By Susan Hornik
Two time Oscar winner Jessica Lange is the full package— still beautiful at 64 years old, a brilliant thespian for the past forty years and a published children’s book author. It’s no wonder that she was recently chosen as the new face of the luxury line, Marc Jacobs Beauty. And it seems like her priorities are in order; rather than appear on a Paleyfest panel for her FX dark anthology series, “American Horror Story: Coven,” it was announced that Lange was on spring break with her grandchildren.
While it’s been –sadly–rare for any actress in Hollywood to continue their popularity past 40, this has not been the case for Lange. She has received Golden Globes and the SAG Awards nominations for her role as the supreme witch Fiona Goode on “American Horror Story: Coven” season of the FX horror series. In addition, the veteran actress has previously won an Emmy plus Golden Globes and SAG awards for her performances on past seasons of the show.
Watch her while you can, because Lange plans to retire from acting very soon. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times last fall she said: “I am coming to the end of acting,” she says with sureness. “I have a list: another stage production, maybe one or two more movies, one more season of “American Horror Story” and then that is it for me because I think that’s enough. I want to go out with a bang … or should I say, a scare?”
Her success in the FX series brought her back to enjoying acting. “It reenergized me; it reenergized my career. There’s no shame in recognizing that. It’s exposed me to a whole new generation, which is a little strange. I’m not used to young people thinking I’m cool.”
This season, “American Horror Story’s” latest segment will be titled “Freak Show,” and will once again shoot in New Orleans, though it will be set in 1950 in Jupiter, Florida, with Lange playing a German ex-pat managing one of the last freak shows in the U.S.
At the TV Critics Press Tour, Lange acknowledged her love for the city. “I love madness, and I love playing mad,” she said. “And there is something about New Orleans that is unique in this country. It has a power and authenticity that is lacking in most places. Truman Capote said New Orleans is secret — it’s one long poem. There is something so hypnotic, almost drug-like about being there.”
While Lange has enjoyed working with executive producer Ryan Murphy (Glee), she doesn’t know much about her character when she first starts; this is how Murphy has worked the last few seasons of the show. “For me, I never would have imagined I like this process because of my background in film and theater, [when] you know the entire character and the story, so it’s been a huge adjustment to work this way not knowing what the journey is,” Lange said. “It allows you to work on the fly. You have to be brave and not be cautious because you’ve got 12 episodes to create this character, and you don’t always know what the episode is going to present for you.”
When Lange retires, there will be probably another book or two on her bucket list. In talking about her book, “It’s About A Little Bird,” in an interview with Parents magazine she said, ”I’ve done photography for quite a while. Really it was just for myself, but it became more than that. From that, I became very interested in the old colored postcards, the hand-tinted photographs. I started hand tinting my black and white photographs and created a story around some of these images. It was meant as just a little family thing but it spiraled out of control and now it’s a book. This is a story I made up for my granddaughters.”
On the big screen, Lange will next be seen in her upcoming role as Mark Wahlberg’s mom in the remake of The Gambler.
Susan Hornik is a contributor to HGTV’s FrontDoor.com, NBC Today.com‘s The Clicker, Travelchannel.com, FiftyistheNewFifty.com, Brainworld, Redbook, Canada’s Chatelaine, Daytime Confidential, CSQ, UK”s Look, First for Women, Twist, Discover Hollywood, Dish, Maxim, Health, Mademan.com, Match.com‘s Happenmag.com