Only a true Gleek knows these 17 behind the scenes Glee secrets
Some of the cast have matching tattoos
Over the years there’s been many reports of what is was like to work behind the scenes of Glee. A number of accusations have been aimed at Lea Michele, with claims she created a bad work environment and was “unpleasant” to work with, behaviour she has since apologised for. And of course during the show’s run it was well documented a number of the cast members dated in real life. But what was it actually like to film the show?
In a number of interviews during and since the show ended seven years ago, the cast and crew have spilled a bunch of secrets about what it was really like to be on a Glee set. They’ve shared the roles they originally auditioned for, how moments from their own lives ended up as storylines, and which music artists didn’t want their songs to be used.
These are 17 of the juiciest behind the scenes secrets about the creation of Glee:
1. Chris Colfer’s role was written for him
Kurt is one of the most iconic roles in Glee and yet Ryan Murphy hadn’t originally planned for him to be part of the show.
Chris Colfer, who played Kurt, initially auditioned for the role of Artie. Whilst he was unsuccessful in that audition the crew liked him so much they wrote a part for him.
2. And he wrote an episode of the show
Chris was clearly a big hit with the production team as they let him write an entire episode of the show as well.
He wrote season five episode “Old Dogs, New Tricks” in which Santana and Rachel work on Rachel’s public image, Sam adopts a dog and Kurt helps retired Broadway stars out on a production of Peter Pan.
The episode features the songs “Memory”, “I Melt With You”, “Werewolves of London”, “Lucky Star”, and “Take Me Home Tonight”.
3. The slushy scenes were real
The slushy scenes always looked incredibly uncomfortable and turns out they really weren’t fun to film.
During an interview with Jimmy Fallon in 2010, Lea Michele, who plays Rachel, said the slushies are really cold and the only way to get the colour off was to use shaving cream.
She said: “It literally takes the air out [of you]. It’s so cold I have to, like, recover for days. It stains my body and it drips down and then I take off my clothes and my entire body is covered in blue. The only way to get it off is to cover yourself in Gillette shaving cream. It’s like a whole disaster.”
4. Lea Michele almost missed her audition
Speaking of Lea Michele we could have had a completely different person playing Rachel as Lea almost missed her audition.
Just before her audition Lea damaged her car in the car park and when she got into the room for her audition she was picking glass out of her hair.
5. Dianna Agron got the role of Quinn a day before filming
Talk about cutting it fine, Dianna Agron reportedly landed the role of Quinn Fabray just a day before filming for the pilot began. She sung and auditioned in the office next to the casting director and then got the part.
6. Darren Criss originally auditioned for the role of Finn
I cannot imagine Darren Criss playing Finn, he will always be the perfect Blaine.
Darren said after watching Corey Monteith play Finn he understood why he didn’t get the role. And it worked out pretty well with Darren getting the role of Blaine soon after.
Although when Darren originally auditioned for Blaine the character was called “Blair”, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
7. Darren Criss wrote a song for the final episode
During the final episode of Glee in season seven Rachel sang the song “This Time” which was actually written by Darren Criss as a love note to his time on the show.
In 2015 at PaleyFest Darren and Lea both said how much the song meant to them. Darren said: “I basically wrote a love note to the entire experience. Having Lea sing it to me is one of the most special moments of my career.”
And Lea said: “Darren gave me the greatest gift … It was such a favour because I got to say everything to everyone here and everyone watching what I wanted to say. But think of the words and he wrote them.” Just gonna go listen to that song now and sob.
8. Brittany’s role was made after Heather Morris taught Chris Colfer a dance
Brittany was a true injection of sunshine into Glee, and it turns out we almost may never have got to see her on the show.
Heather Morris, who played Brittany, was originally hired to teach Chris Colfer the Beyoncé “Single Ladies” dance. They then cast her as a backup dancer for when they needed a third cheerleader before soon realising how great Heather was and created the role of Brittany for her.
9. The fans of the show made Brittany and Santana’s relationship a thing
Brittany and Santana’s relationship is easily one of the best in the show and the fans are to thank for them getting together.
In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2011, Naya Rivera, who played Santana, said the fans urged Ryan Murphy to make them a couple.
She said: “I think it was because the writers and Ryan [Murphy] were getting such a strong craving from the fans — from the Brittany and Santana fans — for them to be together. We sort of took it lightly at first. But then we thought it was something people really wanted us to do, that it was something we should tackle.”
10. A number of artists rejected the right for Glee to use their music
There’s been some truly iconic songs covered in Glee, in fact over 700 songs were sung throughout the series. And yet not everyone wanted their music to be used.
The bands Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, and Guns N’ Roses all rejected requests to use to their songs on Glee. And Foo Fighters member Dave Grohl said in an interview the show wasn’t for them.
He said: “You shouldn’t have to do fucking Glee. And then the guy who created Glee is so offended that we’re not, like, begging to be on his fucking show…I watched 10 minutes…it’s not my thing.”
11. The cast’s real life experiences were written into the show
The cast were incredibly close with Ryan Murphy and often told him stories from their real lives, which then ended up in the show.
Chris Colfer said he shared a story with Ryan about wanting to sing “Defying Gravity” in school and so Ryan wrote it into the script.
During an interview with PR.com, Chris said: “I don’t think any of us directly try to give input on the character or on the storyline, but they definitely steal things from us. I remember I was talking to Ryan about when I was in high school and I really wanted to sing ‘Defying Gravity.’
“The other students in my drama class and the teachers, when we were putting on this talent show, they wouldn’t let me sing it because I was a boy and it was a girl’s song. And then that was made [into] an episode.”
12. Some of the cast have matching tattoos
Throughout filming the seven series of the show, the cast seemed very close and a few of them even got matching tattoos together.
Lea Michele revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that she and Jenna Ushkowitz, who played Tina, and Kevin McHale, who played Artie, all have a tattoo on their feet dedicated to the Beatles, which they got after a night out.
They all have the word “imagine” on one of their feet and Lea said: “I’m known to be the instigator to do some more risky stuff. So we have little tattoos on our feet now. It made a lot of sense that night.”
13. Jennifer Lopez was meant to be on the show
Over the years Glee had a lot of notable celebrity guest stars including Britney Spears, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker.
And at one point Jennifer Lopez sat down with the production team to discuss appearing on the show but it never materialised into anything more.
14. It cost over $3million to make a singular episode
According to the Hollywood Reporter it cost at least $3.2million to create an episode of Glee in season two, with some episodes costing nearly $4million.
15. Sue’s tracksuits were custom made
What would Sue Sylvester be without her signature tracksuits? Jane Lynch, who played Sue, had an input into the design of the tracksuits and revealed they only had two styles they would stick to.
In 2010 she told Metro: “I have about 20 now and they are always making more. The wardrobe stylist would come up to me and ask ‘What about this colour tracksuit with this piping?’ And I say either yes or no.
“We have two styles, the one with the high neck and then the crew neck with the zips and they make them fit to me.”
16. The show had a very different ending planned
Before the death of Cory Monteith in 2013 Glee was originally planned to end very differently to how it actually did.
Up until Cory’s death Ryan Murphy said they had been planning to reunite Finn and Rachel.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Ryan revealed the show’s original ending at Cory’s private memorial service.
He said: “At the end of season six, Rachel was going to have become a big Broadway star, the role she was born to play. Finn was going to have become a teacher, settled down happily in Ohio, at peace with his choice and no longer feeling like a Lima loser.
“The very last line of dialogue was to be this: Rachel comes back to Ohio, fulfilled and yet not, and walks into Finn’s glee club. ‘What are you doing here?’ he would ask. ‘I’m home,’ she would reply. Fade out. The end.”
17. The cast are still friends
Despite the show ending seven years ago, a number of the cast have remained close. Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale have gone onto host their own podcast series, Jane Lynch officiated Becca Tobin’s wedding, and Becca and Darren Criss both attended Lea Michele’s wedding.
And in 2019 a number of the cast including Harry Shum Jr and Amber Riley appeared on Drop the Mic together for a rap roast battle.