The Glee star, 24, on playing a gay character, and those embarrassing videos on YouTube…
What is your earliest memory?
My brother’s birthday at our house in Hawaii when I was about four. I was born in San Francisco, but we moved immediately to Hawaii. I remember people running round with painted faces and sunglasses, and wondering why I wasn’t in on the fun.
When you were ten years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It’s insane, but I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do as a ten-year-old: performing. I remember seeing Aladdin when I was five or six and loving it. I looked at the big screen and said to my mum, ‘Whatever this Genie guy does, I want to do.’ Mum said I couldn’t be a genie, but that Robin Williams, who did the voiceover in the film, was an actor. So
I said, ‘OK, then, I want to be an actor.’ Being on Glee – acting, performing, singing for so many fans – is this marvellous serendipity.
What’s it like playing a gay man on Glee when you’re straight?
It’s just like any other part. As an actor it’s your job to empathise with your character regardless of whether they have a different sexual orientation, spiritual beliefs, or anything.
Who is your best friend?
The guys from my theatre company Team StarKid. My favourite memory with them is from when we were performing A Very Potter Musical just before I started Glee. We recorded ourselves singing and dancing and it was a huge hit on YouTube. It was quite daunting; we were, like, ‘Oh my God, we look like a bunch of idiots.’ But experiences like that brought us closer together and that’s why we’re such good friends now.
If you got stuck in a lift, who would be your dream companion?
Eddie Izzard. I met him once in a grocery store in the middle of Hollywood – I imagine he’d be very clever and together we’d think of a way out of there.
Where’s your happy place?
I believe that it’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with. But I’d have to say Los Angeles or Chicago, with my friends from college and Team StarKid and the Glee production company.
Where is home?
For now it’s LA, though I’m such a vagabond and a nomad – I live on aeroplanes. But I don’t mind travelling; I think it makes you appreciate your whereabouts.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I have an unabashed adoration of cheesy pop music. Food-wise, it has to be ham and cheese waffle sandwiches. You take two waffles – any regular freezer brand – toast them and then fill them with ham and cheese. But I also believe that if you find something pleasurable, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it!
What was your last good deed?
Recently, a friend of mine in Chicago was feeling down, so I flew him to London – where I was staying at the time – and he was my red-carpet date for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premiere. So I guess that’s a selfish good deed!
Bus, taxi or walk?
Depends. Obviously, when I’m with the Glee cast, there’s a big red arrow hovering above our heads, so we’ve got to take taxis. But generally I’m much more of a subway guy. And one of the nicest things about being in London is that I can walk everywhere.
What did you have for breakfast today?
Absolutely nothing. A phone was delivered to my room to do this interview. This is my breakfast!
What word or phrase do you say too often?
When I’m in the UK I find myself using a lot of Britishisms. I like saying ‘pissed’ in the British sense, meaning drunk. In America it just means angry.
A day with Darren sounds bloody amazing. He’s such a simple and lovely guy… :)