Interview: “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy on Chris Colfer coming out on “Chelsea Lately”
Moments before the start of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society luncheon Wednesday featuring some of television’s biggest hitmakers, I had the chance to chat with Ryan Murphy, the creator, writer and director of the his FOX series Glee.
I’ll share the full interview tomorrow but in light of the comments made during the lunch by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner [“Mad Man” creator says openly gay actors, even Neil Patrick Harris, can expect limited opportunities, I wanted to share Murphy’s comments on the recent coming out of one of his actors, Chris Colfer.
Colfer, who plays the gay character Kurt Hummel on the show, appeared on the E! show Chelsea Lately. Host Chelsea Handler kicked things off by saying: “Your character is gay, and we know you’re gay.” Chris answered a faint “yes” to both questions then said playfully: “My answer to that question was, prior to coming out, that I was as straight as every other actor in Hollywood.”
It was not clear whether Handler had ambushed the young actor with the question.
Murphy does not think so: “I don’t think she ambushed him, I that it was something that was discussed.”
Even as more male television actors on hit shows have come out in recent years – Neil Patrick Harris, T.R. Knight, Luke Macfarlane, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Scott Evans and John Barrowman to name a few – there is still an opinion in the entertainment industry that being openly gay will cost you jobs – something actor Rupert Everett has been especially vocal about.
“It’s difficult,” Murphy said. “I think, when you’re in the public eye, particularly when you’re an actor, there’s a lot of pressure in you. But I always would encourage everybody to be honest about their life and their sexuality.”
He speaks from personal experience.
“I have been since I was 15 in rural Indiana and the truth always helped me – I tell that to kids,” said Murphy, who also created Nip/Tuck and the cult hit Popular.
“But it’s a very individual decision,” he adds. “I would never tell somebody to do it or not, it’s up to them. I can on;y speak to my experience. The truth does set you free in some way. I think it’s a different world now. I still think it’s a difficult world.”