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'Glee' Star Max Adler On Having to Bully His Costar Friends, Singing & 'Global Guts'

by Jean Bentley, posted Apr 26th 2011 9:00AM
Max Adler, GleeLet it be known: In real life, Max Adler and Chris Colfer are friends.

But on 'Glee,' Adler plays the closeted bully who tortured Colfer's Kurt with such hurtful homophobic slurs that the high school sophomore had to transfer to a private all-boys academy. On Tuesday's super-sized episode, though, Kurt returns to McKinley High and some of the pair's tension comes to a head.

After last weekend's prom spoiler leak, Adler was especially tight-lipped about what's coming up for Karofsky, but the admitted Lady Gaga fan did his best to share a little about tonight's sure-to-be-epic 90-minute 'Born This Way' episode.

"It's going to be, I'm going to say, one of the best episodes," he told AOL TV last week. "Right [up there with] the Super Bowl episode. The whole message is tackling everyone's insecurities as far as their sexuality, physical appearance or inability to do something, and it makes them realize over the course of the episode that the thing they're most insecure about is really the thing that makes them the most special and makes them stand out from the crowd. It's a really important message for people to see."

AOL TV: When you first started playing Karofsky, did you know about his back story?
Max Adler: No, I didn't know -- nobody did. I was talking to Brad Falchuk the other day and he said that he didn't know that was going to happen when I got cast. I was just supposed to be in one scene where I was slushieing Finn, a couple of lines, and no one really knew where it was gonna go. Now it's turned into this, so it's just incredible and I'm honored to be able to play it.

Do you relate to Karofsky at all?
I do, actually. Everyone has some demons and some secrets that they choose to keep to themselves, so I think everyone, including me in everyday life, masks a little bit of their true emotions or feelings or thoughts. For Karofsky, he's doing that 24/7 in front of everybody. His whole life is this show, and he's wearing a mask up until the second he's alone in his room sleeping. Even then he might have a little mask on. He's constantly hiding from himself, and it's just a horrible thing to have to go through.

Glee, Lady GagaDo you and Chris get along in real life?
Oh yeah -- really, really well. We're very close. He's an amazing talent and a great guy. He's actually been one of my favorite actors to ever work with. He just gives so much in every take, even when the camera's not on him.

For me there's a lot of intense, darker scenes where you have to get to that place, so it's fun to break that tension and relieve the stress with some comedy. In between this intense scene in the prom episode, I remember telling Chris I had just gone to Vegas and seen 'O,' the Cirque du Soleil water show. He said, "Every time I hear someone say 'O,' I think it's some big Oprah musical," so in between every take we started brainstorming songs and lyrics for an Oprah Winfrey musical.

How do you reconcile that friendship with playing such a hateful character? Is that difficult for you?
No, because it's acting. You get to access this dark part of you, and you get to say these things to people that you would never have the want or the guts to say to them in real life. To stand next to people like Lea Michele or Chris Colfer or Cory [Monteith], who I respect so much, and then have to slushie them in the face or say these horrible things, you get to jump into somebody's body and brain for a few seconds and become somebody else. That's why I got into acting. You get to leave all your own stuff to the side, chuck it out the door, and then you get to leap into somebody else. It's just what the job calls for. If anything, I prefer doing that instead of just playing myself. It makes it interesting.

What's been the hardest scene to film?
The stuff where I have to push Chris into the lockers, I do push him, and he does land hard, so that's hard because it's this guy that I like and I'm physically violent towards him. And even all the slushie stuff, we all get along and I love all the guys from the cast, and so to have to slushie them once or twice with this freezing horrible beverage in the face, you feel a little bad but you have to stay in character while the cameras are rolling and apologize afterwards.

After the spoiler leak we know a little about prom, but what can you tell us about this week's episode?
There's a lot of Karofsky-Kurt interaction, you'll see what happens there. There's a little bit of blackmail involved by somebody that you probably wouldn't expect. I won't say if Karofsky does sing or dance, but he is involved in the 'Born This Way' number in a way. Everything 'Glee' strives to put out there in the world is in this episode, so it's great.

Glee, KarofskyWhat do you hope for Karofsky as he goes on his journey?
In the very end, I would really like for him to accept who he is and to know that it's okay to be whatever he chooses to be, and to be able to himself around his peers, teammates, family, friends. But I wouldn't want that to happen immediately, because it is a very very scary, tormenting and torturing thing. I think just to wrap it up and allow Karofsky to come out wouldn't do justice. I think everything should take its time and take its due course. By the end, I would like to see him come to terms to who he is. I think that would be an incredible message to a lot of people who are struggling with their sexuality. To know that it's okay for Karofsky to come out might give them a little bit of hope to turn that around themselves.

Is there some singing coming up for you in the future?
I don't know! For me, probably on my way home today in my car I'll be singing, yeah. And in the shower tonight. [Laughs] As far as the show, I don't know. Again, we're all in the dark. It's certainly a possibility. It's very much on the table, but nothing has been set in stone so we'll wait and see on that one.

But you sing, right?
I do! I did all-state show choir and jazz choir in high school. Drama, glee club. I was the real deal glee clubber, so I do [sing], it's just a matter of if Karofsky will get to that point where he's going to sing in front of people.

It's funny that you're the one out of the whole cast who actually did that stuff.
It's so weird, right? I know, it's funny. You wouldn't expect a guy who looks like me to have done show choir, but I did.

I can see it! Glee club attracts all walks of life, isn't that the point?
That's exactly the whole point of glee club, yeah. You never know who's going to walk into that room.

Hypothetically speaking, if you did get to sing, what would you choose?
Oh boy. There are so many songs that could be amazing. I really like the crooner style -- the Michael Buble, the Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra kind of sound -- which hasn't been done a lot on 'Glee.' I think it would be nice to fill that void. That's the style I like to sing in.

'Glee''s had some great guest stars this season, is there anyone you'd like to work with on the show?
I think Justin Timberlake could be a very cool addition. I respect the guy a lot. I've been a fan of his for a while. With the acting and singing and dancing, he could play so many different kinds of guest star roles on 'Glee.'

Darren Aronofsky, who just directed 'Black Swan,' was talking to a few of us at an event and he was saying he loves the show and he would love to come on and direct an episode. That would be pretty neat, to get to be directed by him! I'm such a fan of all of his films.

I'm trying to think if there's anything I can do to get you to say something about Tuesday's episode. You guys are all so good at keeping secrets!
Well, especially with everything that just happened, we have to! It'll be our heads. I mean, it's just an emotional episode with a great message -- a lot of twists, turns, surprises, blackmail. Mike O'Malley is back. There's a couple Kurt-Karofsky scenes. That's all I can say for now!

Since you mentioned Mike O'Malley, I have to know -- did you watch 'Guts' as a kid?
Oh, yeah! Are you kidding? Of course!

So how is it working with Mike O'Malley?
[While he's on set] me and Chord [Overstreet] will sit at the side being like "Guts! Global Guts!" It's just so funny that you watched him growing up and then you're sitting in a room doing a scene with him. It's very surreal.

If you're of a certain age that's the image you have of him, and here he's doing this great work...
...doing, like, amazing, deep, intense work, and it's like yeah, "Guts." 'Legends of the Hidden Temple,' 'Guts,' all of those shows were my favorites.

'Glee' airs Tuesday nights at 8PM ET on Fox.

Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean

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Well, i'm so into this guy i can't stand is, He is brilliant. Hate on the character (if you must), not the actor.

April 26 2011 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hola Frijoles!

I am so over this guys face I can barely stand it.

April 26 2011 at 12:01 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Pei Gilbert

Your article spelled Cory Monteith's name wrong. It's Cory without the 'e'

April 26 2011 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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