Chris Colfer has so many screaming Glee fans he can’t go out on his own. So the all-singing, all-dancing star has decided to make the most of all that time indoors by writing fairy tales for teenagers
Hearing a bunch of 40-year-olds talking about what’s appealing to teenagers is always funny,’ says Glee star Chris Colfer. ‘When I was a teenager, a studio executive told me that if I wanted to make a movie, it was going to have to be about how the character lost his virginity, how he wants to become popular, otherwise nobody’s gonna want to see it. I was like, “Absolutely not.” Not every teenager in the world is on a quest to become popular. I certainly wasn’t; when I was in high school, I wanted people to leave me alone.’
This is because he was, as he describes it, ‘an old soul’. Growing up in Clovis, an old freight-stop town in California, Colfer was a geeky kid who didn’t fit in. His sister Hannah is severely epileptic, they didn’t have much money, and Chris was chubby, precocious, gay, and ‘way too smart for my own good’. He was obsessed with history, but not the bloodybattles of the American Civil War. ‘Oh, gosh no! European kings and queens. At one point I could tell you every single monarch from Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth II. The whole lineage.’
The 23-year-old I meet is sweet, polite and a touch nervy, but way more ambitious than someone of that age should be. With his aforementioned film, Struck By Lightning, starring Rebel Wilson, already in the bag after he found independent funding, the actor/producer/writer has also found time to pen his first children’s book, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, about a twin brother and sister who after the death of their father escape into a book by literally walking into its pages. They enter a world of familiar fairy-tale faces, whom Colfer provides with unexpected backstories. ‘What the world fails to realise,’ says Snow White’s wicked stepmother at one point, ‘is that a villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.’ The modern fairy tale, which he wrote while touring with the Glee cast, ‘typing, typing, typing’ between singing ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, went on to make The New York Times bestseller list.
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