You expect to find him covered in blood.
Or holding a severed limb.
On a typical day on the set of “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” all Denis O’Hare has is a jacket hanging from his fingers (which are, incidentally, all intact.)
“I wish I could report something gory,” says the man who has played Stanley, Spalding and Larry Harvey on “American Horror Story” over the various seasons on FX.
“There is a strong connection between this season and another season, which will manifest,” he says. “I don’t know what the plan is when it comes to connection. Time will tell.”
Fans know that during last season, called “Coven,” his tongue was cut out for unspeakable reasons. As for this season, he says, “I’m a great con man. I’m the guy who doesn’t take the wallet. He says, ‘Hey, open your wallet. Give me the 10 dollars. Give it all to me.’ It’s a different type of craziness.”
Fans seem just as scared. “I was in Chicago recently and just walked by a restaurant. I looked inside and a woman started screaming. I was sort of thrilled,” he says, chuckling.
He’s part of the big-screen crazy in “The Pyramid,” opening Friday. It’s about an archaeological team trying to unlock the secrets of a newfound temple. Creatures that don’t want any human visitors interrupt the search.
“Oddly enough, my character is so straight. I’m not playing the monster,” he says. “Those characters are always harder. There is not an obvious handle to grab onto, so it’s a real acting challenge.”
He adds, “The film has a huge psychological component. The relationship between the characters is just as important as the horror. The worse things get, the group begins to fragment and you feel the tension and the loss.”
What scares him the most? “I definitely have a thing about not being able to breathe,” he says. “Whether that means someone’s hands around my neck or a space getting smaller, I’m seriously afraid.
“Of course, I’m sure I’d die of a heart attack before I smothered,” mused the Kansas City native who graduated from Northwestern University and did time on HBO’s “True Blood.” O’Hare spent 12 years working in Chicago theater. “It’s such a great, livable city,” he says. “I love riding my bike by the lake. In Chicago, you have good restaurants, good neighborhoods and great spirit.”
O’Hare co-wrote a play called “The Good Book” that will debut in March at Chicago’s Court Theatre. “It’s about how the Bible came to be the Bible,” he said.
“We worked with a Biblical scholar and she said, ‘You’re going to offend everyone. So get over it.’
“Our newest problem is that we don’t think we’re offending people enough. We write these scenes and think, ‘Aren’t you angry?’ Come on!”
His “Freak Show” fans don’t hold back. “I’ll get tweets saying, ‘I hate you.’ I know I’ve done my job that week,” he says with a laugh.