ELLE Interview: Dianna Agron reigns supreme
She stars in the world’s biggest TV show, sold her first screenplay and landed a big-screen sci-fi role. What can’t Dianna Agron do?
by : Alannah O'Neill- Jan 19th, 2011
Dianna Agron laughs easily, loves Audrey Hepburn and looks like she could be in a Neutrogena commercial—in other words, she seems like half the twentysomethings on any college campus. Instead, she’s at the centre of one of the biggest cultural juggernauts around. Agron (it barely needs noting) plays celibacy-club-president-turned-impregnated-cheerleader Quinn Fabray on Glee, the massive TV phenomenon that has spawned world tours and flash mobs and surpassed The Beatles for the most songs to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. According to Agron, the show’s success can be chalked up to the power of its underdog message. “People connect with the show because everyone has awkward or uncomfortable moments,” she says. “There’s beauty in that. Life isn’t perfect.”
Agron can relate: Her own awkwardness nearly prevented her from auditioning for the show. “I was so nervous, I almost didn’t get out of the car,” she says, laughing. But the San Francisco-raised 24-year-old is learning to suppress that anxiety on talk-show couches and red carpets, where she always looks effortlessly poised. She also impressed Hollywood execs so much that they purchased her pre-Glee screenplay. “It’s about a guy who’s not sure how to deal with women and how he learns to say ‘I love you’ for the first time,” she explains. Agron is less interested in taking on the female lead than she is in making her directorial debut with the project—the actress admits that her natural state is behind the camera. “I love storytelling so much,” she says, “and I love photography.”
Well, maybe not all types of photography. “[The paparazzi] say rude things to elicit a reaction,” says Agron. “I would never yell and scream in someone’s face to get a photo.” Equally daunting are the hordes of Glee fans, those self-professed “Gleeks” who are eager to claim a moment with their onscreen idols. “There have been crazy situations where kids have chased us and shaken the bus and followed us back to hotels, but it all feels like it’s for somebody else,” she says.
GQ: She and co-star Lea Michele were pictured in skimpy clothing and provocative poses in a “Hit Me Baby One More Time”- themed spread. (Cory Monteith was there too, but he got to wear pants.) The images were denounced by the Parents Television Council, which accused
GQ of “sexualizing the actresses who play highschool- aged characters” and promoting images that “border on pedophilia.” Most newbie actresses would have been cowed by the uproar, but Agron thoughtfully explained herself on her blog. In an apologetic but confident post, she wrote: “If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. If your eight-year-old has a copy of our
GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask ‘How on earth did it get there?’”
“I didn’t want people to think that’s who I am,” she says now. “At photo shoots, you’re forced to play a character, but I think no single photo can capture you as a person.”
This February, Agron will be trying on a new character—on the big screen, no less—in D. J. Caruso’s sci-fi teen thriller
I Am Number Four, based on the novel by James Frey and Jobie Hughes. The film casts her as Sarah, a small-town girl who falls in love with John (Alex Pettyfer, her off-screen boyfriend), the mysterious new kid in school. She soon learns that John is guarding a dark secret: He is one of nine surviving aliens struggling to defeat a deadly team of otherworldly assassins. The actress says that her long-time appreciation of the fantasy genre is what attracted her to the role. “I love
Alice in Wonderland and
The Hobbit,” she says. “Those books got me into reading and storytelling— I could escape to a different world.”
But it was the unexpected offer from a Hollywood heavyweight that cemented it for Agron. “When [
I Am Number Four co-producer] Steven Spielberg came up to me and said ‘We have this movie and we think you’d be great,’ I thought, ‘Let me pick my jaw up off the floor and try to form some sensible words.’” The movie required Agron to take on some dangerous stunts, which she did without hesitation. “I fall from this building in the movie, and it’s definitely the coolest thing I’ve done so far,” she says. We have a sneaking suspicion that she’s going to land on her feet.
Her fave Glee number
Her skin secret
“Moisturize like crazy.”
Her domestic side
“People really like eating my enchiladas. My uncle is a chef and he’s Colombian, so everything is full of flavour and often very spicy.”
Her secret talent
“I could say that I’m psychic, but that’s not true. I’m really good at making people laugh because I’m kind of a dork.”
Her celeb crush
“I love Christopher Walken—he’s so cool. A pivotal moment for me was seeing him in the Fatboy Slim video. I think he’d be so funny as a character on Glee.”
Her next stunt
“I want to learn how to bungee jump or skydive.”
“I have a tattoo that says ‘Mary has a little lamb’ because my mom’s name is Mary.”
Her adopted home
“I love France— and Paris, in particular. Their way of living is so beautiful, warm and inviting. I think maybe I spent a past life in Paris.”
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