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Game Changers 2014: Evan Peters

The 'American Horror Story' actor and rising star from 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' is so adaptable onscreen it’s downright scary.

Think fast! You’ll have to, if you want to keep up with Evan Peters. The 27-year-old St. Louis native demonstrates such broad range on FX’s gleefully gory American Horror Story, he portrays a completely different character every season. Yet while Peters modestly shrugs this off—“It’s fun and cathartic to stretch, explore sides of yourself,” he says—his transformational prowess led Brian Singer, director of X-Men Days of Future Past, to cast him as speed demon Quicksilver without so much as an audition. And while higher-profile mutants log more screen time, Peters’ performance in the Pentagon kitchen—snatching caps off guards while stopping bullets—steals the show. “Hugh Jackman told me he goes into theaters and watches [his movies] with the crowd. I’d never done that before so I did it. I went to a theater to watch the film with the crowd, and they applauded after that scene,” he recalls. “That was surreal, a special moment.”

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Keep your eye on Peters, if you can, as he swings from poignant drama (Safelight) to nail-biting thriller (Lazarus) and still makes time to again get small-screen scary on the fourth season of AHS, which he finds most challenging. “Horror is hardest—you’re always in an extreme situation, about to kill or be killed.”

Ok, but what about that AHS threesome with costars Taissa Farmiga and real-life girlfriend Emma Roberts? Peters says the trio kept it deliberately tame. “We joined forces to tone it down,” he insists. “There are plenty of other embarrassing occasions in this business to endure.” 

FIT FACT:  The American Horror Story producers understand the value of a good  workout—the show is no stranger to nudity, after all. “ [AHS’ Dylan McDermott,] had them bring him a gym on set,” Peters told US Weekly. “They hooked him up with a bench-press machine and all these free weights so he could work out in between takes.”

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