EVAN PETERS IN LOS ANGELES, SEPTEMBER 2015. STYLING: ANDREW MUKAMAL. SHIRT: GUCCI. T-SHIRT: VISVIM. GROOMING PRODUCTS: DERMALOGICA AND ORIBE. GROOMING: KC FEE/THE WALL GROUP.
Over the four-season run of Ryan Murphy‘s American Horror Story, Evan Peters has played the ghost of a teenage high school shooter, a man who believes he was abducted by aliens, a zombified frat boy romantically entangled with a witch, and a “circus freak” with fused lobster hands. But none of those seasons, Peters contends, are as frightening as American Horror Story: Hotel, which debuted this fall. In it, the 28-year-old actor plays Mr. James March, a theatrical character from the 1930s who founded the inn where the macabre story unfolds. “Hotels are really scary,” Peters says over iced tea in West Hollywood. “There are a lot of haunted ones in L.A. that I want to check out. So many people come in and out, and a lot of them can be dark. That dark gets locked in the hotel and stays there.”
While a fixture on Murphy’s hit show, Peters has also found time for the big screen, with projects that have included this year’s The Lazarus Effect and the ongoing X-Men series, in which he will reprise his role as Quicksilver in next year’s Apocalypse. Raised in St. Louis, he’s been chipping away at Hollywood since he moved to Los Angeles at 15 with his mom. “We took it one year at a time,” Peters says. His road to a superhero franchise was paved with independent films, small TV roles, and commercials. “There was one Sour Patch Kids commercial where I walk out of my house, a little gummy throws eggs at me, and then he gives me a hug,” he says, grinning. “First he’s sour and then he’s sweet.”
You’ll next see Peters in the drama Elvis & Nixon, which stars Michael Shannon as the singer and Kevin Spacey as the president. It tells the true story of the day the King met Nixon to discuss becoming an undercover federal agent. Peters plays Dwight Chapin, the ambitious White House advisor. “I think Elvis just wanted a purpose, and cracking down on drugs and crime would have given him that,” Peters says. “Elvis is this thing, this commodity, and people forget that he was a real person.” The film was shot in New Orleans, which was ideal for Peters, since his girlfriend, actress Emma Roberts, happened to be filming there too (the pair met working on the movie Adult World). “Hopefully, next year we’ll be in the same city working,” Peters says, his eyes lighting up. “That’d be great.”