Of her other upcoming projects, Hyland sounds most jazzed about Struck by Lightning, the one in which she plays a bitchy cheerleader. Chris Colfer of Glee wrote and co-stars in the comedy/ drama, which will be released next year.
“That was so much fun,” she says. “The script was genius, and Chris is one of the most humble, amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. Matt is actually in that, too. That was one that we both just happened to audition for and that we both booked.
“It was very different from Modern Family because on the show everyone is either 40 or 14, and I’m smack-dab in the middle at almost 21. So it was a lot of fun in a different way, just because everyone was my age. I loved hanging out with everyone and just talking between takes.”
Glee star Chris Colfer has hailed Christina Hendricks as a “full on Disney princess”.
The 21-year-old actor has written and stars in his own coming-of-age comedy movie Struck By Lightning, co-starring the Mad Men beauty as his stepmother and West Wing’s Allison Janney as his mum.
Chris said: “I have no words to describe them. They were both so amazing.
“Allison has this one scene in the movie, I’ve seen it like 48 times and there’s still this one scene that Allison does that makes me cry like an infant every single time I see it.
“And Christina is literally just a living Disney princess. It’s great to be around her and her energy on set.”
Chris is nervous about Struck By Lightning being released on the big screen and is hoping it will be embraced by audiences
He revealed: “I just saw the final cut of it and I’m really, really excited.
I think it’s good. The fact that I wrote it and I’m in so much and I can stand it I think says a lot because usually I can’t stand watching myself.
“I am so close to it I don’t even know if it’s really good or if its bad, but we’ll see. I’m sure people will let me know.”
When Chris Colfer auditioned for the part of a gay teen on Glee, he had no idea how close he’d be playing his own life. Just like his character, Kurt Hummel, Chris also tried to hide his sexual orientation first, before finally coming out to his parents and friends, thereby moving on to become an icon for teenagers across the globe.
Ask about the long-awaited liberal approach to exploring homosexual relationships on the small screen, and Chris says, “It’s not ground-breaking having gay teens on TV anymore. Earlier it was like ‘they’re together in a relationship, but don’t show it.’ We just know they’re in a corner doing God-knows-what. But they (his character Kurt and boyfriend Blaine) should be treated like any other couple. They should have fights like every other couple, so let’s get some more fights.”
Glee, which airs on Star World, propelled the small-town boy from Ohio to instant stardom overnight, complete with millions of raging fans and fashion followers.
But Chris admits that he operates under constant pressure, saying, “If I were to do something stupid, like hurt someone or get drunk at a club and fall down some stairs, all the credibility not only for me, but for the character would be gone. It is a lot of responsibility, but I think anyone in my situation would treat it with as much respect as I try to.”
The same adoring fans can sometimes turn into equally vicious haters when they disapprove of a situation or plot, as Chris found out. “There are so many times that I’m like, ‘Oh, they (the fans) aren’t going to like that line.’ But one of the big lessons I have learned from my journey is you can’t please everyone, so don’t try.”
Ask whether he’s ever thought of fighting back, and he says, “I have a sack of hate mail that I want to respond to. One day, when I’m tired or tipsy, I will respond and tell them what I think.”
Can you talk a bit about the bullying storyline in the show and can you talk about your own experience with it growing up?
Well, yes. I absolutely have had firsthand experience. I was bullied a lot in junior high and high school. In fact, I was bullied so much in junior high, I had to be homeschooled for a little bit. It’s funny because — like, when I stated that I was bullied in high school, I didn’t realise it was like a confession, like a big thing. It turned into this huge thing. And I thought everybody was bullied in high school.
What advice would you give someone going through it?
My biggest advice, I think, would be to a kid, if they’re struggling, to get help for it. Like, I mean, I think the problem is teachers and faculty members at schools these days, they’re all about disciplining kids, they’re all about punishing them and shaking their finger at them, and they forget to remind the kids that they’re there to help them too. So I think it’s more responsibility for people who are witnessing it every day rather than someone who’s being bullied or are bullied. Because when you’re in this scenario, it’s hard to avoid and hard to escape it. You kind of need help.
So, did you go back to school after you were homeschooled?
Yes, I did. Yes, I went to high school, yeah.
And then things were okay?
They were okay, but, I mean, like — I mean, that’s kind of my mindset. Like, when you go to school, you get bullied. That’s what I always thought because that’s how it was for me.
Did you get some kind of emotional letters from — or contact from fans talking about the storyline?
Oh, yeah, yeah. Thousands and thousands, yeah, absolutely. If I open up my Twitter or my Facebook right now, I could print out, like, seven or eight for you right here. I think all kids need to see is someone like them. They just need someone going through the same thing they’re going through and they just feel so much better about themselves.
And you were named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.
I was, yeah. That must be an incredible thing. Yes, absolutely. I mean, even though I have the magazine framed in my house, it’s still hard to believe that actually happened, yeah.
How conscious are you off being a role model? I mean, is that something that actually influences what you do or don’t do?
Absolutely, yeah. I mean, there are definitely situations that I definitely avoid because I know that I’m a role model and if I get seen, you know, doing this or doing that, it would take credibility away from me. It would also take credibility away from the character, unfortunately. So if I do anything stupid, it would reflect on Kurt as well. But, yeah, I definitely take it very seriously, and I hope that anyone who would be in my situation and would have this powerful material that that they’re portraying on a television show, I would hope they would take it as seriously.
You are also writing books for children. What are they going to be about?
Well, they’re completely different from anything I would do, because people kind of think Chris Colfer, oh, it must be books about bullying or something like that. But, no, I’m doing a middle grade reader fantasy series. And I just finished the first one in September, and it gets released August next year. I’m very, very impatient for it to be released and I can’t wait. It was one of the most fun I’ve ever had doing something.
What would you think is the biggest thing you’ve learned from being famous?
You can’t please everyone, so don’t try. It’s impossible to please everyone. There’s always going to be someone that wants to bring you down.
I think Kurt is having the most sweet and most romantic relationship in the show. Is it going to be that sweet in the future?
I hope not. I mean, it’s — I really — I love the relationship, but, oh, my God. It needs something. It needs some kind of drama or something, otherwise — I mean, you can only say I love you so many times. But they’ve been in such this, like, puppy-dog-love state for so long that when this new character Sebastian comes in and kind of stirs things up, I loved it. Kurt was horrified that someone was trying to steal his boyfriend, but, like, I was jumping.
So are you more thick-skinned these days? Because as you were saying, you’ve learned not to try and please everyone.
Yeah, I mean, I think now I’m kind of like — I’m kind of like a grizzly bear. Like, I do still feel the sting of the bee, but it doesn’t hurt quite as much anymore. So how are you feeling about the Glee graduation? I’m looking forward to it. I think I was looking forward to my real graduation in high school more than this fake one. But, yeah, I’m excited to see what happens to him, where he goes.
Would you like to stay with “Glee,” or is there a bit of you that’s kind of itching to go and explore those other kind of opportunities coming your way?
Well, I put so much stuff on my plate where right now I’m getting to do both. I’m getting to branch out and do all the things that I’ve always wanted to do while staying on “Glee.” So I hope I can just have the best of both worlds, but, I mean, I’m fine with whatever happens.
What about celebrities on the show – who stands out in your mind as kind of the most exciting guest star or the most surprising guest star?
Well, I love Gwyneth. I was so intimidated by her at first because I didn’t know what to expect, because she’s kind of Hollywood royalty. And then she couldn’t have been nicer or any sweeter. We had a great, great time with her. And of course, I love Kristin Chenoweth and, oh, gosh, and John Stamos was so — was such a nice guy. We’ve really lucked out. We haven’t really had a guest star that we didn’t like. And Idina Menzel, she’s great, she’s fantastic.
You’ve done so many songs in “Glee.” Is there still one song you would like do?
Yeah, there are a couple. I mean, I haven’t really gotten to do so much high soprano, operatic-type songs, like all of “Phantom of the Opera” or “Evita,” so I’d love to do something like that where I really get to sing really high, because I’ve got voice for it. I want to do it. But ever since I did I’m the Greatest Star and I got to do the whole scaffolding, acrobatic stuff and swords, it’s like I don’t want to just stand there and sing. I have to be doing something and singing otherwise I get bored.