Golden Globe-winning actor. New York Times best-selling author. Named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Not bad for a 22-year-old. And now Chris Colfer is stepping up his game with “Struck by Lightning,” a film he wrote in high school and stars in, due out in January. It’s also the title of Colfer’s second novel, out Tuesday, written as the journal of the film’s main character, Carson Phillips.
Turning a screenplay into a book seems like kind of a backward adaptation.
Oh, it totally was. It was really a very unique process. I wrote the screenplay, and the way the screenplay is formatted compared to the way the movie was edited is completely different. There are many scenes that were cut — well, there were many scenes that had to be cut because we couldn’t afford to film them.
How do you want readers to experience the book as opposed to those seeing the movie?
The journal takes place over the course of his last few months alive and the movie takes place back and forth between his life and after his death. So I think the journal offers an inside look into everything that was going on in his head at the time — pursuing his goals and blackmailing his peers.
About that blackmailing: Did you worry about including dark material like that, considering the stances you’ve taken on causes like bullying and gay rights?
Not really. Everyone really has me on a very big role-model pedestal. But they forget that before I was a role model thanks to “Glee,” I was an actor. I don’t think I’m ever going to worry about material that I create or portray that might affect my role-model status. I’m always very cautious about things I say in interviews and how I present myself, but I don’t think I’ll ever be persuaded not to do a project or not write because I’m worried that people might think less of me.
Your resume is quite impressive, as you’re only 22 years old. Do you know something that the rest of us don’t about how much time we have left?
No … [laughs]. And I swear to God, I don’t have people helping me. I write everything authentically myself and by myself, and I don’t really like working with other people. I don’t think I can be creative with someone else. But I think it’s just drive. I’ve always had this burning need to be a storyteller. Every since I was a kid, it’s what I love to do the most — create worlds and create characters.