Bates will play the real-life Madame LaLaurie, and Lange will portray a witch named Fiona with Sarah Paulson as her daughter.
Juicy details from "American Horror Story: Coven" were shared at the show's presentation during the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday, August 2. Several of the main characters were revealed, confirming witch theme of the upcoming installment.
New cast member Kathy Bates will play Marie Delphine LaLaurie, or Madame LaLaurie, loosely based on the real-life Louisiana-born socialite who was known for killing and torturing black slaves in the 1830s. "It's been interesting being in New Orleans because there's such a regard and respect for who she was," Bates said of filming the show in the city when LaLaurie lived.
Returning actress Jessica Lange, meanwhile, will tackle a witch role, Fiona. "I've shot two days so far, so I don't know who the character is yet. It comes in little dribs and drabs," she told reporters. Sarah Paulson revealed, "I play Jessica's daughter this year." Her character is named Cordelia, which is a nod to "King Lear".
Also on hand for the panel, Angela Bassett who joins the cast this season will portray Marie Laveau, a real-life Louisiana Creole woman "in the 1800s who was very influential in the city." She was known as a Voodoo priestess.
Speaking of the story, executive producer Tim Minear teased, "There's a feminist theme throughout Coven. There are also themes of race and oppression and family - especially mothers and daughters - along with laughs and scares and a few tears."
He added, "I would say that the fun quotient is higher this year. [It's still] a drama, but there is a lot of humor, and we are embracing a velocity and fun with the series this year. It might be a little bit more welcoming to an audience."
Series creator Ryan Murphy, meanwhile, has just announced via his Twitter that Alexandra Breckenridge, who appeared in the first season of the FX horror series, will return in the third season. "Very happy to announce the lovely and talented Alexandra Breckenridge will be joining AHS: Coven," he tweeted, but didn't mention her role.
"AHS: Coven" will premiere in October on FX. Other stars cast in the new chapter are Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy, Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts and Denis O'Hare.
The "AHS" scoop aside, at the TCA panel Kathy Bates blasted NBC over "Harry's Law" cancellation. "I think they treated us like s**t," she responded to a question about whether or not she would return to the network. "They kicked us to the curb. They disrespected us; they disrespected our 7-11 million viewers. I think they're getting what they deserve this year, Thank you."