Darren Criss: “I Get My Rocks Off On Being a Hand In Other People’s Success”

Darren Criss: "I Get My Rocks Off On Being a Hand In Other People's Success"
Last night at the swanky Soho House in West Hollywood, Fox threw their Summer TCA party with stars of both their new and returning shows, including Glee. Darren Criss was there and after a heated game of Jenga with castmate Kevin McHale and others, he sat down with AfterElton to talk what viewers can expect with the upcoming fourth season, his ever-growing bucket list and…fatherhood?

AfterElton: How are you doing?
Darren Criss:
I’m well, thank you. It’s been a good day. We had dance rehearsal this morning so I got tuckered out, but school’s starting all over again.

AE: And you’re clean shaven! I saw you at Comic Con and you were a little scruffy.
DC:
That’s what you do! I was shocked when I saw that [online]. It must’ve been a slow news day, I guess.

AE: You know you were number one on our AfterElton Hot 100 list…
DC:
I saw that! That was so sweet! I have an unfair advantage that I’m on a very cool show that positions me to be that. If I was on, I don’t know, Sons of Anarchy, I don’t think I would be as fortunate.

AE: You have a good fanbase. Gay, straight…it could happen.
DC:
Let’s hope so.

AE: You’re back on Glee but you had such a great year with your time on Broadway [in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying]. When you get that next hiatus, is the stage where you’re going to rush back to?
DC:
I have too many things that I have on my to-do list. I’ve done not even a quarter of what I sort of set out to do. My production company [StarKid Productions] was my main passion before Glee and writing for them, it would be nice. It’s been difficult to watch the success that we’ve had with that company happen without being really a part of it. It’s been a blessing, obviously, to be on Glee but I miss…it’s like having a child that’s starting to do really well and the I’m the parent who can’t make it to the soccer games. I’m really upset about that. But for good reason. I’m working on something I’m very passionate about. I would like to continue to work with StarKid again and continuing to do whatever opportunities that come along the way. I have a lot of the other stuff that I have in my mental pipeline, but I don’t want reveal it because I don’t want to jinx it.

AE: You sing, dance, act, write. You do all these things. Is there one that you feel you’re more passionate about or are they equal passions?
DC:
It’s equal passions because inherently when you’re doing this stuff you’re a mercenary. The opportunity presents itself and you’re glad to embrace it. I think it’s more fulfilling and, again, I’m very delicate with this because I never want to say that I prefer one or the other, but there’s nothing like seeing things come to life that you’ve created. So I think, for me, one of the most special things is composing, especially for StarKid, because when you’re writing music, I’ve never had kids but it’s like having kids… and I’m a broken record with this statement, you have hopes and expectations for this thing you create and then ultimately and hopefully they exceed your expectations in ways that you never thought and they do things even better.

So it’s fun to create for actors and to write for actors and take it in directions that you’ve never dreamed of. That’s really, really special for me. I never set out to have my face on things in the front lines. I get my rocks off on being a hand in other people succeeding. I really enjoy that. In another life I would’ve been a manager or an agent or a teacher. I enjoy that.

AE: So it seems like what you’re doing now is feeding all those other things because it gives you a leg up and people know who you are and want to work with you.
DC:
Yes. It certainly does and I’m obviously very grateful for that because, yeah, it does take everything else to a whole new level.

AE: Any preview of what we’re going to see with Kurt and Blaine in the new season?
DC
: We’re just starting so I really don’t know. He’s a senior so there’s that.

AE: So he’ll be in the Ohio part of the show?
DC:
Yes, exactly.

AE: Though I could see him take a trip to New York (to see Kurt)?
DC
: I would like to see that, too, but who knows? I’m excited to get out of those hallways. I think it would be nice for the fans to see other locations. Even during the course of the show where we go to a store or somewhere we’ve never been before it’s always like ‘Oooh, where’s that?’ We always see the same place so it would be nice to go to New York or LA or wherever the other characters are. Who knows? But we need 12 members to be in Glee Club for it to be a Glee Club so there’s going to be some new faces, which I’m really excited about.

I still feel like the new guy so it’s nice to have some new blood. It’s going to be a completely different show.

AE: Can we expect some bumps in the road for Kurt and Blaine even for the sake of their distance?
DC:
I hope so!

AE: It makes it more interesting, right?
DC:
Well, it makes more sense. That’s what happens whether you stay together or not, it’s really hard not to highlight that natural speed bump. I certainly hope there are some obstacles. Whether or not they get through it or learn from it, it only means progression, which is good.

Darren in a scene with Chris Colfer (left)

AE: Because you brought up kids a couple of times as a metaphor. Do you see yourself as a parent someday? You seem like you’d be a good Dad.
DC:
Oh, yeah. I look forward to it, but I can certainly wait a long time, man. No rush for me.

AE: You’ve got a lot of living to do, right?
DC:
I’ve got a lot of living to do!

Glee returns for Season 4 on Thursdays on September 13th on Fox.


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