You may know “Glee” star Lea Michele is in Ryan Murphy’s new project, “Scream Queens,” but chances are, it’ll take you a minute to realize it’s her. The actress wears a giant neck brace and plays a bit of a nerd in the horror/comedy hybrid, and she says she’s pretty happy people don’t know it’s her.
“I love it,” Michele says. “Even the people who know me super well, like a lot of the crew members who came from ‘Glee’ and are now on ‘Scream Queens,’ will see me at work and they’ll be like, I didn’t even know I was talking to you.”
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It’s a bit of a change from her last job, certainly, and Michele confirms, “Ryan won’t have me sing. He wants us to be different. I appreciate that.”
But even though things are changing a bit, Michele says it’s good to be around “family faces, familiar family. There’s a trust there. I know I’m in incredible hands.”
Not only is she around a familiar family, but she gets to work with the acknowledged queen of the genre, Jamie Lee Curtis, who plays the dean of the college Michele’s character attends. She says she didn’t ask Curtis for advice on horror, but that her influence is there in other ways.
“Jamie Lee is an incredible role model in how to be on set as an actor. She is the greatest sort of centering unit. I can’t express how grateful we are to have someone that really holds down the fort,” says Michele.
And Curtis seems pretty happy to be there, too, saying, “It’s the best part I”ll ever have in my life.”
She’s seen a lot of changes happen over the years in the horror genre, which “Scream Queens” explores. There’s a sharply comedic aspect to the show in between the gory deaths, and Curtis says that’s something that had to happen to horror films.
“They have to evolve. It has to be something that grows and changes, because the trope gets tired,” Curtis explains.
While a lot of actors might scoff at horror as a genre, Curtis differs. “Without the horror film industry, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be enjoying my life. I owe everything I have to [‘Halloween’ director] John Carpenter, who somehow saw something me way back in 1978 in a tiny little office on Cahuenga Boulevard for a $300,000 movie that he wrote where he hired me to play the virginal repressed babysitter, and from that moment, my life has changed.”
But don’t expect to see Curtis tuning in to the next “Paranormal Activity.”
“I am the person who anyone will say to me, oh no no, you can’t see that, Jamie. I scare easily. I scare very easily and there is nothing about being scared that I like,” says Curtis. “My husband and I, in our wedding vows, vowed not to give each other surprise parties."