Glee star Matthew Morrison makes his directing debut tonight with the show’s annual Christmas episode. The actor, who plays teacher Will Schuester, didn’t originally plan on helming the holiday-themed episode, but couldn’t pass up the chance when producers offered it to him. “They were actually going to give me the one before that,” says Morrison. “But then they were like, ‘No we wanna give you the big Christmas one.’ I was like, ‘Thank you.’ But then I was like, ‘Oh great. No pressure.’” EW talked to Morrison about tonight’s Glee and how exactly Chewbacca got involved.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you want to direct?
MATTHEW MORRISON: Yeah, it’s been something I wanted to do for a while. I’ve been on Glee for three seasons. I’ve seen enough great directors and enough bad directors come through to think that I could probably be pretty average at least. I really felt like with a lot of directors that came in, I always had a voice in the show. I felt like I had really great ideas all the time, and a lot of directors take my ideas, so I thought maybe I can do this. But it was such an amazing learning experience. I’m so happy that they gave me the opportunity to do it. I went in very hyper-prepared, but you get in there and what you don’t know, you don’t know. But it was hands-on training and great learning. By the last day of shooting, I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing.
So Will assigns New Directions to make a Christmas special, right?
Yeah. I kinda get this idea and we do a Christmas special that Artie directs. It’s all done in black and white, the entire Christmas special, à la The Judy Garland [Show‘s] Christmas special. It’s such a great twist, something Glee has never done. I think it’s some of the craziest two acts we’ve ever done on the show.
Can you tease the storyline a little more?
Sue is doing this thing with a homeless shelter and she wants the kids to perform, but they get this better opportunity in the Christmas special. And Artie just takes over and just goes all out. It’s the Star Wars Christmas Special-meets-The Judy Garland [Show‘s] Christmas Special, and it’s all done in that kind of heightened sense of reality.
And Chewbacca shows up right?
Chewbacca is in there. It’s a little flashback that Artie has.
Was it weird to direct yourself and act? To direct your co-stars?
The hard thing about it is, as an actor, you’re not supposed to give another actor direction, but I had to kind of put on a different hat. I was kinda worried about how the cast would react to that, but everyone was so great, was so on board. Everyone had my back.
There’s a ton of musical numbers in this one.
Yeah we do 10 numbers. It’s pretty packed.
Were those more challenging to film?
No. I think that’s more my forte as a director. I could really get behind the music, and I worked a lot with Zach Woodlee, our choreographer, and came up with some really great music numbers.
Watch Amber Riley’ Mercedes perform “All I Want For Christmas” from tonight’s Glee below…
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