Dylan McDermott: Scared Straight

The American Horror Story star explains why, even at 50, he’s not afraid to show some skin.



McDermott with Denis O’Hare in American Horror Story x390 | ADVOCATE.COM You played a love interest for Will in a 2003 episode of Will & Grace. What attracted you to the role?
I thought that show was just great, and the whole cast was so amazing. I wanted to do something different and unexpected. When you’re on television for a long time, people only expect you to do one kind of role — “Oh, that’s Bobby Donnell from The Practice.” But my job as an actor is to always switch it up and change people’s minds, and I hope I’ve also done that with American Horror Story. I hope people are seeing another side to me.

Was Will & Grace your only gay character?
I think so. I don’t think I’ve ever been offered another gay role. But I had this idea — I actually brought it up to Ryan Murphy — that I wanted to play Halston. I think that would make a great movie, because his life was so interesting and complex. I was trying to develop that for a while, and Ryan was kind of mulling it over. We’ll see.

You played the friend of Robert Downey Jr.’s gay character in Jodie Foster’s Home for the Holidays, which also has something of a gay following. Word has it that Robert ad-libbed like a madman on that movie.
Robert did improv a lot, but it really made his character come alive. He’s so enormously talented. God, there were so many great people in that movie — Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft. I wasn’t aware that had any kind of cult following in the gay world, so that’s cool to hear.

Please tell me that we haven’t seen the last of your FunnyOrDie.com character Douché, the skeevy dance instructor with the prominent bulge.
[Laughs] We’re talking about a sequel, but right now he’s living on in history. When that video came out, my poor daughter was like, “Oh, dad, did you really have to do this?”

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