Glee star Matthew Morrison makes transition to silver screen

 

Never mind 'don't stop believing'. In fact don't even start. Just five minutes into our interview and the real Mr Schuester from Glee has shattered the dreams of thousands of musical hopefuls. “People who can't perform really need to be told that they shouldn't be doing this for a living,” he says.

It hardly seems the attitude of the man who made his name as America's most amenable glee club instructor. But then Matthew Morrison appears to be divorcing himself from his TV alter ego. Crouching forward on a sofa in his deluxe room in London's Soho Hotel he says: “They shouldn't be encouraged to pursue this dream just because their parents told them they are the best things ever. Especially when in reality they're just not very good.”

The admission marks a u-turn on this time last year, when he claimed he could never become a television judge as he'd hate to shoot down a youngster's dreams. Now it's abundantly clear he'd rather just hire a hit man instead.

But then for someone so able perhaps it's hardly surprising. Morrison is one of Broadway's leading performers and is finding global stature as his reputation on stage and screen continues to rise. He is known among peers as a "triple threat"; meaning he can sing, dance and act. And, at the age of 33, his transition is marching full throttle into cinema. Just before I enter his hotel room for instance, Cameron Diaz walks out, clocking me en-route and insisting I “have fun”. The Hollywood publicity machine is firing on every cylinder. And Morrison, who got his first break on Broadway at just 19, has graduated to the front row.

But with his stature comes a protective layer of ego; and with that a sense of unease. I get the impression that he doesn't feel that his latest film, What to Expect When You're Expecting, showcased his talents enough and, fearful of the backlash he is already taking steps to protect himself from criticism. “It wasn't that difficult at all,” he says of his part as a dancer whose relationship with a fitness instructor (played by Diaz) is tested when she finds herself pregnant. “I'm hoping the next film will be more of a challenge.”

Did he feel cast in Diaz's shadow? Of course not. That, to Morrison, would be to concede to a failure. “Well, she's been doing this longer than I have. But I've become pretty well known here too,” he insists.

That, of course, is thanks to Glee. The success of the musical 'dramedy', which concluded its third series recently, caught America off-guard. The fourth series is already the pipeline with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Hudson tipped to join a list of stars that include Britney Spears, Olivia Newton John and Lindsey Lohan. And with global merchandise machine running alongside the show; including figurines, internationally-touring shows and a million pound record deal with Sony (which Morrison refused to sign into) it has been a massive money-spinner for 20th Century Fox. Morrison too will never certainly be a struggling actor again. He has recently bought another another mansion in LA; though quickly denies he is a millionaire. “No…God no. Nothing like that,” he says. “But it's popularity did mean that I didn't have to audition for this film. As an actor you wait your entire career for that moment. I feel lucky to have felt that this early in life.”

Glee has also made a social impact. The show, which addresses social issues including teen bullying and gay sex, has brought the plight of young people into the limelight. The recent case of Clement Tyler, who commit suicide after he was filmed by his roommate in a gay encounter at Rutgers University is an example of how such a show could not arrive soon enough. “It has almost certainly saved lives,” he says. “When we were growing up there wasn't characters on television that people could relate to. Glee is the show for people that need to find their own character. I think it will have saved as many lives as it has changed.”

Morrison keeps high company in London. He was recently spotted at Princess Beatrice's 21 st birthday; and has even spent time at Prince Andrew's home. That is largely thanks to his friendship with her boyfriend, Dave Clark, the US businessman. But he squirms at the prospect of talking about either. “I promised I wouldn't,” he says. “I don't want to.” He has sung with Elton John and is an ardent supporter of his Aids organization. “He is a great guy and really committed father,” he says. He and Gwyneth Paltrow too have become quite close recently; indeed Paltrow features in a duet on Morrison's debut solo album. So does Chris Martin see him as a threat? “I think he was happy for her. She's a capable singer and her career is taking off. It's great that she's getting this exposure too.”

For someone who is so strong in the arts, Morrison is impressed by the output of British theatre. Shows such as Matilda, War Horse and One Man, Two Governors; all suggest Britain is experiencing a purple patch in theatre; which is impressing across the pond. “America tries harder in the arts - and it doesn't always come off as well. There, theatre is imbued with a belief, that if you throw more money at a production, that will make it better. Whereas Britain will be more honest; and say, slow down this wasn't an idea to begin with. Or better still, if you don't like it, you just junk it." He may find Britain just as ruthless with his latest film. Thankfully it won't be long until the fourth series of Glee. Don't stop believing, indeed.

Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering