- “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy said that Mr. Schuester was written for Justin Timberlake.
- He recalled how the show was created on the “And That’s What You REALLY Missed” podcast.
- Murphy said that in the first script, Mr. Schue. was also a “crystal meth addict.”
“Glee” creator Ryan Murphy has said that Mr. Schue was written for Justin Timberlake.
Murphy joined “Glee” stars Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams in the hit series, and Jenna Ushkowitz, who played Tina Cohen-Chang, on the first episode of their new iHeart Radio podcast “And That’s What You REALLY Missed.”
When asked about casting for the pilot series, Murphy mentioned that Timberlake was in the running for the lead character, Mr. William “Schue” Schuester, a Spanish teacher who forms a show choir in his school.
“When we were writing the pilot, I’ve never really talked about this, that pilot was written for Justin Timberlake. Mr Schue was written for Justin,” Murphy said.
Before he could elaborate further, McHale and Ushkowitz ended the episode there, saving the rest of the interview with Murphy for a second episode that will air next week.
Earlier in the podcast, Murphy also explained how “Glee” was created. He said he had just started an overall deal with Fox, where he talked about making a musical TV show with former executive Dana Walden.
Murphy said he was struggling to find a way to make a musical work on TV successfully until a person came up to him in a towel and offered him a script that would later be developed into “Glee.”
“While 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.’”
Murphy continued: “And he said, ‘My friend wrote this script and you should read it.’”
Murphy said that once he read the script, he thought it was the perfect musical idea, however, the original script, written by cocreator Ian Brennan, had a much darker tone compared to the final show.
“Mr. Schue, I believe, was a crystal meth addict in Ian’s script,” Murphy said. “The NC-17 version of show choir with a weird protagonist who was unraveling.”
McHale added that Mr. Schue was also going to inappropriately touch his students.
Murphy said that he asked Brennan to rework the script because he wanted the show to be more “pop-y” and “not dark.”
“I just need something optimistic,” the award-winning writer said.
Fans originally loved the series but in recent years many have commented on Mr. Schue’s (played by Matthew Morrison) controversial actions throughout the show. For example, in the pilot episode, Mr. Schue discovers another teacher is selling drugs at school, and instead of reporting the teacher, he frames and blackmails another student using said drugs to get him to join his show choir.