Taking on one of the lead roles in a show that some say has revolutionized television is no easy feat. Yet, Melissa Benoist as Marley Rose on Glee seems to actually…work. With amazing vocals that challenge those of Lea Michele, the first female lead on the show, Benoist’s talent is undeniable. Refreshingly enough, Benoist’s abilities don’t seem to cloud her humility, as her gratitude for being selected to join the cast is palpable even over the phone; it’s “a once in a lifetime opportunity to be on a show that has truly made its mark,” she says.
Here, the actress discusses working with the famed Ryan Murphy, being considered the new Rachel Berry, and her surprising previous acting experience.
Congratulation on your role! How did you land the part?
MELISSA BENOIST: I initially auditioned for the part in New York City, and had multiple auditions there. It was a pretty grueling process, to say the least. After multiple auditions in New York, [I] did two screen tests in California and actually got the job the day before I started working.
MB: Yeah, it was kind of a whirlwind experience. I just automatically knew there was no way I wouldn’t have taken the part.
The role is so much more than acting, there’s obviously a lot of singing and dancing on the show. What was your experience with that before joining the cast?
MB: I grew up doing children’s theater and musical theater and dance. I never really played any sports or anything like that. I’m terrible at basically any kind of athletic something. [So], I grew up doing it and loved it and always knew it was what I wanted to pursue as a career. I knew initially that what Ryan Murphy was looking for was a girl who was primarily a singer, more than a dancer, so I knew that Marley was going to be someone who was very passionate about singing from the get-go.
You’re characterized more and more as the new Rachel Berry, played by the amazing Lea Michele. How do you feel about that?
MB: [I didn’t have] any idea that that was going to be the path for Marley until I got the first script. And, even then and even now, it sometimes doesn’t feel that way. Just because Marley is so different from Rachel Berry, [who] has shoes that are kind of impossible to fill.
Tell me about the process behind the music. How do you prepare for each song? How far in advance do you get the materials?
MB: Well, in my part, we record all of our songs separately. Everyone’s in the recording studio on their own. Sometimes we don’t get the songs until the night before, or even the day of, or even right when you get into the studio! I had that happen a couple [of] weeks ago. Recording the Christmas song, actually, I didn’t even know that I was singing a song on the album until I got into the studio. Luckily, it was a song that everyone knows so I didn’t have to learn any words or anything.
How is it working with Ryan Murphy?
MB: He really is truly inspiring. Such an inventive man with an incredible presence about him that when he’s in the room or around, everyone feels it. He’s really, really smart and awesome to be around.
He looks like a lot of fun also.
MB: Oh, yeah! And he has such a kind heart. He’s just one of those people that you can see is really caring and accepting, and he sees people very clearly for who they are and everything that’s good about them.
Many might not have realized that you actually played a part in Showtime’s Homeland! A role completely different from the one you play on Glee.
MB: It took a while for people to catch that. It’s kind of 180 degrees from Marley. It was a really great experience, though. I never would have even thought of taking a role like that unless I felt the way that I did about the script when I read it at first. I just remember thinking, ‘This show is going to be incredible.’ It was a really exciting opportunity for me and it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I would [have] thought it [would] be, and I’m not ashamed of it. The storyline is something that happens today. It’s real, it’s out there. I think that’s what’s so important about the show.
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December 21, 2012BelleNo Comments