You know Matthew Morrison as optimistic high school teacher Will Schuester on the Fox series "Glee," but he's graduating into his first big-screen role, as Evan in the ensemble comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting." He's a dancer on a show that bears a striking resemblance to "Dancing With the Stars," and, he's Cameron Diaz's boyfriend.
That's right. His character has moved up the girlfriend food chain to land Diaz, who plays Jules, the star of a fitness reality show that bears a striking resemblance to "The Biggest Loser." Their relationship is a hotbed of roses, until she gets pregnant and things start going in a decidedly different direction.
Before the movie premiered, Morrison told us more about his cinematic adventures.
You’re a television pro and a vet of musical theater, so share some thoughts on the big-screen experience.
I was quite surprised by it. It was great in the fact that you're telling the full story with a beginning, middle and end. On a TV show, you don't know where the character is going. A movie is like being on Broadway. You can really delve into the character, and it's nice to have that. Being part of an ensemble cast was great in the way they put five stories together. Every couple represents characters that everyone can relate to.
How would you compare the character of Evan to that of Will?
In a lot of ways, they are a little similar, the way they dream. Will always dreamed of being a big Broadway star. Evan had higher dreams than being a celebrity on a dance show. I picture him at Juilliard wanting to be in a dance company. The thing that’s different is that Will is the beta, and Evan is an alpha male, with a strong background, and Will sometimes lets things go.
You have a dance background, but how did you train for the dance sequences, and did you have someone on a popular dancing show in mind as a role model?
No, I don’t really watch any of them except "So Think You Can Dance." We had a great choreographer, Tyce Diorio. I learned the dance in one day in L.A., while Cameron learned her part inA tlanta. We came together in a four-hour rehearsal and had to discover the dance with each other. A great dancer is someone who is trusting enough to let herself go, and she did that. But you see her dancing in a lot of movies like "Charlie' s Angels."
In your relationship, you two seem to spend a lot of time discussing which one is the alpha dog.
It's an interesting relationship in that Jules and Evan are still getting to know each other. [It's] just been two months since they met on the show, and at the same time they face incredible responsibility and how to navigate bringing a child into the world. You want to get your voice heard, and yet you don’t know how the other person is going to react. Cam and I both play celebrities. It was really important to give them some humanity, and to show that even if you’re a celebrity, it doesn’t matter who you are when it comes to making difficult decisions. It's part of being human.
Some of your storyline deals with circumcision, and you have a line that I can almost hear Jon Stewart saying: "I'm a Christmas Jew, but my penis is all Jew." Care to comment?
It’s funny because we had a lot more in there about that, but they actually cut it out to get PG-13 rating. For some reason, people get a little squeamish. I think about the pamphlet scene at the wall in the doctor's office. People have a lot of questions, and that's probably one of them. I don't have children, so I have not given much thought to it. Each pamphlet represents a question. It’s a little scary, figuring out a lot of questions.
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You are the only father-to-be or father who is not yet a member of the stroller-toting Dudes Group. Could your character have used some male bonding wisdom from the likes of Chris Rock and Joe Manganiello?
Just for the comedy factor, I would have loved to hang out and crack up all day with those guys. Evan is a dancer in touch with his body. That would've made for some good jokes. It's funny, the times we live in, you see more stay -at-home dads. It’s more acceptable, with the woman the one who is working. Marriage is all about how to compromise.
With "Glee"'s season ending, how did it feel saying good-bye to some of the graduating characters?
It was incredibly sad. Even though I knew they were graduating, I wasn’t prepared to be as emotional as I was. We’ve all been crying for the last week. It's hard saying good-bye.