Chris Colfer Sick Of Typecasting: “People Try To Pigeonhole You”


Chris Colfer is tickled pink to be promoting his new film, Struck by Lightning, but the Glee star admits he’s not thrilled about being “pigeonholed” because of his sexuality.

“I’ve never made [being gay] a big deal, it’s everyone else that’s always made it a big deal,” Colfer, who also wrote Lightning, told Hollywood Outbreak. “I don’t think I’ve ever tried to be something that I’m not. I think people do that for you—People try to pigeonhole you. People tried typecasting me before they even saw me in anything else.”

Hey, with a hit TV show, Hollywood screenplay and a New York Times best-selling children’s book under his belt, Colfer can probably tackle whatever he sets his mind to.

Struck by Lightning hits theaters January 11.

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  • Lefty

    The character he played in Glee was a very indelible type (I won’t use “stereotype” as I loathe discussions based around such notions). All the characters in Glee were kind of “types”, weren’t they? Maybe that was the point.
    So I think all the actors on that show will probably face a struggle to not become typecast by the characters they played.
    Having said that, of all the actors from Glee, he seems to be the one who is branching out the most.
    In other directions, though. I mean, it’s difficult not to see him always being cast to type to some extent. He’s never going to be an action movie star, for instance, is he?
    But then, who would want to be one of those???

  • ncman

    @Lefty: Why are you talking about “Glee” in the past tense? Has it been cancelled?

  • Lefty

    @ncman: Is it still going? I stopped watching after the second season. :(

  • yaoming

    I’ve seen this guy act and I’ve seen him interviewed and he always comes across the same way – which is as a fem gay guy. I don’t have a problem with that, but that’s how he comes across and I would assume that’s how he feels he’s being typecast. If he doesn’t want to play lisping, nerdy gay characters for the rest of his life, maybe he should take kung-fu lessons or something.

  • Jason

    @yaoming: I have to agree, If he’s capable of playing another “type,” I’d love to see it.

  • the other Greg

    @Lefty: “never going to be an action movie star, for instance, is he?” Well unfortunately, having a villain who seems gay/gay-ish has been a movie stereotype since the silent era.

  • Lefty

    @the other Greg: Very true. Gay and/or English men must make up the vast majority of movie villains ever put on the screen.

    I was thinking some more about this and I think a case can be made for the fear Chris Colfer expresses (a lot of actors express this fear, don’t they) is in some ways a mind-set that’s quite similar to that of the very casting agents they decry.
    In other words, I think a good actor can and should play every character as unique even if (or rather especially so) they might seem like a type. I mean, you could play a camp or “feminine” gay nerd ten times and make each one unique. After all, there are lots of gay men in the world who could superficially be described as such, yet they are all different from in each other in small and large ways, aren’t they? Isn’t that what acting is supposed to be about? Not playing a broad range of types (“Don’t typecast me, I want to play other types, too.”) but imbuing characters with humanity and all the variation therein.
    In short, a good actor could play a succession of such types and imbue each one with their own unique humanity. Likewise, a good actor playing an action hero looks beyond the type and invests it with its own unique character.
    That, to my mind, is how a good actor sees every role. It’s the responsibility the actor to look beyond types even more than that of casting agents.
    If Chris Colfer is only offered roles of that type, then – to quote Lawrence Olivier’s catty remark to Dustin Hoffmann – “Why not try acting, dear?”

    Good luck to him, anyway. I’m not criticising him. He seems to be doing rather well…

  • 2eo

    I’m gay, English and a villain, why don’t I get the movie deals.

    Kids given a massive break and he’s moaning already, this is why you won’t have a career in 5 years sunshine.

  • Caliban

    Actually, I’d like to see an action movie or thriller with a gay guy, even a ‘fem’ gay guy, as the lead. Or one of the leads. To me the problem isn’t so much the stereotype itself but the limitations imposed on it.

    Imagine this movie. Bad guys pick a ‘fem’ gay guy to be a patsy for something because they view him as weak. Maybe they kidnap his partner or child to make him comply with their demands. Instead he finds reserves of resilience and strength inside himself and kicks their asses, utilizing his talents in new ways. Give him a macho homophobic side-kick who learns to respect him and BOOM, you have a potential movie franchise.

    I’d watch that movie and I suspect others would too. Is it REALLY a surprise when Jason Statham turns out to be an bad-ass? No. But it would be a surprise if Chris Colfer did.

    I have a problem with the “nellie” stereotype because it’s practically the ONLY representation of gay men that we see and that the characters rarely go beyond the stereotype. If you’re an effeminate gay man chances are you’ve had to deal with a fair amount of shit in life, so why are they always portrayed and weak and helpless, screaming when they see a mouse?

  • Jame

    well here’s an idea… You’re an actor right? why don’t you ACT like someone else. Change your appearance, or does he think that every director is going to change the character to fit what he looks like?

  • MK Ultra

    Colfer in many ways typecasts himself.
    It’s Colfer who needs to step outside the box.

  • Dot Beech

    Here’s what a better and more important actor than Mr. Colfer had to say on being type cast.

    “Certainly I was typed. But what is typing? It is a trademark, a means by which the public recognizes you. Actors work all their lives to achieve that. I got mine with just one picture. It was a blessing.”

    -Boris Karloff

  • Little-Kiwi

    it’s not the “type” you are, or are perceived to be, nor the “type” portrayed in the film that matters – it’s how the film is about the character.

    and to Caliban’s point, a lot of the denigrated “femme” guys that i’ve known in life have balls of STEEL.

    wanna see some stereotypical gays in an “action film”? watch any documentary on the Stonewall Riots, boys.

  • Spike

    No shit sherlock, this guy is a genius. Unless you are Meryl fucking Streep, of course Hollywood pigeon hole/typecasts actors.

    Case and point, 95% of anyone who has ever been a regular on a Star Trek franchise, or better yet, Tom Cruise, he pretty much plays Tom Cruise in every movie!

  • Little-Kiwi

    every role played by DeNiro, Pacino, Nicholson and their contemporaries remain very much *them* – they’re hired, and folks pay their money, to see them Do Their Thing.

    what Colfer’s right about is that pigeonholing is more about what Your Type is allowed to do, not what Type you’re seen as.

    it’s the same reason why when a new actor has a smaller breakthrough role they end up sorta replaying that role in other films. Anna Faris, anyone?

    its not inherently a bad thing – but the unfortunate current reality is that certain types are only allowed to be seen a certain way.

  • everything_i_said

    Did some of you even watch the interview? He’s not “moaning” about anything. He was asked if being gay had an effect on his career and he answered the question. Chris Colfer is out doing what he wants to do while he has the opportunity. He wrote two books this year, starred in Glee, and has a movie coming out that he wrote and stars in. He’s fine with his career. That was the point of his answer – that he’s doing what he wants and doesn’t listen to people who want to set limits on him.

  • balehead

    Hollywood does it to everyone..not just gays…

  • Sean305

    At least he is being “cast”. Stop whining. If you have a gig that pays, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Matt Bomer, Cheyenne Jackson and Neil Patrick Harrison are not “typecast” except as “hot seducer”, “hot singer” and “funny twink”, but they are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • niles

    If he wants to expand his acting horizons, he will need to lower that high-pitched mincing voice of his. After a while, it does get a bit annoying.

  • Lefty

    @everything_i_said: I must confess, I didn’t actually watch the video before posting my comments. I still stand by them as I do think what I said applies in the broader context of all actors who fear “typecasting”, but I would have altered the tone of my comments had I bothered to watch the video first.
    I was just responding to Queerty’s summation. I should know better by now, really… :(

    I do think he’s doing very well and seems to have a lot of drive and the courage to pursue what he wants to do, so I hope his career takes him where he wants to go.

  • capsule

    First of all NO American out actor has received a major leading role in a Hollywood film.
    I can’t name one. Neil Patrick Harris is no movie actor, just a t.v. sitcom actor, a huge
    difference and last time I checked, he’s not received any offers to act in a Hollywood film.

    There’s no denying that openly gay actors get some roles, but they miss out on
    mainstream, big budget, lead roles. No studio will cast a gay actor in an action film, or a romantic love lead etc because of a fear of alienating middle America.

    So let’s not deny the fact that bigotry does still exist in business, whether it’s Hollywood or elsewhere.

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