Chris Colfer revealed that he was initially terrified to portray an openly gay character on the hit series Glee.
Back in 2009, the 32-year-old author wowed viewers with his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the beloved teen-comedy.
Due to his performance, the young talent won multiple accolades, including a Screen Actors Guild Award, People’s Choice Award and a Golden Globe Award.
However before the series became a pop culture hit, Colfer revealed that he was terrified to take on the role – which was specifically written for him – out of fear of retaliation from his hometown of Clovis, California.
“So, my hometown has come very far in the last couple decades, but when I was growing up there, it was dangerous to be out,” he revealed on Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz’s podcast, And That’s What You REALLY Missed.
“Kids would get beat up. On one occasion, someone got stabbed on their way to school. So being out and proud was just not an option. So when I found out they had written this character for me, I was thrilled. And then, when I finally got the script was when I realised it was the gay character, and I was terrified.”
Colfer also revealed that after getting offered the role, a family member told him that playing a gay character “would ruin your life, essentially.”
However despite his initial fears, he decided to take on the role because he knew it would help him break into Hollywood and navigate his own sexuality.
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“I just wanted to get out and be part of the industry so badly, I just knew there was no option. I also knew that it would probably force me to answer and ask questions of myself that I wasn’t quite ready to do,” he explained.
“So, I’m actually kind of grateful for it in a way because I think it kind of pushed me into a path of honesty with myself.
Towards the end of his interview, Colfer reflected on his coming out experience and likened it to Heartstoppers’ Kit Connor – who recently outed himself on Twitter due to harassment from “fans”.
“There wasn’t much support for young gay people back then. The whole thing with Heartstopper, that absolutely broke my heart because, essentially, the same thing happened to me but 15 years ago. We were the same age,” he said.
While Colfer admitted the world is still full of homophobia, he also stated that LGBTQ+ support has come a long way.
“People were furious that it happened to [Kit] – I think that’s proof of how far the community has come,” he added.
“When it happened to me, it was very much ‘I deserved it’ I was obvious, so, therefore, I have no reason to be upset about it.”
Listen to Colfer’s full interview on And That’s What You REALLY Missed here or below.