July 06, 2015
In The Mix

Hotel Heartthrob

After playing everything from a sociopathic ghost to an aide to Richard Nixon, Evan Peters wants to go darker.

John Griffiths

Evan Peters has hit the gym, picked up his supplements and read some comic books in preparation for his second turn as super-speedy Quicksilver in the X-Men movie franchise (Apocalypse, due out next year).

Now, cozy in his Laurel Canyon digs, he looks out the window and verbally paints a picture of the day: “Dark clouds scarcely spattered throughout the sky, dropping little bits of rain….”

Peters knows how to set a mood — and play to it. As a key member of the ensemble on FX’s American Horror Story — TV auteur Ryan Murphy’s spooky anthology series — the comely, can-do actor has so far played a sociopathic ghost (Murder House), an accused serial killer (Asylum), a frat boy–turned–Frankenstein creature (Coven) and a deformed carny with a talent for crooning Nirvana (Freak Show). In the next AHS installment, Hotel, due in October, he portrays a Howard Hughes–type eccentric.

The youngest of three, Peters says he was a handful growing up. But he excelled at making his grade-school classmates laugh. “I was voted Funniest in Class.”

When his father’s work moved the family from St. Louis, Missouri, to Grand Blanc, Michigan, Peters turned to acting classes. He caught the eye of a talent scout, who hooked him up with an agent in Los Angeles.

By 15, Peters and his mom were living in Burbank, where he juggled high school and auditions. First part: the titular troubled teen in the indie drama Clipping Adam.

Regular roles in short-lived series (including ABC’s Invasion) led to a recurring part as sweet foster kid Jack Daniels on One Tree Hill. Guest gigs on the likes of Parenthood and The Office kept him busy until Horror called in 2011.

Playing those unusual parts on AHS has been "exhausting,” he admits, “but it’s opened a lot of doors." He recently filmed Elvis & Nixon, a big-screen comedy about the day Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) bonded with President Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey). Peters plays a Nixon aide.

When he’s not on set, the actor eats up The Walking Dead, sci-fi-movies and the fare at L.A.’s quaint Pace restaurant, sometimes with his AHS costar and fiancée, Emma Roberts. But that strange L.A. sky may be clouding his thoughts,

On his next AHS stay, he says, “I’d like to play darker.”

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