Sarah Paulson stars in Glass. She talks with Michele Manelis

Glass is a trilogy following Unbreakable and Split. Were you familiar with the first two movies?

I was a huge fan of Unbreakable. That was my most favourite one. I thought it was a very interesting meditation on loneliness and separateness and depression, and the suppression of one's personal gifts and power.

What's your relationship to comic books and superheroes?

Advertisement

I think that maybe the only comic books I ever read in my life were the Archie comics. I remember in the supermarket begging my mother to buy me the Archie book and the Betty and Veronica special one.

Why do you think we love superheroes?

I think we all want to imagine that we have something special or unique to offer and what if you just took it up that notch? Could you go around and save that old lady from having her bag being stolen?

What's your special power?

My special power might just be the ability to discern when someone's lying. I'm very good at it.

Anything specific?

I have been able to detect people whose relationships were going to end, but nobody had told the other one that they were going to break up. And just being around them, I could tell that the relationship wasn't long for this world. I could also tell that someone had a secret.

How can you tell?

People do funny things with their faces. They twitch. And, also, they tend to repeat the question. There are little things that I've picked up on in life, survival mechanisms. I don't know if that would be a superpower but, if I could turn it into something, I could probably make a pretty penny.

Did you think you would ever become as famous as you are now?

I went to a performing arts high school. I had seen Jennifer Aniston and Omar Epps, and all these people who went to my school immediately make a name for themselves, and that was just not happening for me at all. I thought that my working life was going to just plateau and never reach the place where I might have opportunity.

Your red carpet looks are always iconic. Can you talk about your part in that creativity?

There is some nervousness and trepidation when you are going to walk the carpet because you know there is so much focus on it and whether you get it right, and what does right mean anyway? I have tried to turn off that part of my brain that worries about what everyone's going to think and try to listen to my gut and also to my stylist. Sometimes I will do things where I'll think, "Oh, that's too much," or "I can't possibly wear a pink dress with flames on the bottom of it!" She's like, "Oh, yes you can and you should and you will!" And I did and it was great!

Is there a superhero in your life?

Well, I think about my sister. My sister is an executive at a studio and she has three children, a husband, she's a sister to two sisters, and a friend. And I do marvel at her ability to be a decent person who leads with kindness and sensitivity and is also a powerhouse. I marvel at it, because I'm the kind of person where, if I've got two things happening at once, I'm weeping, you know? I don't know how she does it. I think any act of motherhood, sisterhood and friendship and partnership and all these things that we do in our daily lives, interpersonally, are real acts of heroism.

• Glass is in cinemas now.