Chris Colfer was not out in high school because “people are killed in my hometown for that”, he told The Advocate last year.
But today, the 19-year-old openly gay actor who plays Kurt Hummel, an “over-the-top, flamboyant and loud” gay student in Glee, a Golden Globe Award winning musical comedy-drama television series Glee, says hopes for gay teenagers to be able to identify with his character.
“Like Kurt, I was kind of an outcast and was bullied in high school. We’re both very different people, but the fact that we’ve had so many similar experiences, it makes the character so much more relatable because the emotion is coming from a real place.” He told thetvaddict.com in an interview published on Tuesday.
When asked if he thinks gay teens would be able to identify with his character, he replied: “I definitely hope so. One of the reasons why I decided to play him like I portray him on the show is that there are a lot of very over-the-top flamboyant loud characters like Kurt on television.
“I grew up in a very small conservative town and I didn’t know too many people like that. But I did know a lot of people that were very quiet, internal and thought themselves very superior to everybody around them and that’s how I play Kurt — like the real people that I knew and I think that has what people have been responded to.”
According to media interviews, Colfer who was then a community theater actor from Clovis, California had originally auditioned for Artie (played by Kevin Mchale) with the song "Mr Cellophane" and had impressed the show’s creator Ryan Murphy so much that the role of Kurt was created for him.
One of Colfer's real-life experiences also translated into a subplot for Glee when he related to Murphy that his high school teachers had repeatedly turned down his request to sing “Defying Gravity” – from the musical Wicked – because it is traditionally performed by a woman. In the episode, Kurt and his father challenge the school after Kurt’s request to audition for the part was turned down as the club’s director (played by Matthew Morrison) had automatically assigned a female student (played by Lea Michele) to sing “Defying Gravity” at a competition.
“I found a way to write it into the show because that’s in a nutshell what this show is about: someone being told that they can’t do something because of what the perception of them is as opposed to what their real ability is.” Murphy was quoted as saying in a LA Times blog.
Colfer added: “I know I'm definitely not the best singer, but I think the message, the story behind the song about defying limits and borders placed by others, hopefully all that gets across with the performance.”
Kurt will get an onscreen boyfriend in the second season of Glee which starts Tuesday, April 13 in the US.
Glee Season 1 airs in 20 Asian countries/territories on Starworld on Wednesdays.