The last frontier for Glee to conquer is the movie theater. They’re already a hit show, a chart topping purveyor of albums and iTunes downloads and perform to sold out crowds on stage. Now they have a movie.
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie captures one of those live stage shows and uses Hollywood technology to make cinema audiences feel like they’re in the front row. The entire cast of Glee got together to discuss their concert movie, their advice to talented young hopefuls, the social impact of their show and what they know about the show’s third season. Glee: The 3D Concert Movie opens Friday.
Q: You usually shoot just on the set with a crew in front of you. Some of you have theater experience with Broadway, so what is your reaction to the concert crowds?
Jenna Ushkowitz: It’s instant gratification basically. That’s what it is. We definitely feed off of that. Gratefully, our crew is dancing along with us, and they’re amazing, but other than that it’s usually just a smaller group of about 20 of us. It’s just a totally different vibe.
Harry Shum Jr: I think at some point, everyone when they were kids, on their bed, going “Ahhhhhh.” I think everyone experiences that at some point of life.
Heather Morris: And it still feels exactly the same to be on stage. Once you get over the nervousness, and you have that one moment where you’re like this feels like I’m playing in my room. It’s fun.
Kevin McHale: It’s easier when you’re on stage with 13 or 14 other people, so you’re not so nervous, but I just remember when I had to kill time before “Safety Dance” for people to change, it was easy to take that for granted because there were so many people around and I was just like this is easy, but then when you have to talk to them, and you don’t plan ahead what you’re going to say and your joke doesn’t pan out and it gets quiet in front of 20,000 people, thank God I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself.
Q: Besides performing on stage, were you aware of the movie cameras?
Amber Riley: Yes. I think people think that the cameras followed us the whole entire time we were on tour, and they didn’t. They only were with us for two days. It was no different than filming on Glee.
Dianna Agron: They were actually really beautiful to watch because they were all suspended on these cords. I called them the black flying swans. Also the lighting had to be different for the movie and you could see so many more people than you could normally see so that actually was a really cool thing to pay attention to.
Lea Michele: One day when we were backstage, I kept seeing this woman who was walking backwards backstage. I was like, why is this woman walking backstage? Every time I would walk towards her, she’d start walking backwards in front of me! I was like, this woman, I think, has lost her mind. What is going on? And then I realized she had a camera on the front of her, and she was videotaping me walking, so you might see my face at one point, like? As I’m walking backstage, it’s because I’m looking at this lady who was walking backwards, it was very bizarre.
Darren Criss: I think I did an interview en route to the bathroom once, so it was a very surprise thing. I was supposed to be Blaine, but I think I was just Darren, trying to get to the bathroom.
Kevin McHale: It only got in my way once when the whole thing was I didn’t get out of my chair until I was hidden behind the band. That had been so strongly stressed when we started the tour, to not break that. The 3D camera was in the way in the back and I got a little angry because I had to leave the chair out in the middle, so everybody could see me get up and leave because we had to make room for the camera.
Dianna Agron: Harry saved me. Remember, there was a camera on the back of Kevin’s chair and Harry is a very coordinated dancer. So I remember the first number where I’m right behind him and that would be an area that I might not necessarily want a camera swaying back and forth. And Harry just kind of went this. I went that’s really weird, Harry’s really coordinated. Then I saw he was going in and out of the camera. What a gentleman, he’s saving me. He saved me.
Harry Shum Jr.: Of course, I don’t want you to get hurt.
Q: What’s your advice to people who want to get involved in singing and dancing?
Darren Criss: Do it.
JU: Take a class, work hard, practice. Talent doesn’t appear overnight. It takes a lot of work and honing your craft, but also don’t give up. People may say you’re not good enough, I had so many teacher in high school and college saying, “You’re not going to make it, you can’t, you can’t.” Luckily I had enough people around me who said I could.
Cory Monteith: If I can do it anyone can.
Lea Michele: And I think it’s also important for kids who know that they want to be performers to find really what you are particularly good at, your unique talent. I think that our television show really focuses on each person’s individual talent, whether you’re a singer who can move well or a fantastic dancer who sings well. Find what you’re good at and then go for that. People in the world right now are so craving for people’s uniqueness.
Dianna Agron: I think why go through life not trying? And it’s definitely the easiest field for people to put down. I remember when I was leaving home, people were like, “Oh, see you back next year.” Wouldn’t it be awful to not have tried? Obviously everybody in this room wanted something and live without regrets I guess.
Darren Criss: I would say utilize a lot of the technology that’s available to kids now because unfortunately we live in a country where the facility to be able to perform isn’t as available. I was very blessed with an arts education and it’s not so easy for everybody in parts of our country and elsewhere. There are ways to find things and ways to perform. Obviously YouTube is the forefront for a lot of the performers we find, myself included. There are ways to meet people and surround yourself with likeminded people who will support you. It’s a smaller world now and I would embrace that to nurture your own love of performing.
Q: For the women, if a guy can’t sing, how should he try to win you over?
Ashley Fink: Tell a joke.
Dianna Agron: Define sing or dance. I had someone interviewing me today who said “I can’t dance,” but it’s all in the eye of the beholder. That might be the particular style of dancing. I think that’s the thing. Maybe we’ve seen too many movies where Patrick Swayze is lifting up the girl and they’re like, “Wow I definitely can’t do that.” And maybe that’s the perception, if I can’t do that I’m not a dancer. But I think the beautiful thing is that we’ve seen so many kids on YouTube and not even just kids recreating our dances and submitting their own funny videos. Some of the viral video stars are the ones that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily peg to be the singer or the dancer.
Q: What are you excited about for the third season?
Amber Riley: Everything. We’re excited to see what’s going to happen.
Dianna Agron: Being seniors. It opens up the door for so many exciting things that I think we all remember from our own senior years. And yeah, it’s a very special time in high school.
Lea Michele: Don’t they get to skip class and stuff like that?
Amber Riley: Senior ditch day.
Ashley Fink: Yeah, senior ditch day. There better be.
Harry Shum Jr.: Yeah, senior pranks.
Q: When you’re on tour, do you find audiences abroad are more reserved than Americans?
Lea Michele: Oh no.
Darren Criss: Afternoon crowd in Manchester blew my mind.
Ashley Fink: Man, Manchester was off the chain.
Lea Michele: I think that was because they were really excited that we were there, that we’ve come all the way there to see them. We did a lot of performances in Europe.
Darren Criss: Yeah, and it wasn’t just England, I think it’s because it was the only place that we scraped the surface in Dublin, and sort of Europe, a lot of Western Europe went, so we were meeting at meet and greets as many people from Scandinavia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc., so it was a big hub for most of Europe, so it was a crazy crowd. I thought it was crazier.
Q: The show has been monumental for the gay community, and in the movie we meet some of the fans on whom it’s made an impact. What was it like meeting Trent, who was inspired by the Kurt and Blaine storyline?
Chris Colfer: It’s crazy when you represent such a select community, just the stories that you hear that are heartbreaking, inspiring, and they always thank you so much, not realizing that it’s really them who are brave, and it’s them who are the strong ones.
Darren Criss: I was going to say the same thing. It’s people who are always asking us about those stories, and it’s mutually inspiring, whatever things that we’ve given them via our writers. We’re part of something that’s so much greater than just the characters, it’s a greater story and a greater ideal, and I think they are much greater than they think they are because it comes right back to us, and that goes into every performance, and it’s not just a job anymore, it’s like I’ve been given this superhero’s costume, and I get to play it, and it’s a privilege.
Q: For Heather and Naya, what feedback do you hear from the lesbianb community?
Naya Rivera: Heather and I both receive letters constantly now from teenage girls all the time from girls who are struggling with their sexuality. I think that since we’ve tapped into that now, they kind of have something to look up to that maybe wasn’t on television before in that way. We’ve heard countless stories. I know she met someone at a meet and greet and she said, “Thank you. I came out to my parents because of you guys.” And I get letters like that too. So I think it’s great.
Heather Morris: Girls are just more quiet about it. I’m sure growing up I had a handful of girlfriends they weren’t sure, probably just kept it under wraps. It wasn’t as accepted I guess to just say it out loud. I think it’s easier for some people now.
Q: Is there any song that you haven’t had a chance to sing yet that you’d like to sing, either in the next season or in an upcoming season?
Lea Michele: Honestly, I’ve gotten to do the greatest songs. I’m done. I’m good.
Chris Colfer: It depends on what the situation will be in the story, because I’ve heard little rumors about what might happen this season, and I’m like, oh, this song would be perfect for that! Or that song would be perfect for this! So we’ll see.
Lea Michele: None of them would be a secret. They aren’t our decisions. We just don’t really have any. Think about how many songs we’ve covered on the show, can you think of anything we haven’t done on the show? The Spice Girls!
Q: Have you done Meat Loaf?
Ashley Fink: Oh, I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.
Lea Michele: He was on the show! Yes, we did. We did the song that he sang in Rocky Horror.
Q: I mean proper Meat Loaf from his albums.
Ashley Fink: You want “I Would Do Anything for Love.” I get you.