Glee's Chris Colfer on youthful ambition and his new film, Struck by Lightning
Best known for his Golden Globe-winning work as Kurt Hummel on Glee, Chris Colfer is a 22-year-old who has consistently delivered on his own high ambitions. Author of a New York Times bestseller, the barely-into-adulthood Colfer is also a screenwriter whose first film, Struck by Lightning, opens at the Sie FilmCenter this Friday, January 11.
Showcasing his talents on both sides of the camera in this movie, Colfer stars as Carson Phillips, an anxious teenage writer who will stop at nothing to get his fellow classmates to contribute to his grandiose plan of being accepted into his dream college. In advance of the film's opening, Colfer spoke with Westword about what it takes to be the kid with the most cake.
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Westword: How much, if any, is Struck by Lightning based on your own life?
Chris Colfer: It's not as autobiographical as people think. I was a very ambitious kid; I was president of the writer's club and it was a disaster. It was so hard to get people to submit writing for the writer's club because kids never want to write unless they have to these days. That's about the only element that is true.
I was very close to my grandmother as well, but my home life was very, very different. My parents are still married, I have a sister, and my grandmother doesn't have Alzheimer's.
High school kids obviously make up much of the audience for the work that you do. What do you hope they get out of this story in particular?
Hopefully it will inspire aspiration. There are so many kids out there with goals and dreams and they have no confidence in themselves that it could happen. I hope that by seeing this movie they will somehow be inspired to pursue what they thought was impossible previously.
As a person who has achieved so much at a young age, what is your advice to younger people interested in writing or acting or things along those lines? What helped to move you forward?
I think the belief and the drive of knowing that there was nothing else that I wanted to do -- fully believing it could happen with every fiber of your being. Not giving up; that's the biggest. There are so many things that can discourage you. Although you might be intimidated by other people, just always know that every person is unique.
It doesn't matter how intimidated you are by those other people; you always bring something different.
What are you working on at the moment, writing-wise?
I'm working on the sequel to my first novel, The Land of Stories, right now. As soon as that is done, I have a list of screenplays and what-not that I have to start working on as well. I have a lot of projects in the works.