TODAY

TODAY   |  January 29, 2014

Actress Sarah Paulson gets spooky on small screen

Paulson, who starred in “12 Years a Slave,” tells TODAY “it wasn’t easy” to get inside the mind of Mrs. Epps, her character in the film, and that she would relax from playing the heavy role with hot baths. She’s currently starring in “American Horror Story,” saying it’s “campier and lighter than last year.”

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>>> emmy and golden globe nominated actress sarah paulson has appeared in more than a dozen tv shows and film. she's currently playing cordelia fox on the cult favorite "american horror story ."

>> we've also seen sarah recently on the big screen in "12 years a slave," nominated best picture along with many other academy awards . so great to see you.

>> thank you for having me.

>> what an exciting time for you. you're in this film "12 years of slave" and some people think we'll win the big one at the oscars. is this a fun time in your life?

>> no, it's the worst time i've ever had in my life. no, it's extraordinary. i've been doing this a long time and never been in a movie that's been on track to hopefully have the end game that would be really great, to win best picture .

>> seeing you as mrs. epps and you're a nice person, but mrs. epps. wow.

>> i know.

>> how do you shake that when you're done with the scene?

>> it wasn't easy but at the same time, i'm an actress, it's my job to try to get inside the mind of that woman. and i was able to kind of do it and leave it at home, take a hot bath and shake her off.

>> thank god. you don't want to be her.

>> you haven't made it any easier on yourself, the big premiere is tonight. i've heard you say you get scared just by the opening credits .

>> yeah, i don't want the opening credits of the show. the show -- the great thing about the show, every year it reinvents itself. and this year it's campier and lighter than last year. i can watch the show this year. tonight is the big finale and the big reveal about who is the supreme. i think a lot of people are excited. we're not doing that terrible thing where we promise you you're going to find out and tease you. i'm guaranteeing the reveal is happening tonight.

>> "american horror story " watch it tonight. can you give us an idea in are you guys all returning?

>> jessica lane is coming back and a bunch of people are coming back. i am on track for that.

>> so you don't die?

>> well, the next year the show is an entirely different thing. it's a new story, entirely new thing.

>> if people who haven't seen it and want to do a little binge watching, it is a different mini series .

>> every year, this is the third season of the show, you do not have to watch season one or two to be -- to enjoy season three. you can start with episode one of season three and watch it through in two days and be scared and eat popcorn and, i don't know, take a valium or something.

>> maybe. you always look amazingly well put together, just gorgeous.

>> thank you.

>> and your fashion -- your awards come, as well, when we see you on the red carpet , you look equally as great. i wanted to go through some of your fashions. the golden globes , i think -- i think we have the dress. the golden globes .

>> beautiful marcasa.

>> and s.a.g. awards, you were on the best dressed list.

>> and i know some people were like what is your dress? you look like a cupcake. but for me --

>> how do you go about picking the fashions?

>> someone dangles something in front of me and i'm like, that one. it's not sophisticated.

>> i'd love to live in that space for a day.

>> sarah, it's great to see you doing so well. it's an exciting time and good luck with the rest of awards season and the big premiere tonight on fx at