'Glee' cast talks of new season, how show changed them

From left: Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith  (Photo by Ruben V. Nepales)

LOS ANGELES – We recently talked to the “Glee” cast – Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch – at the Four Seasons Hotel as well as creator-writer-director Ryan Murphy who also showed us the latest episode of “Glee,” “The Asian F,” for its new season.

After three seasons, we asked them how the top-rated award-winning TV musical has changed their lives, affected their careers and opened more doors for them.

“It has completely changed my life 360 degrees being that we are now going into our third season,” the spunky and lovely Lea, 25, revealed. “It has changed our lives in so many incredible ways and opened up so many doors. It has allowed people to see me more as a television actress whereas before I was mainly known for doing theatre. People did not consider my type of beauty good enough for television and film. Now it is the message of our show. True beauty is inner beauty. Now, people see me a little bit more as that kind of person so it has been incredibly helpful for me in that way.”

The tall and charming Canadian actor, Cory, 29, could not help but agree. “For me, ‘Glee’ has bridged the gap from just acting in television and films or whatever to music. Song and dance were not something I had any experience with before ‘Glee.’ So it is quite a drastic change.”

The talented Broadway-TV actor, Matthew, 32, exclaimed, “Wow! Well, for me who came from Broadway, I always thought only people in New York City knew who I was. It has been interesting to walk down the street and anywhere in the world and people noticing you. I guess, career-wise, I have been getting offered movie roles now. I do not have to audition for them, not the ones that I have gotten anyways. But that has been great and I am just really enjoying the ride.

“It has been interesting. But more than anything, I am just so proud to be a part of a show that has a voice, that is adding a voice to a lot that is going on in this world right now like the sensitivities about sexuality and the arts. It is just a really important piece that we are doing. I am so proud to be a part of it.”

Award-winning Jane, 51, added, “I am too. You know, that ‘Asian F’ episode, I was so moved by it. It was so good. It was musically so exciting and the message was so wonderful. It was so great to see Amber Riley step out in a big way in this episode. She is a true talent and to see the vulnerability that Lea Michele brings to Rachel. I just think it is such a great show. I know that it is affecting kids because the kids stop me every day. I am walking down the street and I feel it happening. I will walk by girls and go oh, it is going to happen. It is huge.

“The greatest thing about ‘Glee’ is that New Directions is a place where these kids come to be themselves and be celebrated for their differences as opposed to getting slushing in the face for it. These kids are actually in school so they are in that microcosm. But for all of us, in a way we are all still in high school. We all just want to find where we belong and be loved for who we are. That is really what ‘Glee’ does. Ryan Murphy takes that so seriously and I love him for that.”

Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer, 21, who was born in Clovis, California said, “Oh gosh. It is funny because whenever I think about walking into the first audition of ‘Glee,’ I was completely a different person. Physically, I was about two feet shorter and 20 pounds heavier. God, I had come from such a small town. I was so small town-minded and I knew nothing about music, fashion, the business or anything. Everyday has been quite an education since then.”

“Emotionally, I have much more confidence now and I am not so afraid,” the 21-year-old actor continued. “It is funny because when I first started ‘Glee,’ I was terrified of the camera. I would get so nervous every time they would say action. I would almost be trembling. Sometimes, I will watch an episode of Season One and see myself in the corner just scared of the camera because I know it is on. I know that it is recording me. But now, it comes on and I am just as calm as when I go to sleep at night.”

In fact, Chris, who is also writing and producing his first film, “Struck By Lightning,” noted that it was in “Glee” that he was able to play an openly gay character, to come out, to have that whole experience at the same time as being young and finding his way and doing it all in the public eye.

“It has definitely been the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced,” Chris admitted. “It is also the most overwhelming thing I have ever experienced. I remember when I was growing up in high school. Being gay was the absolute worst thing you could ever possibly be. It was like the bottom of the food chain. Everyone was called gay in a negative sense.

“Although, I remember I was not bullied for being gay. I was bullied because I had a smart mouth. I was home schooled for half of 7th grade and 8th grade because I was bullied so much in school. My parents got tired of me being harassed every day and my locker kept getting broken into and all that. So it definitely hit close to home for me because it was crazy in high school. I never realized when I publicly said at the Golden Globe Awards that I was bullied that it would become such a huge thing. I thought everyone was bullied in high school. But then, a lot of kids put me up on a pedestal for being the poster child of being bullied so I guess a lot of good came out of it.”

Asked how it was working with Fil-Am Darren Criss, Chris said, “Darren is great to work with. I consider him one of my closest friends on set. It is crazy how that relationship between our two characters have just taken off like crazy. I refer to Kurt and Blaine as the modern version of Lucy and Ricky.

“Of course, I am Lucy because I am always the one crying, making a fool of myself. But no, it is great and luckily, Darren takes it just as seriously as anyone. Sometimes, I do not think he gets enough credit for being a straight actor in that role like there is a lot of pressure put on him as well.”

Formerly a Manila journalist, Los Angeles-based Janet Susan R. Nepales is a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

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