Darren Criss looks and acts like a stand-up guy with a good head on his shoulders. When he stopped by the New Hollywood Podcast, he was nice, approachable, and is personable — much like Blaine, his character on Glee. But in FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Criss does a 180 from his good guy roles by playing the real-life Andrew Cunanan, the man who murdered at least five people, including titular fashion designer. Obviously, Criss is not a serial killer, but his casting in the role is an advancement for authentic representation in Hollywood. Criss, like Cunanan, is half-Filipino — a detail about the actor that many people are surprised to hear.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, his role in Versace marks another collaboration with TV maestro Ryan Murphy, who created Glee as well as American Horror Story, which Criss also appears in. But Versace is a much more dramatic turn for Criss. It’s also a series which he is the lead — and as an Asian, it’s kind of a big deal. In the episode (with a new theme song courtesy of Pete Blyth), we talked to Criss about tackling the nuanced role of Cunanan, his cultural identity, his love for musical theater, and how his new bar has a clever drink special called “The Moesha.” Listen to the episode below.