Grant Gustin is going from Fox’s Glee to a Lifetime movie. The actor, who plays bad boy Sebastian on the Fox musical dramedy, has been tapped to star in the Lifetime telefilm A Mother’s Nightmare, opposite Annabeth Gish and Jessica Lowndes, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
helley Gillen penned the pic, which revolves around Chris Stewart (Gustin), a handsome and athletic 16-year-old depressed over his parents’ breakup and cheerleader girlfriend’s defection. When a new girl, Vanessa (90210‘s Lowndes) arrives, she works her seductive wiles on Chris, accusing him of assault when he tries to pull back from their relationship. Gish will play his mother.Larry Gershman and Meyer Shwarzstein executive produce. The film is set to begin production next week in West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. An air date has not yet been determined.
For Gustin, the role marks his latest small-screen credit for the actor, who could potentially end up series regular on the fourth season of Glee.
Gustin is repped by Robert Stein Management and CESD.
Grant Gustin photographed by Clinton Gaughran for AfterElton
Someday when we think back fondly on the television series Glee – and you know we will – we’ll remember one of the bright spots of its third season was Sebastian Smythe. The conniving Dalton Academy Warbler is the guy you love to hate. He tried to break up Klaine (Chris Colfer and Darren Criss) after all, and then tried to take down the entire McKinley Glee Club via blackmail and a gravel slushee. But turns out the boy isn’t all bad. Dave Karofsky’s (Max Adler) attempted suicide in the last episode hit him hard. Sebastian actually suffered guilt over cruelly rebuffing the stocky (well, relatively stocky) Karofsky at a gay bar.
What’s next for the newly repentant Sebastian? When new episodes begin airing in April, will we see a kinder, gentler soul? Who else could Sebastian set his sights on to romance? And how does his portrayer, Grant Gustin, feel about playing a character that is evolving into one with many layers? AfterElton met with the hot young actor in L.A. last week to find out.
AfterElton.com: Was performing something you started doing at a young age?
Grant Gustin: When I was a kid I played sports. I started tap dancing when I was eight because I had showed interest in it, but not really knowing I was showing interest in it. I was at home putting on shows of my own, with my brother and sister, kind of making them do stuff with me like that. My mom knew that was a part of me even if I didn’t, so when I didn’t want to play soccer anymore, she was like, “All right, well, if you’re not playing soccer you have to do something else.” So she put me in tap class because she thought I would love it because I like Gene Kelly. I started doing Community Theater and then I was in a performing arts high school. So I was kind of doing community theater for fun as a kid growing up for sure. I wasn’t necessarily training and I didn’t get intense about training at all until later in high school.
AE: When did it kind of dawn on you where you thought, “I could actually make a career out of this?”
GG: I think that it actually hit me very early, earlier than it hit most people. I would say, “Oh, this is what I like doing, I’m probably going to do this forever.” But at the same time I was just kind of enjoying myself. I probably should have been more intense with getting into ballet classes and taking voice lessons, but I was a kid and I was playing sports and having a good time. I got very focused on it in high school, but I didn’t really commit a 100 percent until college.
AE: So you joined the tour of West Side Story when you were in college and you stepped away from school basically to do that for a year. Is school still part of the plan somewhere down the line?
GG: Definitely. It’s really cool that I’m working and I’m getting jobs, but I definitely want to go back to school for something. I had no plans of leaving school. I was actually kind of hesitant to do so. I wasn’t, like, going to New York and auditioning for a lot of things on a regular basis. As a young adult, West Side was the only thing I’d auditioned for in New York, just because it was my favorite show growing up, and I thought it’d be fun. And I knew that I was kind of right for it, so I went and auditioned. But it was the only thing that I went and auditioned for. I had no plans of leaving [school].
AE: How was that experience, because it sounds like it was a whole new world for you being a part of a Broadway tour.
GG: It changed me as a person, even more than being a performer, I think. I would have never been confident in anything that I do as a performer. I think a lot of performers are that way, though. It definitely made me more confident as a dancer…and just as a performer, because I did that show over 400 times. I was getting comfortable in my skin as a performer. But more than anything, I was supposed to be a junior in college and I was on the road by myself for a year. So I really kind of grew up and started to figure out who I was. I’m still on that journey, obviously.
AE: In terms of Glee, was it an open audition or did somebody see you in West Side Story?
GG: It was really weird actually. I had no plans of moving to LA initially. I was definitely going to New York after my tour, but then when [the tour stopped] in Los Angeles, I met Robert Stein, who is now my manager, and he saw the show and really liked me as Baby John. This was less than halfway into the tour, so I still had seven months so all I could do was send him videos. And one of the videos I submitted was when I was in Chicago. It was the first time I auditioned for Glee, it was for that tap dancing role…the first episode is Lindsey Pearce’s first episode in Glee. She sang something from Anything Goes and I auditioned for that. I was in the running for it, and then it came down to it and they were like, “You know, we really want someone more charactery for this. Because they always say, “You’re just too handsome.” Which I think it’s just so flattering, but it just makes me laugh.
So I didn’t get it, but then they were like, “We really like you though. We want to kind of fit you into the season somehow.” And I was like, “I think you’re being nice to me,” but they really did call me later and I just happened to be in Costa Mesa with my tour, so I was only forty-five minutes away. [For my callback] I sang a Jason Mraz song and a Queen song and I did all my sides and then left. And didn’t hear anything for two weeks. I found out when I was in Arizona that I got this part. I got Sebastian. Yeah, it was a whirlwind.
AE: Having interviewed Darren Criss, Chris Colfer and others on the show, I know Glee is this crazy bubble that you become a part of. Is that how it has been for you?
GG: Yeah, kind of. It hasn’t been a huge, huge shift in my life. I’m trying to also really stay super levelheaded about it. I talk to my family every day. I keep saying my life really hasn’t changed drastically, but I’ve taken a step back recently and kind of looked at things, and I guess it kind of has…the fact that I’m sitting down doing an interview right now like this would have never happened four months ago, which is weird.
AE: Talk to me about stepping into Sebastian’s shoes. I mean, here’s a guy who is so confident that he’ll walk up to a guy who’s sitting there with his boyfriend and hit on him.
GG: Yeah. And say, “I don’t care.”
AE: What were the challenges in that kind of character for you?
GG: It is a challenging role because it’s very different than me but nothing about Sebastian is hard to do, it’s just really, really fun. But I think he’s legitimately different from me in almost every single way possible, which only makes him more fun, it doesn’t make it harder at all. I think sometimes it’s harder playing roles that are closer to you but like slightly off. And this is just such a polar opposite from me I just get to have a lot of fun with it.
AE: It wasn’t long ago that there was a real stigma to playing a gay role. Are you aware of that potential stigma even today? Did it make any difference to you that Sebastian is gay?
GG: It wasn’t a deal breaker, obviously. I was excited to play a gay character because I’m not gay in real life, and it’s fun to do stuff that’s different from you. And I mean there was absolutely more of a stigma ten or fifteen years ago, but I think it was also being gay wasn’t as accepted in our society. Now it’s something that’s just, in my world anyway, incredibly accepted. I know it’s not throughout the country, but as an actor for any type of role you step into you don’t want to be pigeonholed into anything.
And Glee is something too…I’m not just playing a gay character. I’m playing someone that sings and dances on television, too, and you don’t want to be pigeonholed as a song and dance man. Or pigeonholed as a gay character, even if you are actually gay in real life. No one wants to be pigeonholed for anything. So of course I thought about that stepping into this, but at the same time it’s such an amazing opportunity, and I get to do all three aspects of what I love to do on a TV show. So there was no hesitation when I was offered the role. There was absolutely no hesitation.
AE: What do you think of Glee’s impact on people who maybe are in smaller cities or don’t have a gay community to be a part of? What do you think of that?
GG: I think, first of all, it’s not just showing gay characters. That’s what’s amazing about Glee. It represents the underdog and supports the underdog. And every character on the show has at least one quality that is not necessarily cool or mainstream. It’s like a little off, which is great. It plays to humans because no one’s perfect on that show. And I think it makes people go, “Oh, okay. I’m not alone. There are people like me, because if there’s a character on TV that is like me then clearly there’s a lot of people like me.” So I think it makes people more confident with themselves [and] more comfortable with themselves. So if they are bullied they’re able to kind of let it roll off their shoulders a little bit better.
A lot of people that are doing bullying do it for reasons of insecurity, I think. I think it’s probably helping [combat] bullying on a lot levels.
AE: And I feel that people that might be on the outside of the bullying might even step in more often now. They’re more aware of it happening than before.
AE: So, you said you don’t know if you’re doing any more Glee episodes at this point…?
GG: This is the first time I have not heard anything about a return. But it would be a little strange if Sebastian wasn’t back for at least a couple more this season. But no, I can honestly say I have no idea what’s happening yet. Knock on wood. But I can honestly say I have no idea as to what’s happening next season
AE: In the last episode that aired, we actually got to see a different side of Sebastian. How did you feel about it?
GG: Really glad because I don’t know what the writers have cooked up and if they have anything cooked up for a back story or another side of Sebastian. But as this has been playing out since the first episode, obviously I have ideas in my head of reasons that Sebastian is the way he is. And I’ve been kind of trying to find moments to play them in the Michael Jackson episode and in moments where there’s maybe some subtext that I can try to play it like, “Oh he’s not just an *sshole. He’s got a heart.”
So it was nice to actually have that written in. I knew a human side was going to have to come out eventually, but I was excited that it happened. And I don’t know if he’s nice now or if he’s going to be mean again or where’s it’s going but…
AE: Have you noticed since you’ve been on the show that people make assumptions about your sexual orientation?
AE: Have people assumed that you’re gay or asked if you’re gay?
GG: Yeah, absolutely. Since I was a kid people either assume I’m gay or…I’m not gay, but I caught all the same stuff that a gay guy would get growing up.
AE: For the singing and dancing and all that?
GG: [nods] Because I sang and I danced and I was comfortable with it and I was fine. It was like the one thing in my life that I was like, “Yeah you know what, I do that and I’m fine with the fact that I do that. And if you don’t think it’s cool then that’s your problem, because Gene Kelly’s the coolest guy in the world!” But I’ve always gotten that growing up and definitely stepping into this role I knew I was going to get that. But it’s fine. It is what it is.
AE: Sebastian is, at this point, essentially a villain. People tend to not like a villain, but have you heard from people that are pro-Sebastian? They like what he does and who he is?
GG: Initially there was a huge backlash. I didn’t take them seriously, but I legitimately got death threats when I was first breaking up Klaine. I mean, some scary things sent to me. But you don’t take it seriously. The same sense like someone proposes to you on Twitter and you’re like, “Well you know you’re not serious.” But you just kind of let that stuff roll off your shoulders. But there’s definitely a lot of people that are “Seblainers,” the ones that like Sebastian and Blaine. It’s definitely a smaller demographic than the people that are Klaine supporters, but they do exist.
AE: I’m not going to say if, but when you come back on the show, who do you think would be somebody that Sebastian would set his sights on? Which guy? Or girl, for that matter?
GG: You would think Sebastian would stay gay and not turn out to be bi or something just because he’s incredibly confident, although I don’t know. I know some people would probably hate that if it did turn out that he wasn’t fully gay. I’m sure there would be a huge backlash, but you know what? It could happen, and if it did it could come from a truthful place, I’m sure. So he could end up with a girl, I don’t know. But, yeah, as far as other gay characters I mean there’s only really Dave Karofsky. And I guess technically there’s Kurt. I mean he’d go after Kurt instead of Blaine. There’s a lot of fun possibilities. The Dave possibility could be really fun because it was the thing that made Sebastian kind of wake up and go, “Wait a second, the things that I’m doing are really affecting other people,” and I could absolutely see that happening. But who knows, there’s a lot of…what do they call it? Sebtana?
AE: Sebastian with Santana (Naya Rivera)? I think they’re very similar characters in a lot of ways.
GG: That would be really interesting too, although they’re both gay characters and especially Santana…I don’t think her fans would like to see her go back the other way, because that was a big coming out for her. And so even the fan in me would not like to see that.
One day after Glee aired its winter finale — which included an attempted suicide, a win at Regionals, a near-exchange of matrimonial I do’s, and a surprise car wreck — Grant Gustin was back at it, auditioning for film roles while the regular cast shot its next episode.
At the moment, Gustin doesn’t know the fate of his controversial alter-ego Sebastian, the smarmy Warbler introduced as this season’s threat to New Directions. Karofsky’s tragedy appears, for now, to have shaken him of his diabolical ways, but up until then, well, to paraphrase Santana, Sebastian seemed to have been borne from such ’80s jerk-offs as Pretty in Pink’s Steff (James Spader) and Some Kind of Wonderful‘s Hardy (Craig Scheffer).
“I’m on an episode-to-episode basis, so as of now, I haven’t filmed anything for the return in the spring,” Gustin told TVGuide.com. “It’s all up in the air right now, and I have no idea what’s next for him to be honest.”
A month ago, reports surfaced that Gustin, whose professional credits include the Broadway revival of West Side Story and more recently an episode of CSI: Miami, would be promoted to a series regular next season. But that isn’t a done deal. “They have an option on me,” Gustin said. “Basically, if I am to be back next year, that’s most likely what would happen. But they haven’t asked me back yet, and I don’t know if that’s going to be the case.”
But does Sebastian deserve an encore? Gustin, 22, says he hasn’t been given a backstory for the guy outside of his likes — lacrosse, Lima Bean, Scandals, Courvoisier — and he doesn’t deny that the guy’s been pretty uniformly awful. But rather than looking to outright bad guys, he says he drew inspiration from Coach Sue (Jane Lynch). “I wasn’t playing the ’80s villain thing,” he said. “Actually, the first thing I obviously thought to channel was the energy that Jane Lynch brings to Sue Sylvester. We’ve seen her softer side, and she does both mean and soft in this incredibly honest way. So I tried to do that. I tried to think, OK, this guy believes everything he’s saying, and maybe he’s doing it for insecure reasons or maybe he’s just that confident. I just tried to be honest about it.” And just as Sue has been revealed gradually — through her sister, romantic relationships and a bout of depression — Gustin hopes the same might be done for Sebastian. “There are plenty of possibilities if they do bring me back,” he said. “What happened to Karofsky hit very close to home for him. It shocked him into reality, I think. I was surprised it happened so soon. I don’t know if the snarkiness is gone now or if he’s a nice guy, but seeing a different side of him is exciting.”
But Glee still has a lot of work to do if they’re going to try and ingratiate the guy who nearly blinded Blaine (Darren Criss) with fans. “After the Michael Jackson episode, after that slushie… yeah, everyone hates Sebastian,” Gustin laughed. “It’s hard sometimes, but I guess that’s the point. I just have to appreciate that.” And while it made sense for Blaine to join New Directions once he and Kurt became a couple, none of the writers have communicated a Season 4 Sebastian game plan to Gustin. He and the other recurring actors — including Vanessa Lengies and Damian McGinty — are called back on an as-needed basis.
“It’s very last-minute, but that’s not their fault. They’ve got a huge cast and an unbelievable amount of material and people that they’re working with,” Gustin said. “The fact that it’s last-minute, you just have to understand and respect it. It’s been crazy, though. I was in Virginia visiting my family when I found out I was gonna be in the ‘Michael’ episode, and they asked if I could be in the studio the next day. I said, ‘Sure!’ and got on a red eye that night. It’s just the way it is, and you kind of roll with it because it’s an amazing experience.”
“Glee’s” Grant Gustin says the Feb. 21 “winter finale” episode of the Fox TV series is a “really exciting one” with “epic plot twists that I don’t think anybody will see coming.”
“It’s a “lesson-learning episode, for sure,” he continues, with “multiple cliffhangers” and “great performance numbers.”
The installment, titled “On My Way,” features rival show choirs New Directions and Warblers battling at the regionals competition. Among the Warblers’ numbers are a cover of the Wanted’s “Glad You Came” while New Directions take on Kelly Clarkson‘s Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).”
Gustin, who plays the villain-you-love-to-hate Sebastian on “Glee,” filmed a wide-ranging, lengthy video interview with Billboard on Feb. 14, where he answered more than 40 questions submitted by fans via Twitter. Watch the interview in three installments below.
The 22-year old performer discussed the secrets of “Glee’s” slushies, his thoughts on Sebastian’s backstory, the possibility of kissing co-star Darren Criss and his love of Instagram. He also addressed rumors of being cast as Finnick Odair in the second “Hunger Games” film (he hasn’t) and how he has “such a crush” on one particular movie actress.
Gustin also said that his character’s relationship with Blaine Anderson (played by Darren Criss) is a “little bit more up in the air” in the regionals episode, as compared to where they left off in the Michael Jackson-themed show. “[Sebastian] cares for Blaine, somewhere in there, for sure. It’s definitely a real thing to him. But he has his priorities out of line.”
While Gustin couldn’t hint at what’s in store for his character on “Glee,” he did caution that he doesn’t “know how much longer Sebastian will be around.” (Cue fan panic in five, four, three…)
After the Feb. 21 installment of “Glee,” the show will take a break and return with new episodes beginning on April 10. The return will feature guest star Matt Bomer (USA Network’s “White Collar”) as Blaine’s older brother, Cooper.
“Glee’s” take on Michael Jackson‘s “Smooth Criminal” is off to a fast start.
Covered by the show’s Grant Gustin and Naya Rivera (with guests 2Cellos) on its Jan. 31 Michael Jackson-themed episode, the single could perhaps sell 80,000 to 100,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Feb. 5. That figure could it earn one of the biggest sales weeks for any single released in “Glee’s” third season.”It is an unbelievable honor to even get to be a part of such a legendary song by the one and only Michael Jackson on one of America’s favorite TV shows,” Gustin tells Billboard. “I had a blast doing this song with Naya Rivera and the positive response from the fans is an unexpected bonus to an already surreal opportunity.”
“Smooth Criminal” was performed in the “Glee” episode as a dueling duet between New Directions’ glee club member Santana (Rivera) and the Warblers’ captain Sebastian (Gustin).So far, the show’s sales best week in season three came with the mash-up of Adele‘s “Rumour Has It/Someone Like You,” as it sold 160,000 in its premiere frame according to Nielsen SoundScan. Next is their rendition of fun.’s “We Are Young” (a 137,000 bow) and David Guetta‘s “Without You” (97,000).
If “Smooth Criminal” ultimately sells around 100,000, that could enable a debut on the Digital Songs chart somewhere in the top 20. Over on the Billboard Hot 100 (which blends sales, airplay and streaming data), it may arrive within the top 40.
Curiously, Sony Masterworks recording duo 2Cellos isn’t credited as an artist on the track in the iTunes Store. It’s often customary for guest stars to receive featured billing, and thus ultimately receive credit on the Billboard charts. In the past, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jonathan Groff, Kristin Chenoweth, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Patrick Harris and Idina Menzel have all earned featured billing.