Glee Newbie Damian: 'My first day was terrifying'

Monday, October 31, 2011

Northern Ireland’s Damian McGinty is about to make his Glee debut in episode four of the hit show's third season. We caught up with the star who earned the prize role by recently winning reality series The Glee Project...

What can you tell us about your character in Glee?
“Rory Flanagan is an Irish exchange student and in my first episode, Brittany thinks that Rory is her own magical leprechaun that nobody else can see. He has a tough time fitting in at McKinley High and he gets quite a bit of abuse and is thrown into lockers. Rory's very young and he's cute, but he's getting battered at the moment! During my first day on set I was rammed into a locker 20 or 30 times and the next morning I was covered in bruises. They offered me body gear to protect myself, but I wanted to make it look as real as possible. It was actually really painful, which should be shown.”

How have you fitted in with the Glee cast?
“Going on set for the first time was terrifying. I don't really get star-struck or intimidated, but I was so nervous. What people forget is that these people have been together for the last two and a half years and they know each other inside out. I was a bit like a deer in headlights. Apart from me, Darren Criss (Blaine) was the newest actor on the show and he's been there for a year. But I have fitted in really well and I'm getting on with everybody brilliantly. I'm having a blast. And they've told me I'm fitting in really well, too, which is nice to hear. They're looking out for me. Even though they're playing high school students, some of them are 24 or 25, so in comparison I’m a kid - I've only just turned 19.”

Have you enjoyed filming the comedy scenes with Heather Morris (Brittany)?
“Heather is such a sweetheart, and, in many ways, she's the smarter version of Brittany. She has that same dry sense of humour and I really enjoyed working with her. The script is very funny - there are a lot of stereotypical things in there about the Irish which you'd expect from Glee.”

What can you tell us about how your character will progress?
“I can't say too much, but over the next few episodes you’ll see Rory's battle to fit in and make friends. He's going to have fights and feuds with certain people, and there'll be others who take him under their wings. It's going to be a journey of this young kid who started out being bullied, but grows into a man.”

Do you think there'll be any chance of romance for him?
“I hope so, because all the girls on Glee are cute. Glee produces a lot of relationships - everybody has been with everybody - so it would be a little harsh to leave Rory out of that.”

On The Glee Project we saw that dancing wasn't your strongest point. How are you finding dance rehearsals now?
“We had a four-hour dance class today and I’m improving. If you look at Heather or Naya Rivera (Santana), they are dancers, and the rest of the cast have been doing it for years, so even if they're not the best dancers, they can pick up the steps quickly. I was scared about it initially, but I’ve improved and I can pick up things a lot faster. But I'm never going to be a dancer. I've learned that it's about selling a dance rather than being particularly skilful at it. I’m getting the routines done, but it’s Rory-style.”

Do you have any plans for watching Rory’s first episode when it screens?
“It airs over in the US on November 1 (UK on Thursday, Nov 3) and Robert Ulrich, the casting director from The Glee Project, has invited me to his house to watch it with some friends. The day the episode airs over here each week, Ryan Murphy hires out a cinema at Paramount and at lunchtime we all go and watch that day's show. I might end up seeing it twice, but I'm really scared to watch it at all.”

Are your family in Northern Ireland excited to watch it?
“Absolutely. They're no strangers to a party so I predict they'll have something going off.”

How has your life changed in the last year?
“It's been an incredible year, and worth every single minute. I've been on such a journey and now I'm sitting here, in Los Angeles, in my apartment and I have my alarm set for work at 4am. But I wouldn't have it any other way.”

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