Darren Criss first rose to fame as gay teenager Blaine Anderson on musical series Glee. Since the show finished in 2015, Criss has tried his hand at Broadway – appearing in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in the same year – as well as releasing music alongside his brother Chuck with their project Computer Games. Now, the 31-year-old has stepped into the shoes of Andrew Cunanan, the serial killer responsible for gunning down legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997, for the new nine-episode series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Criss sat down with WHO whilst in Australia to chat all things Versace, his future plans and his upcoming tour with former Glee co-star Lea Michele.
WHO: How much did you know about Andrew Cunanan’s role in Versace death?
About as much as I think most people [knew] unless you were working in fashion in the ‘90s or living in Miami. I knew that he was shot and I vaguely remember that he was shot by someone who was half Filipino, that was about it, I only would have clocked that in because I’m half Filipino but other than that, I didn’t know a whole lot so like most people when you start to realise that he had a much larger history, not only personally but as far as how many more homicides there were, you just go ‘Oh my god how did I not know about this?’ and then the answer to that question is in the show, like ‘How did we not know about this?’ well X, Y and Z.
WHO: Did you feel any pressure in how you represented Andrew in the series?
I didn’t feel any more pressure than I feel for any role, which is to say that I treat all roles with the same sort of TLC, I’m really making sure that everyone’s taken care of. Now Andrew’s tricky because he was a real person and so I think there was less pressure and more… there was a great deal of concern that I had in that this was a real person that destroyed the lives of people who are still very much alive 20 years later and in the immediate aftermath of everything that happened in 1997, the family and friends of these people were bombarded with media.
WHO: You’re about to kick off a tour with Lea Michele in the US. Will you be playing any Glee classics?
Yeah hopefully! I mean that’s the point, that’s the idea. We share a lot of history in the sense that we were both on Glee but we both come from Broadway and both have our own solo records on the side and so there will be a whole lot of stuff that we would’ve never had an excuse to do together live and a whole lot of stuff that would just be fun so there will be something for everybody there because I think for me it’s always interesting when I play a show because I’m playing a show here [in Sydney] and even that is always a fun variety show of my life, it’s a bit of Glee, it’s a bit of Broadway, it’s a bit of Star Kid, it’s a bit of Computer Games and all my other, you know, musical shenanigans that I’ve gotten myself involved in.
WHO: What else do you have planned for the rest of 2018?
You know, I have no idea. I’m excited to see what comes up next for me, I really don’t know. It has to be the right thing and working on this project ticked so many boxes. I don’t want to say hard to beat because it’s not like you’re constantly competing with yourself, I don’t want to beat anything, [but] the next step is an interesting one I have no idea what it’s going to be. I felt so privileged and was so invigorated to be apart of a show of this size and heart and gravitas that I’m like ‘Is this is? Should I just throw in the towel now? Should I just quit while I’m ahead?’ I don’t know so we’ll see I mean that’s why I play music and I play shows just to keep my mind off thinking about that answer [laughs], hopefully something comes up. That’s the nice thing about being a musician, you can just kind of do that while other things happen so I don’t know, I still have to finish another record with my brother with Computer Games and I’ve got to get back to writing another show at some point so who knows?
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The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres on Foxtel’s showcase channel on Thursday, May 24 at 8:30pm.
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