Chris Colfer is attached to star alongside Sir Ian McKellen in Noel, a biopic focusing on the early life of gay English playwright Noel Coward.
Screen Daily has exclusively announced the news that Noel, a biographical film about Noel Coward, has landed Glee’s Chris Colfer to star as the playwright in his youth. The project is also in casting talks with British legends Vanessa Redgrave and Sir Ian McKellen. Colfer seemingly confirmed his involvement by posting a photo of Coward on his Instagram account, moments after Screen Daily’s article went live.
Colfer – who was cast in Glee as an unknown 18 year old – hasn’t chosen to pursue many “extracurricular” acting jobs in the five years since Glee’s premiere, preferring to work on his own projects as a writer. He served as screenwriter, executive producer and star of 2012’s Struck By Lightning, also penning a novelization of his dark teen film, and the third instalment of The Land of Stories, his New York Times best-selling children’s fantasy series, is due for release this summer.
Aside from a couple of quick voice-over parts, Chris Colfer hasn’t appeared on screen in a fictional role other than Kurt in Glee and Carson Phillips – his own Struck By Lightning creation. It’s unlikely that this is due to a lack of offers – he won a Golden Globe in 2011 for portraying Kurt, he’s received several Emmy nominations, and he’s lauded as one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars.
With the finishing line of Glee in sight, it’s possible that Colfer is now looking ahead to what life after Glee has to offer, or it could simply be that, out of all the offers that must come his way, he finally found a project that spoke to him. Given that Kurt Hummel didn’t exist until Chris Colfer showed up in Glee’s audition room – the part was written specifically for him – and that laying a rose at the grave of Noel Coward is a legitimate entry on Kurt’s bucket list, it’s safe to assume that Colfer has an affinity for the English playwright, who is today – like Kurt Hummel and Chris Colfer – seen as a gay icon.
Noel Coward was born in southwest London at the turn of last century. He was known – in addition to his nearly 50 published plays and his work as an actor, director and screenwriter for film – for his wit and flamboyance, and for his influence on 20th century writers. Some of his more famous works include Easy Virtue, which had a 2008 film adaptation starring Colin Firth, and Private Lives, a play which has experienced countless Broadway and West End revivals, starring – over time – everyone from Maggie Smith to Sex In The City’s Kim Cattrall.
Coward, both the man himself, who died in 1973, and his many works, are quintessentially English, a staple of the history of London theatre, so it will be interesting to see Chris Colfer – a California native with an admitted obsessive love for period drama and British culture in general – take on a role which may have been more expected to go to a young British actor. Noel – which was developed by the BFI (British Film Institute) with the support of the Noel Coward Estate – aims to shoot in the late summer, so with Glee’s next season not returning until 2015, Colfer will have plenty of spare time to perfect his English accent!
What are your thoughts on Chris Colfer portraying Noel Coward in Noel?