PASADENA, Calif. — A year ago, Chris Colfer was just a kid from Clovis, Calif., who got his first professional acting break with a role on a new Fox TV show about the trials of a high school glee club.
Now he’s a star thanks to the popularity of “Glee,” the top-rated, critically acclaimed series that took home this year’s Golden Globe for best comedy and musical.
The response to “Glee” has been huge, especially for Colfer. He’s had to hire two publicists to juggle the requests for interviews, photo shoots and public appearances. That’s what happens when you are part of a show that becomes a phenomenon.
“There has been so much attention for everyone on the show we have bonded together, sort of like a good hostage situation,” Colfer says at a Fox party at the Villa Sorriso restaurant. “But when it comes to the attention from the press, I don’t know if you can ever get used to this kind of attention.”
What’s brought Colfer all of the attention is his character Kurt Hummel, who has a flamboyant fashion sense and precarious emotional connection to his father. Despite the large cast, the show’s writers have developed Kurt’s character, giving Colfer the chance to shine with a wicked performance of “Defying Gravity” and a memorable performance of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”
That “Single Ladies” performance even caught the attention of Hollywood’s elite. Sandra Bullock told Colfer at the Golden Globes that she made her husband, Jesse James, watch the episode. It featured Colfer dancing on a football field before kicking a field goal.
“The image of her making her tatted husband sit down and watch ‘Single Ladies’ kills me,” Colfer says.
Colfer’s Beyonce moves didn’t come easy. Previously he’d only danced in high school productions or community theater. He’s proud it took him only three days of rehearsals to get the moves down.
Just like his quick grasp of the dance moves, Colfer’s growing more comfortable with the acting and singing parts of the job. He’s happy that most of his learning curve happened during the the first 13 episodes that were completed before the first episode ever aired. He and the cast didn’t have to worry about being immediately judged as they grew into their roles.
During that time, which Colfer calls working in a “Glee bubble,” no one knew whether the show would be a hit or be canceled after the initial 13 shows. Now all he has to do is walk down the street to know the series has touched young and old.
He’s curious about how his role on “Glee” has been received with a certain group. Smiling, he’s jokes about counting the days until his 10th high school class reunion.
“I can’t wait to say, ‘You remember this whole acting gig you laughed at? I told you so,’” he says. “Actually, I think there are lots of people in Clovis and Fresno who are just happy to see someone from there on a TV show.”