Alison Pill did the horror thing.
In American Horror Story: Cult, she played a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter who stopped at nothing to punish those – her wife included – who did not vote for the first Democratic presidential nominee. While their role as the bigoted, busy organization called Betty in Amazon Prime’s THEM is socially and politically different, the two have things in common. And viewers will find out the extent of their similarities when the 1950s set terror anthology premieres this Friday April 9th and features a black family harassed by ghosts in their home and racist anti-integrationists, centered on her block.
“My AHS characters Ivy and Betty are both in cults. They both need someone to tell them what to do, ”Pill told TVLine. “I was attracted to the role because of it [series creator] Little Marvin’s scripts in which he tells this story of real terror in conversation with these psychological horrors. The reality for blacks in this country has been dire for centuries, and it’s incredibly interesting to make this visceral way we talk about home ownership and the American dream of who gets a family and whose work is valued and deepens the conversation . “
According to Pill, research into racist white women on the show is especially fascinating.
“There’s a version of this where the bad guy is a man, and I don’t think it’s such a good version,” she notes. “If there is no Betty, there are no Karen. Betty is the original Karen. It is worth exploring the role of white women and the ways we are perceived as vulnerable and the ways we can manipulate this to put others at risk. It’s a whole different kind of violence, but it’s still violence. “
To get this across, Pill made sure Betty received subtle touches like a certain smile and a certain way of speaking. But all monsters have an origin story and horror fans will learn about Bettys in Episode 4.
“Betty smiles all the time and never raises her voice,” says the Toronto native with her best Betty voice. “Because she wouldn’t. She is very civilized. And she became a victim and became a monster. Little Marvin unpacks Betty wonderfully over the course of the season, but does not get a passport. You cannot choose white supremacy and remain unharmed. At no point in this system can one walk away without trauma and harm, there is simply no way. “
“You can’t look at the undervalued and unpaid work of white women in your neighborhood without examining racial capitalism,” she added. “You mustn’t separate them. LM just did a brilliant job of not making Betty one-dimensional. She remains the villain, but she is not inhuman. “
Little Marvin, who produced THEM with Lena Waithe, says it was important to make Betty as complex as it is vicious.
“I’ve had my own experience with a Betty in my life,” says Little Marvin. “We all are black. I have had the experience of being followed in the store. I have had the experience of being watched from a porch. I have had the experience of walking down the street and having someone guard your purse. “
“There is a certain terror that is never really talked about,” he continues. “This is a type of behavior that extends into history. Fortunately, Alison Pill, which is just phenomenal, wasn’t scared. She said, “I’m going in. I don’t want you to like me I will have this experience. ‘And she did, man. She just did it. It was crazy. It’s scary. “
Time will tell if those watching YOU can distinguish Betty from her performer, but Pill says she is up for the challenge.
“I’m fine being the face of Karens,” says Pill bravely. “I can take over the discussion about white women and the problems of white feminism. I am interested in this discussion. I’m going to take people on Twitter who say, “You are terrible.” These are good moral judgments.
“What scares me more is the opposite,” she concludes. “If someone is really into Betty, I’ll feel misunderstood. I don’t want Betty fans. White Supremacist fans are much more frightening. “