What if Glee was a little more Breaking Bad? It turns out that the creators of the musical teen drama series originally conceived of the show with some darker undertones: As Ryan Murphy recalls, Mr. Schue was first written as a meth addict in the “NC-17” version of the script.
Murphy spoke candidly about the early stages of making Glee on the new Glee-themed iHeart Radio podcast And That’s What You REALLY Missed (via Insider): “Mr. Schue, I believe, was a crystal meth addict in Ian [Brennan]’s script,” Murphy said of the character, a high school Spanish teacher who also directs the school’s show choir. “The NC-17 version of show choir with a weird protagonist who was unraveling.”
But as if Mr. Schue being a meth addict wasn’t surprising enough, Murphy also revealed the unlikely star he first envisioned in the lead role before ultimately going to Matthew Morrison: “When we were writing the pilot, I’ve never really talked about this, that pilot was written for Justin Timberlake,” he said. “Mr. Schue was written for Justin.”
Murphy had long wanted to bring a musical to TV, but struggled with a storyline that would make sense in an episodical context. Elsewhere in the interview, he detailed the tedious process of writing Glee and getting it off the ground: “We were having these conversations and I was trying to figure it out,” he said. “Like serendipity, I went to the gym and I was in a towel and a guy went up and handed me a script and he said, ‘I had a feeling you were in show choir, am I right?’ And I was like ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘My friend wrote this script and you should read it.’” Listen to the podcast episode below.
Murphy recently took on one of history’s most startling serial killer stories in the Netflix series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. This year, he also shared the second installment of his American Horror Story spinoff anthology series American Horror Stories.