Chris Colfer is much more than just Kurt from "Glee." The 22-year-old star is a New York Times best-selling author, who also wrote, produced and stars in the new indie coming-of-age comedy "Struck by Lightning." As Colfer told HuffPost Entertainment, he would have directed the film too, if time and preconceived notions weren't a factor.
Based on his own high school experiences, "Struck by Lightning" follows a California teen named Carson (Colfer), who dreams of going to Northwestern and becoming a journalist. The problem? Carson dies in the film's opening scene after being struck by lightning. "Struck by Lightning" details how Carson tried to make his dream come true with humor, pathos and a healthy dose of 2012 breakout star Rebel Wilson. (She plays Colfer's onscreen sidekick.)
Colfer spoke to HuffPost Entertainment about writing "Struck by Lightning," why people don't give him credit for his work, and whether he'd want to write an episode of "Glee."
At what point did you realize this screenplay could actually work as a movie?
Probably when I was in high school and I was going through all the circumstances Carson was going through. The agony of applying to college; I was running the writers club at my high school. It was just a disaster. It was so hard to get things done and inspire kids to write. I thought, "This would be a great movie. I'm tired of seeing movies about jocks and cheerleaders and people who want to be them. I'd rather see a movie about someone dealing with the crap I'm dealing with now."
Did making this film independent of major studios allow you to keep the story as close to the original vision as possible?
Absolutely. Early on there were options to go [the studio] route. But I knew that had I just sold the script to a big company, it would not have been what it is now. It would have turned into the story of how Carson Phillips lost his virginity and I would not be playing Carson. I'm very glad we went the indie route because we were able to tell the story we wanted to tell.
Did you give any thought to directing this yourself?
We shot it when I was 20 or 21, and I didn't know if I could be a director or if anyone would take me seriously. I'm already writing and starring in it. Before we started filming it, I had gotten off a plane from the "Glee" tour. I didn't even have time to plan the movie like a director needs. So I just told myself that I needed to find someone who shared the same vision as me. Luckily that was Brian Dannelly. It was such a gift to find him. I've always been a huge fan; I'm a huge fan of "Weeds" and "Saved!" and the fact that he was remotely interested was amazing.
You mentioned the worry about people not taking you seriously as a director. Did you have that trouble when you were shopping the screenplay?
People still don't take me seriously as a writer or screenwriter. Everyone just assumes the kid from "Glee" has people writing for him. Which is not the case. I promise the world that I've written every single word of anything that I've ever been credited as a writer.
People really don't think you wrote the things you're credited with?
Oh, yeah. Absolutely! It's funny because when you come from a franchise, like "Glee," I feel like people have that much more reason to want to doubt you. So, I'm still having a hard time having people take me seriously. It drives me nuts when I see people that are like, "Oh, yeah, I'm sure he wrote a book. But he didn't really 'write' it." But yeah, I did! I don't know why people find that so hard to believe.
Would you ever want to write a "Glee" episode?
It's definitely crossed my mind and others' minds. I don't know if I would ever feel comfortable writing for "Glee." They're not my characters; they're not my world. Unless it was a complete fantasy episode where I could alter the whole universe and it didn't matter what I wrote for each character because it was a fantasy. That I might be inclined to do. But, for the most part, those are Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan's characters. That's their world, it's not mine. It's kind of like going to someone's house and rearranging their furniture.
"Struck By Lightning" is out in theaters on Jan. 11. The film is available now on VOD.