Jonathan Groff: Who's The 'Boss?'
Thanks to his arc on Glee, Jonathan Groff is now a household name. But for years prior to his McKinley debut, the 27-year-old was one of NYC's most beloved Broadway stars thanks to the powerful pipes and powerful performance he delivered every night in Spring Awakening (co-starring Lea Michele, his real life BFF).
Now, Jonathan is taking his newfound clout to cable with a scene stealing role on the second season of Boss as Ian Todd, the newest addition to Mayor Kane's staff. But this determined upstart may not be everything he claims and will stop at nothing (bold-faced lies, backdoor deals, sexual manipulation) to make a name for himself in Chicago! I caught up with Jonathan to talk about this exciting new role, venturing into drama and where we might see him singing next!
TheInsider.com: Coming off Glee, were you looking for something more on the dramatic side?
Jonathan Groff: To be honest, I was just looking for a good role – whether it was drama, comedy, TV, film, whatever. I came to LA in January and had my fingers crossed I would find something creative and exciting. But you never know what's going to come through in those pilot scripts. And with this one, it was just "Oh My God!" I was super nervous for this audition because I wanted to get it so bad.
Insider.com: Had you seen the first season?
Jonathan: I hadn't seen it, I hadn't really heard of it. I mean, I saw [Kelsey Grammer] win The Golden Globe, but other than that, I didn't know anything about it. But after watching the first season, I realized just how good this show was. I was so over the moon to get it. Even in the audition, the sides were beautiful. No acting required. You just read the lines and it's all written for you. I couldn't have dreamt up a better role – it was more than I thought I would ever be getting.
Insider.com: Once you got the role and were able to dig into the character, what did you like about Ian?
Jonathan: The biggest thing happened when we went to Chicago and started shooting. That's when I found out his big secret, which motivates him. It's why he's so driven and trying to get close to the Mayor. That was fascinating and interesting and complicated. Also, playing someone who is driven by the desire for power is fascinating. Plus, sexually, the way that he climbs mountains and moves forward and works situations, there's so much to play and act.
Insider.com: Sexually? Does that mean nudity?
Jonathan: Well, Boss is on cable. I definitely get naked.
Insider.com: Many shows keep the big secrets from the stars for as long as possible -- did it help you to know Ian's secret all season long?
Jonathan: It's tricky because you don’t want to show your hand before it's time. There's an Iago quality to Ian but you don't want it to feel that way. I mean, how many versions of that character have we seen over the years? Soooo many plays and movies. There was a lot of talk with the directors about how we make it real and authentic, and give a nod to that, without fully going there and making everything too melodramatic. The show is so epic and the writing is so poetic and heightened, so finding ways to keep it real when those elements are happening as well was definitely tough. But it helped to have the directors and creators to help me through that without being [twirls invisible mustache] "Mwah-ha-ha-ha!!"
Insider.com: Speaking of secrets, might we see you and Ryan Murphy team up again for American Horror Story?
Jonathan: You know, we haven't talked about that, but I would love to play a ghost or something! As with Glee, I never truly know if I'm going to be involved or back until the last minute. But I think Ryan Murphy is a genius. He's so great. And, on top of that, which I find so moving, is his dedication to the actors he works with. He's so incredibly loyal to the people he respects and likes to work with. I mean, he told me a year before I was on Glee that I would be on Glee. I just love that guy because he’s a crazy genius but he’s also a really loyal friend, which is so rare in Hollywood. He's got your back. I trust him so much.
Insider.com: That revealed to the world what Spring Awakening fans had long known, you have a killer voice. Any plans to release a proper album?
Jonathan: [laughs] Not any time soon. I just don't know what I would put on the album. I am going to start doing concerts though. I am doing a benefit concert at this theater in Indiana, so my friend Mary Mitchell Campbell and I have started to put together a show. Maybe we'll bring it through New York City at some point and that could eventually turn into an album – who knows! But right now, there are no plans.
Boss premieres August 17 at 9 p.m. on Starz.