For most television actors, the months between filming sea- sons of a show is a time for vacation or squeezing in film roles. For the “Glee” kids, not so much. Instead, they hit the road to tide fans over until new episodes hit the air. And now the cast makes a jump to the big screen with “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie,” a best-of mix of the stadium tour that took them across the U.S. and to Europe during their summer off.
While the live tour isn’t a new thing for the “Glee” cast — they did the same last summer — the experience of playing to 20,000 fans a night isn’t something they find easy to get used to. “It is different because on a set it’s closed off. I think crowds are a little more forgiving than your script supervisor,” says Darren Criss, who plays Chris Colfer’s private school-attending boyfriend Blaine. “There’s this huge fan presence that’s undeniable — but when it’s on social media, it isn’t as immediately tangible because it’s inherently disconnected via a computer screen,” he explains. “So to experience all these people in real time is a pretty cathartic moment.”
The concert film also features some cute backstage interviews with the cast, done in character — an acting exercise that proved more difficult for some, it turns out. “It’s hard. I definitely blew it a couple of times,” Criss says. “I was in San Francisco making shout-outs to my parents, and Blaine has probably never even been to San Francisco. I did an interview en route to the bathroom once. It was this very sort of surprised thing. I was supposed to be Blaine, but I think I was just Darren trying to get to the bathroom.”
In one especially humorous scene, Lea Michele’s Ra-chel character is told that her idol, Barbra Streisand, is in the audience, which renders her speechless. Mi-chele admits real life isn’t that far off. “I did get to meet her,” she says. “I held it together and cried when she walked away.”
Backstage interviews aside, Michele says keeping in character wasn’t a priority for her. “I feel like I did a nice blend of Rachel and of Lea while I was onstage performing. We are our characters; but when we walk offstage, we are definitely ourselves.”
And for Colfer, slipping into Kurt’s persona is something of a safety precaution. “I had to be in character, I had to be,” he insists. “You just have to leave yourself at the door sometimes, because there's no way I could do ‘Single Ladies’ every night. I could not. That's when you just leave yourself behind and he just takes over.”