Jacob Artist Talks 'Glee' School Shooting & Catfish (Exclusive Interview)
Last night’s Glee was nothing short of intense as they tackled one of the most topical, controversial issues to-date.
McKinley High is seemingly changed forever as shots were fired inside the school and – spoiler alert – Sue (Jane Lynch) took the fall.
Actor Jacob Artist may be a Glee newbie, but he’s quickly rose to leading man status this season with his portrayal as the other bad boy Puckerman.
JJ caught up with Jacob to talk about filming such a dramatic episode, as well as what’s coming up for his character Jake in these final few episodes.
Click inside to read our interview with Jacob Artist…
JustJared.com Interview – Jacob Artist
JustJared.com: So what was your first reaction while reading the script?
Jacob Artist: When we read the script, we were all really excited because we heard there was this new subject matter we were going to be doing. And once we read it was a school shooting, we were all really intrigued to see how it was going to play out. I actually haven’t seen the episode yet, but I think our director Bradley is phenomenal and I’m sure he did such a great job at just handling the episode with all these new elements to it.
JJ: How do you prepare for something like this?
JA: I think we were all honestly a little bit nervous about it because obviously, this is much heavier than what we’re normally used to. But the scenes, I think before we shot anything, Brad our director kind of talked to us and put us in this head space where all of us had to commit and surrender to these circumstances that were happening. So we all, as a group, just kind of really got into it. It made the whole process much more fun and exciting. We kind of all realized that if we don’t fully commit to this, then it’s just not going to resonate and it’s probably not going to work. So, I think us all doing that just really helped the outcome.
JJ: Ryder immediately accuses Jake and Marley (Melissa Benoist) for pretending to be Katie. Why do you think he jumped to that conclusion?
JA: I think at this point, he’s been dealing with it for a little bit and it’s really starting to show his cracks. I think he is so anxious to find out who this person is that he’s been connecting with and I think he’s looking at everybody as a suspect and he really thinks that it’s us there for a second.
JJ: Jake and Ryder have had their ups and downs this season. At this point, do you think they are genuinely friends or is there still that divide there?
JA: No, I think they’ve definitely made amends. I think, at this point, Ryder’s kind of moved on and that was really the issue that was breaking them apart with the whole Marley situation. But I think now, they’re definitely true friends.
JJ: So do you know who Katie really is?!
JA: No! I don’t know. I’m so anxious to see who this person is. Everyone’s like, “Who is this Katie girl? Somebody just tell us please” (laughs).
JJ: You must have your suspects! Who do you think it is?
JA: I don’t know because I heard they have initially written in with who was going to be in mind, and now they legitimately have no idea who it’s going to be. With this show, we’re surprised all the time. I don’t know! I think it would be really funny if it was Principal Figgins (laughs).
JJ: Hah! So there are photos of Puck (>Mark Salling) back in these last few episodes. Have you gotten to work with him yet?
JA: No, I haven’t actually. I know that [Puck's] back in Lima, but I haven’t worked with [Mark] yet.
JJ: So Blaine and Sam are graduating this year. Are you prepared to step up as a leading man of New Directions?
JA: They are doing something really interesting this season. This year is going to kind of be expanded, so it’s not just like at the end of this season, everyone is just graduating. They’re going to stick around for a while. But yeah, I think it will be different. We kind of got into this whole dynamic with us new kids and the old kids, so I think with them leaving, it will be really interesting to see how things change a little bit.
JJ: As a newbie, who would you say you learned the most from on set?
JA: It’s different because you learn a lot of different things from different people, you know? They kind of all throw out their advice and they all have different stories to share. Oh man, I don’t know! I just think, in general, you just really kind of learn from everybody and they’ve all been so great to us since the beginning, so it’s been cool.
JJ: As an actor, what’s been your most memorable moment or episode?
JA: I think most of us can agree that shooting this episode and those really heavy scenes when we’re in the choir room, those were some of our favorites. Because it was such a change from what we’re normally used to and I think it kind of took a direction on the show that we were genuinely excited to approach as actors. So I think this episode is probably my favorite as an actor.
JJ: It must have been tough to balance the happy, musical Glee we all know with such a heavy topic.
JA: That’s one of the things I love about the show is that at the drop of a hat, it can go from you’re laughing at Brittany saying something to we have this whole scene in the choir room, and how it just changed.
JJ: In the end, we find out that Sue covered for Becky. Were you personally surprised by that? What was your initial reaction?
JA: Yeah, I think a little bit, but having seen the show from the beginning, I’ve always looked at Sue having this tough armor, but really having a heart of gold. It didn’t really surprise me after I thought about it, that she took that position for Becky. I think she really cares for Becky and with her sister as well, it all kind of came together in that moment.
Be sure to tune into Glee on Thursdays @ 9PM on Fox!
And in case you missed it, check out our interview with Jenna Ushkowitz!