. Breslin’s co-stars include the ultimate scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, as the college’s Dean Munch, and Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin, a mean girl so controlling that she forces her posse to adopt her name and use numbers to identify themselves. Breslin is Chanel #5, whose obedience to her namesake may only go so far—or perhaps be knife-deep.

During a Television Critics Association Q&A session with her SCREAM QUEEN colleagues, Breslin asserts that she has no idea who lives, who dies and who the killer/s is/are. “This is going to make me sound a little bit crazy, but whatever,” she says. “All of my friends think I’m crazy anyway, so it’s fine. Basically, I was back in New York for a bit. I was with my friends, and my phone died. And I [asked one of them], ‘Hey, can I borrow your phone?’ So he gave it to me, and I just wanted to text my mom, because she was like, ‘Why are you out so late?’ So then I saw this group text with all of my friends’ names on it except me, and I thought, ‘Are they talking about me?’ I didn’t click on it, I didn’t do anything that weird, but I was like, ‘Why am I the only one not involved in this?’

“They said, ‘Well, we don’t want to hurt your feelings, but we’re thinking it will be so fun to bet on your show and guess who’s going to die, and we can’t have you in it, because you’re doing the show, and you know what’s going to happen.’ I said, ‘No, I don’t. And now I’m really hurt because I feel so left out of this. I swear to God I actually have no idea what’s going on, ever.’ My friends are going to read this now and not talk to me, but…” she laughs.

SCREAMQUEENSBRESLINLater, at a TCA party thrown by Fox and FX at West Hollywood’s Soho House, Breslin makes a point of speaking exclusively to Fango…

FANGORIA: You’ve been doing a lot of horror lately. Is this a genre you’re fond of, or is it just where the good parts have been?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: I’ve never felt like there’s a specific thing I always want to do next. I do love the horror genre. I don’t have a set idea of, “I just want to do horror” or “I just want to do comedy” or anything like that. I’ve just felt like the horror parts I’ve been doing have been my favorite roles I’ve been reading, and I primarily wanted to do SCREAM QUEENS because of Ryan Murphy. Once he explained the show to me, I was like, “OK, this is definitely what I want to do.”

FANG: Does Chanel #5 come into her own as the series goes on? At the beginning, she seems like a very loyal henchwoman.

BRESLIN: Yes, you definitely see her turn and change a little bit, and you get more of a background on her and why she is the way she is. She’s definitely high-strung, and kind of hanging on by a thread all the time. She definitely has, in upcoming episodes, a really interesting dynamic with Emma Roberts’ Chanel. They have a very tense relationship, where #5 desperately wants to get her approval, but also wants to kind of knock her down. So it’s going to be really interesting. She definitely is going to have a point where she snaps.

FANG: How is it working as part of a large ensemble cast?

BRESLIN: I love it, especially this ensemble. They’re all amazing and so good at what they do, and they own their characters so much that it makes you up your game, for sure. I love all of them in real life. We’ve become really close and they’re all my friends now, so it’s fun.

FANG: Do you have any other projects going on that we should know about?

BRESLIN: I have my book, THIS MAY SOUND CRAZY [out now from HarperCollins]. It’s a collection of nonfiction essays, little stories and advice, just from the standpoint of one 19-year-old to another—things I’ve gone through.

FANG: What would you most like people to know about SCREAM QUEENS?

BRESLIN: Just to expect the unexpected, and you’re never going to be bored watching it.

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Abbie Bernstein
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