But she says Murphy, who created the show and directed the first two episodes, was insistent.
“He was very, very interested in empowering me in this way that I had never experienced before, even in the traditional structure of working with him,” she says. “What he would say to me, over and over again, was ‘Step into your power. Step into your power.’ And it literally makes me want to take a hot shower and run, screaming, into the street, to think about stepping into my power because I don’t really know what that means. But he does, and he would like me to do more of it.”
Paulson knows how rare it is for that kind of power sharing to happen on set, and she’s not the only one. Sharon Stone, who plays the wealthy and dangerous Lenore Osgood, reflected about the gender dynamic she normally experienced throughout her career.
“When I started working, it was me and 300 men. Even my dresser was a man. So, to come to work and have women cameramen and sound people and in every department,” Stone says. “I can do really strong work because I’ve worked with all these really big actors, and I didn’t have this opportunity to work in these fine, subtle, intimate, layered, tender work of women and to be in the company of women.”
Stone, who doesn’t usually work in television where it’s the norm to have multiple directors and scripts aren’t necessarily complete before filming starts, gushed about Paulson’s skill as an executive producer to keep track of the chaotic nature of the shoot.