“I’ve been lucky, I kind of fell ass backwards into the Ryan Murphy camp, which has been the gift that keeps on giving” – Darren Criss
Director/Producer Ryan Murphy has had success with the American Crime Story series, and he cast his Glee collaborator Darren Criss in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace as Versace’s killer Andrew Cunanan. Criss participated in The Hollywood Reporter Actor’s Roundtable.
Speaking to fellow roundtable participant J.K. Simmons, Criss points out that typecasting is still an issue for actors. He explains, “There’s a certain lack of imagination that happens sometimes where if the last thing you did was a bit of a success, they go, ‘OK, perfect, J.K., we got this new role for you, it’s this kind of manic, crazy, sort of authority type.’ Right after Glee there were several teenage roles that were very similar to Glee — which, hey, on the one hand, you go ‘OK, I guess you believed it, great, I did my job.’ And now, after Versace, it’s like, ‘Oh we’ve got this weird kind of creepy killer type.’ I’m like, ‘Come on, guys, we’re actors.'”
Regarding typecasting, Criss points out that having established a relationship with Murphy, which has opened up opportunities to play different characters. He says, “I’ve been lucky, I kind of fell ass backwards into the Ryan Murphy camp, which has been the gift that keeps on giving. The only thing that gave me pause was playing a real person, and this particular person had very lasting effects on people who are still alive and the echoes of the tragedy and the destruction that he wrought. I couldn’t help but think about the sons and daughters and husbands and wives who were affected by this guy, and now they’re like, ‘Oh God, we have to revisit this and make it pop culture fodder.”‘ That weighs on me.”
Though Criss portrayed Gianni Versace’s murderer Andrew Cunanan, he decided not to reach out to anyone involved with the original crime. He says, “I thought about it. Out of almost respect to them, I didn’t want to bug them about it. Again, this is a horrible thing to have to think about, so I let it go.”