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Chris Colfer had to step out of his comfort zone to play his breakout role joy.
The Golden Globe winner, 32, reflected on how “scary” it was playing the openly gay character of Kurt Hummel before he himself was out when he caught up with his colleague joy alums Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz on Thursday’s episode of their And that’s what you really missed podcast.
“Well, my hometown has come a long way in the last few decades, but growing up there it was dangerous to be outside,” he said of Clovis, California. “Children were beaten. Once someone was stabbed on the way to school. So being outside and being proud just wasn’t an option.
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“When I found out they had written this character for me, I was ecstatic. And when I finally got the script, I realized it was the gay character and I was scared,” added Colfer.
He played Kurt Hummel on the Ryan Murphy-directed Fox musical series for all six seasons from 2009 to 2015.
Adam Rose/FOX Darren Criss and Chris Colfer on Glee
The character became a major touchstone for LGBTQ representation at the time, as one of Season 2’s biggest storylines involved Kurt being bullied about his sexuality and having to transfer to a private school, where he found himself in classmates Blaine Anderson ( Darren Criss) in love ).
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Kurt and Blaine finally got married in the season 6 episode “A Wedding,” which also saw the wedding of Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera).
Colfer revealed on the podcast that even a family member (not his parents) told him that playing a gay character would “essentially ruin your life.”
FOX image collection via Getty The cast of the series “Glee
“But I just wanted to get out there and be a part of the industry, so much so that I just knew there wasn’t an option,” Colfer explained. “I also knew that it would probably force me to answer and ask questions of myself that I wasn’t ready for. So I’m actually kind of grateful for that, because I think it kind of pushed me into a path of honesty with myself.”
That land of stories The author finally came out publicly during an appearance on Chelsea lately in December 2009, just a few months later joy premiered in May.
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“But I was absolutely terrified. And back then, people were telling their clients, ‘Don’t play gay characters because it’s going to ruin your career,'” Colfer said. “But again, I had been auditioning for so long and never got anything. There was no option for me, I had to do it. As scary as it was.”
McHale, 34, who also came out as gay in 2018, asked Colfer if it bothers him that they wrote a gay character specifically for him. “Oh, absolutely… They just accepted. And they were right,” Colfer said as they all laughed.