Each season of American Horror Story is full of familiar actors that seem to be on reserve for the series at any given time. But among them are typically some newbies to the AHS world and even bigger actors who agree to make cameos on the show, like Lena Dunham who will basically star in Season 7 Episode 7. But who does Lena Dunham play on AHS: Cult? Valerie Solanas is a real historical figure, most famous for attempting to assassinate artist Andy Warhol back in 1968 and also known for her own artistic work while she was alive.
In the trailer for Episode 7, it looks like the episode will be flashback heavy to show viewers Dunham’s portrayal of Solanas and also put a potentially fictional spin on it by way of Frances Conroy’s AHS: Cult character, who seems to have had a connection to Solanis, which she no doubt tells Beverly Hope about in present day.
Ryan Murphy revealed before the season even started that Evan Peters would be playing multiple cult leaders on AHS: Cult, including Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and Andy Warhol. And while Warhol wasn't an outright cult leader, the idea is that Solanas shot him because she wanted to be part of the dedicated following he had.
During a special screening hosted by FX before the season officially began, Murphy went into a little more detail about some of the more monumental moments of the season. And for Episode 7, he revealed that it would be centered around women's desire to have power and be heard, both in the past and present. Which is, you guessed it, where Solanas comes in.
In real life, Solanas worked with Warhol on a handful of projects, including his film I, a Man, for which he paid her $25. In an story originally published in the New York Daily News in 1968, it was reported that Solanas turned herself in to a police officer on the street and handed him both of her weapons without struggle. She reportedly told him, "The police are looking for me. I am a flower child. He had too much control over my life."
But before she became famous for trying to kill Warhol, Solanas wrote the SCUM Manifesto, which outlined her ideas about men and women in society and that women were meant to fix the society that men had ruined over the years. She met Warhol in 1967 when she asked him to produce a play she had written about a prostitute called Up Your Ass but instead of producing the play for her — which he reportedly called so dirty that he didn’t at first take it seriously — Warhol had Solanas star in his movie.
Decades after Warhol’s death which came in 1987, art dealer Margo Feiden told The New York Times about Solanas visiting her the day that she killed Warhol, hours before she was to do it. Feiden said that Solanas wanted her play to be famous and that killing Warhol would, in turn, make her play as famous as he was. Although Feiden claimed that she urged Solanas not to shoot Warhol, the woman left her apartment and hours later, shot him. Unfortunately Solanas’ delusions were met with jail time following her sentencing of the crime.
It looks like Dunham’s role on AHS: Cult will just be a one episode type of thing, but from the preview alone, I couldn’t imagine any other actress stepping in to fill the shoes of Warhol’s shooter, especially at a time like this on the show. With Beverly clearly trying to rise up to take over in Kai’s place or simply be more of the equal that he promised her she would be, now is kind of the best time for Dunham to be Solanas in the cleverly placed flashback scenes.
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