DARREN CRISS as part of his interview in Out Magazine: "It doesn’t matter if I’m GAY or straight -- I’m playing a role."
But the 24-year-old’s charm and talent were only part of the it especially after a season and a half sympathy was building for Kurt to find happiness [a boyfirend]. And ever since Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy let on that Kurt will have a boyfriend this season, the Internet has been filled with speculation about who it will be. (After Bieber-esque new kid Sam, played by Chord Overstreet, proved straight, conjecture turned to Blaine.)
This is more than just a teenage dream, or even a gay one. As a top 10 show among men ages 18 to 49, Fox’s kooky jukebox musical has a fanbase that extends beyond the usual coalition of teenage girls and gay guys who tune in to Gossip Girl or 90210. Commercial time on Glee commands top dollar (behind only Sunday Night Football and American Idol, according to Advertising Age) and big-name stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Britney Spears line up for guest appearances. Its coveted berth after the recent Super Bowl -- of all things -- shouted one thing: Glee has become the only true network TV breakout hit of the last few years.
In casting Criss, the show’s producers inadvertently landed an ideal spokesman for a new generation of all-American male -- comfortable enough in his own sexuality to be perfectly at ease with someone else’s. Knowing that "Are you gay?" would be among the first questions lobbed at him, Criss initially thought he would tell reporters something ambiguous and "idealistic" like "It doesn’t matter if I’m gay or straight -- I’m playing a role." Though new to Hollywood, he’s wise enough to know that such a tactic could have backfired. He concluded, "I didn’t want to make it troublesome."
So Criss came out, as it were, as straight, and now he regularly says things like "I think it’s more empowering to everybody, including myself, if I’m articulate about identifying myself as a straight male playing a gay character. Ultimately, that’s more powerful for both communities."
Criss’s real life story is so good it seems tailor-made for this moment. He grew up in San Francisco (translation: he’s gay-friendly), where he was a big musical theater geek; his mom is Filipino and his dad is Irish (so he’s appealingly multicultural); he graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 (in other words, he’s a smartie); his self-produced EP and the Harry Potter musical parody he and his UM friends made became worldwide viral video hits (he’s creative, resourceful, and of-the-moment); he auditioned three times for Glee (that’s persistence); and he’s still deeply involved in Team StarKid, the theater company he started with his friends in college.
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