We met Glee star Darren Criss few weeks before his international tour with Glee former co-star Lea Michele in the year that consecrates him as an international star not only for his vocal skills but also for his acting excellence. He talked to us about his experience as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace based on the book, by Maureen Orth, Vulgar Favors. But not only…
D: Fashion is something I’m very passionate about (he is wearing a wonderful TopMan white suit with blue flowers on it) but as an actor, I’m just in that world for a small part. So I’m very glad they chose me for this role. Especially because I had the opportunity to meet an extraordinary woman like Donatella Versace. And I love Italy and Italians. I have lived in Arezzo where The Life is Beautiful is set…Buongiorno Principessa!!! Yes, I remember a little bit of Italian…I love languages. And I went to the Giffoni Festival a few weeks ago. I love Italy! Can’t wait to come back again. Moreover, for Glee and Versace, as a white straight man (he is engaged to Mia Swier) I’m very proud that an important community like LGBT embraced me making me feel like one of them.
C: How did you approach your character?
D: People think you work differently if you play something dark…like if you have to go dark to make it. Truth is that you work in exactly the same way. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a comedy, a sit-com, a thriller, or Shakespeare. Here we talked about something real. The thing with Andrew is that the audience is not connected with his world. It’s a huge obstacle because now we are not paying attention to the performance but to the impersonation: his conflicts and his fears. We were constantly moving between the ’70s and the ’90s so it was impossible to make my look changing so often but it’s not what matters in this series and this story.
I built my character from the book as it is a very good piece of investigative journalism and people come to me like all the time from all around the world talking about Andrew. And it’s amazing the things you hear; ’cause his personality, etc…, get finally sense.”
C: How was working with Ryan Murphy?
D: Before this project, we didn’t really work together… together; like making your hands dirty together. He was my boss and stop. It’s like being a friend of a football star. You know him, his family but you’ve never seen him play football. Even if you know it’s what he is famous for. Then suddenly you see him make his magic…that’s what happened with Ryan. He is such a terrific guy.
C: How can you explain the empathy that the audience can grow with your character even if he is a real person who murdered people?
D: I think this has more to do with human compassion than with our work. As a human I believe we are hopelessly optimistic; so I think it’s our research of his redemption this empathy we feel. Our story gives the audience some prospects they never had the occasion to look at before. Obviously what he did is terrible, unforgivable. But there is also another tragedy in this story: Andrew potential. If you look at the stereotypical US serial killers you see they are all people with this amazing and huge potential. Before becoming a serial killer, Andrew was living this great life in San Diego. He was smart and charming,… so we have to wonder why the fall, and we become like frustrated faithful friends. But this doesn’t mean we forget him.
C: Which is your favorite memory from Glee?
D: When I joined the cast, Glee was a huge phenomenon already, so it was, for me, like joining Hamilton or One Direction. I don’t have a special memory because I love everything about that show. I have a general affection for everybody on that show. I have memories on my phone with every single person I worked with; from production to the crew, from the make-up artists to the cast. Literally, for every single person, I have a great story that could make you smile.
C: Are you thinking about going back to Broadway soon?
D: Yeah. I love the theatre, it is part of me, always. I love writing musical scores for the theatre too. It is really fun. It’s a combination of everything I do and it’s also acting. When you write for a character, it combines all the elements. So, hopefully, yeah…I don’t know how soon but I look forward to writing for the theatre again…a full musical. I’d like to do something, not for a small environment, I’d like to do it at a much bigger level…but you know…deadline are killers, especially right now. Some of my colleagues right now are such great inspiration with the works thing they are doing on Broadway…so, hopefully, sooner than later.
C: Which song would you choose for a MISCAST performance?
D: Ouch…I don’t know. Gosh, I really have to think about that…you’re putting me on the spot…maybe something classic or silly…I don’t know. These are things you can be stick with for years…forgive me for not having an answer, I’ll wake up in a cold sweater night with the answer… so next time maybe I’ll have my answer for you…you’ll come to my ElsieFest in New York and I’ll give it to you.