Oliver Kieran-Jones

Oliver Kieran-Jones

Get to know the Welsh actor whose Adam has swept Kurt Hummel off his feet on the Fox series

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I created quite a big backstory about where he came from, and his parents both being artists as well -- this is my interpretation -- his dad was part of the New York Symphony Orchestra and his mom was as well, but his mom wasn't quite as good as his dad and went back to England while he dad stayed in America. He's got dual citizenship and he never really knew where he belonged. I think of Adam as kind of having a Shallow Hal type of complex. He sees the innate potential in people, he sees what's on the inside not the outside. He's made a very conscious spiritual life decision to have glass half full and enjoy l ife at every opportunity. His glee club is not about competition or winning sectionals, it not about competing or about who's the best singer or who's the best looking. It's about who's got the most spirit and who can have the most fun. What I think is great about him is he doesn't care what people think of him, he doesn't care who likes him. I mean, to some extent we all do, but he's a leader. He's able to lead them because he stands by his values and he's not afraid to stand up for people.

I originally thought of Adam as an acting major who did singing for fun, but then I thought he's at a musical theater place so maybe that should be his thing. But maybe in the way that I'm a stronger actor than I'm a singer -- I mean I can sing, but I'm not Lea Michelle. So maybe that's his thing, he desperately wants to do it but he's so good at building everyone else up that he ignores himself. That gives him a vulnerability and a neediness, and that comes out in future episodes as well. There's so much speculation about what Kurt needs, which is fantastic and I think Adam would be very good for him in that sense. I also hope that if they continue with it that they think about what Adam needs, and I think he needs someone to tell him he's great as well.

Any new character that comes between the popular pairings on the show tends to get a lot of backlash at them and often at the actor as well. Did you ask for any advice or otherwise seek out how to handle fan reaction, either from Chris Colfer or people like Grant Gustin (Sebastian, who pursued Blaine last season)?
I've never met Grant, he's not on the show at the moment. But Chris has been great, Chris and I get on really well. I think it was strange for Chris because I know they were looking for the guy for ages and they screen tested quite a few people. They couldn't find the right balance, someone who wasn't just goofy. But I didn't test with Chris so I was a little nervous meeting him. The great thing has been -- Chris and I like a lot of the same things, we have a very similar sense of humor, we're obsessed with Summer Heights High, we literally do impressions of Summer Heights High on the set.

I really like what they've done with the relationship. I enjoy the show but I'm not a gleek. I was a little perturbed by the initial reaction to the character before they even met me. At least give him a chance! But at the same time I thought, you know what, Adam's not the bad person. If Kurt wants to be with Blaine, I think Adam will be happy for him to be with Blaine. I think the way they've written Adam he really likes Kurt.  Kurt's obviously still torn between him and Blaine, but Adam isn't putting any pressure on him. He's not going to try and be horrible to Blaine, as far as I can tell. They way they are handling the storyline so far and what attracted me to is it was like real life. No one is ever perfect.  The thing about Adam -- and Blaine in turn -- maybe Blaine was right for him then and Adam is right for him now, or maybe Adam is right for him for 3 months and then Blaine will be right forever. Or maybe they will outgrow each other and Adam and Kurt will be forever. But actually I don't actually think you can tell that until you see how the relationship blossoms.

How do you feel about the reaction to Adam by the fans now?
I am pleased with the reaction so far to Adam, and I think he's a good person to have around. He's a good role model -- every type of character comes in a different box and I think everyone should be represented. More importantly than who Kurt should end up with is what's best for all of the characters, and I think that's the truth of real life. I don't think you can decide who ends up with who until you see how we get on. It's true with the actors too, Chris and I could have hated each other and that would have come across on the screen.  I think what's great bout the storyline is it feels true and has legs.

Aside from the passionate Klaine fans, your first appearance on Glee was also clouded by some issues with the network and the arrangement of "Baby Got Back" they may have used. How was that for you?
I obviously noticed it and I knew there was stuff going on. I didn't take any of it personally, I just sung the song I was told to sing and had no idea. I still don't really know what happened because I don't want to get too involved as it's not my place. I don't know how all that legal stuff works. It's difficult to gauge the reaction to the character generally because that was the song that it was associated with.  Ironically it probably ended up getting more views than any other song because so many people were paying attention.

Seeing that you've done both, are you more drawn to TV or film over live theater, or vice versa?
I just really like interesting characters and good projects. That's a little bit of a cop out, but anything that I feel, "oh yeah, i can do something with that." I like things that are challenging, and my theater background helps with that. Now that I'm in LA I'm probably more into film and television.

How does "Glee" set compare to other TV sets you've worked on?
It's pretty fast. It's been good for me, but it's very different from the English way of working. Episodes was co-produced by Showtime so it was half British, half American so we filmed it in England. I was kind of used to the American way of working but Glee is fast. I got episode 15, which I just shot and I didn't know I was in until I got a call Monday night and I was filming on a Tuesday morning. I did three word-heavy scenes and I'm not used to working like that.  I have done acting classes over here that are more geared to that kind of work, though. What I do like is that spontaneity of it. You can just go for it, rather than really really working stuff out which I think can be detrimental sometimes. The great thing about Glee is the cast and crew are so nice and like a family. I found it all very kind of easy in that sense. I felt very welcome by everyone.

Have you interacted with the rest of the cast beyond Chris much?
I'm so in awe of the rest of the cast. I think they're so talented. I hope they won't just let Adam be around only if he's Kurt's love interest. If Blaine and him do get back together maybe they can be friends, because that's real life. And I really hope the Apples come back, they're brilliant. I filmed last week a lot with Lea and Naya, and Chris. I get on really well with them, and also Dean, who plays Brody. When I first got the job I went to The Glee Project concert at the Roxy and met quite a few of them there, like Blake. It's strange because you are split into two casts so naturally you don't see the other cast as much because you're not on the set at the same time. Everyone's been so welcoming and friendly. Darren (Criss) has been adorable, I'm sure the fans want to know that.  Darren was actually the first person I met, I met him before I even met Chris. One the first day when I was doing pre-record for the song I had a tour of the set and I met Darren in the makeup trailer. He was just so excited, I've never seen anyone so excited. I've seen him a couple times since, and when we were filming "Baby Got Back" he missed the actual filming and he came at the end of the night to see Joey (Richter, an Adam's Apple and part of Team StarKid with Criss). I think he's just really excited to see what my interaction was going to bring to their storyline as well.  They seem really excited. I think it was needed at some point, inevitably.

What's next for you outside Glee?
I'm doing season 3 of "Episodes," which starts in June. That's the only thing I have booked, but I think "Glee" goes til the end of March anyway so I don't have much time.  I also write, I'm a writer. I work with a partner and we have four TV shows in development in the UK.

You and Chris have that in common!
We actually haven't discussed it! He writes all the time. We'll do a scene and then he'll get on his laptop and write and I'll throw a pencil at him and he'll get angry.

Is it hard to juggle for you?
My life is crazy. I've only been writing for two years, we started selling stuff that we wrote like an episode of My Family, which is kind of like Modern Family over here. Then we co-wrote a British series called Shelfstackers. It's pretty new, but all of last year I did lot of writing. It's kind of worked out because I finished the bulk of the project right before I got Glee. It's very early stages, but that's definitely where I want to move to in the future.