Jessica Lange, who once beguiled King Kong, suffered Blanche DuBois’ manic illusions and slipped into psychosis with Frances Farmer, has a whole new career going for her on FX’s “American Horror Story.”

Last season she played a master manipulator in a gothic ghost story and this year she’s a nun slipping into madness.

“I understand that there’s a demographic that otherwise probably wouldn’t know my work,” she said. “I’m always surprised when young people don’t know certain actors or are not familiar with certain films — even people who are working in Hollywood, which is really alarming, are not aware of certain filmmakers if it’s more than 20 years ago or 25 years ago, or maybe even 15 years ago.”

The television series has marked a new venue for her. “It has given me a whole new exposure that probably I wouldn’t have had otherwise, because of the kinds of films that I do. I don’t do big studio films that gross $100 million or whatever, I’ve mostly done small, independent movies. And that has a very limited audience. So this is a greater audience probably than I’ve had for a long, long time, and it’s also the demographic is much younger.”

Lange is one of a handful of actresses who’ve managed to transmute from blond leading lady to roles of power and substance.

“I think obviously your days as leading lady are limited,” she acknowledged. “You have that one little window of time from mid-20s to maybe mid-40s. I’m trying to think of the last ‘leading lady’ I played. It might have been like what? ‘Blue Sky’ or something. And then I must have been early 40s. So yes, where you played the romantic lead, that comes to an end at a certain point. … I suppose then you could define the parts that come your way as characters, you become a character actor.”

Gandolfini disappears into character actor roles

NEW YORK – In the five years since “The Sopranos” ended, James Gandolfini has eschewed the spotlight, instead disappearing into a heap of character actor performances that, while they may lack the heft of Tony Soprano, have only further proved the actor’s wide-ranging talent.

This season offers a gluttony of Gandolfini, albeit in bite-sized parts. In Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden hunt docudrama “Zero Dark Thirty,” he plays Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. In David Chase’s ’60s period drama “Not Fade Away,” he plays the old-school father of a wannabe rocker. And in Andrew Dominick’s crime flick “Killing Them Softly,” he plays an aged, washed-up hit man.

None of the roles are showy lead men, and that’s just fine with Gandolfini.

“I’m much more comfortable doing smaller things,” Gandolfini said in a recent interview. “I like them. I like the way they’re shot; they’re shot quickly. It’s all about the scripts — that’s what it is — and I’m getting some interesting little scripts.”

The 51-year-old actor rarely gives interviews, partly because he distrusts the ego-inflating effect of attention.

Thousands call for Morgan’s deportation

LONDON – Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for British CNN host Piers Morgan to be deported over his gun control views.

Morgan has taken an aggressive stand for tighter U.S. gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Last week, he called a gun advocate appearing on his “Piers Morgan Tonight” show an “unbelievably stupid man.”

Now, gun rights activists are fighting back. A petition created Friday on the White House e-petition website by a user in Texas accuses Morgan of engaging in a “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution” by targeting the Second Amendment. It demands he be deported immediately for “exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

The petition has already hit the 25,000 signature threshold to get a White House response. By Monday, it had 31,813 signatures.

— From news service reports