By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD‑On the hit TV series “Glee,” Lea Michele plays musically talented high school oddball Rachel Berry. She now stars in Garry Marshall’s “New Year’s Eve,” his holiday follow up to his 2010 romantic romp “Valentine’s Day.” It’s her first feature film, not counting “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie,” released earlier this year, in which she played her TV character.
The 25-year-old Bronx native recently spoke about playing a backup singer in “New Year’s Eve” to pop idol Jensen (played by Jon Bon Jovi), keeping up with Ashton Kutcher and ringing in the new year New York-style.
Front Row Features: For most of the film, your character and Ashton’s character are stuck in an elevator. What was it like?
Michele: I got to be stuck in an elevator with him for two weeks, which was awesome. He’s hilarious. I got Punk’d a couple of times. He’s also really smart and would talk about everything going on in the world and I had absolutely no idea about half the stuff he was talking about so I would go home and Google everything and try to brush up on everything that’s going on in our world to come in the next day and try to have a conversation. But, he was great. He made me feel very comfortable.
Front Row Features: How did he Punk you?
Michele: He opened the door with a towel on. He was supposed to have all his clothes on. It was a good Punk.
Front Row Features: This is another role where you get to show off your vocal talent so I wonder if you lean toward roles where you can sing? Also, they are postponing “Funny Girl” (a revival of the musical) to rework it, so would you be interested if your schedule permits?
Michele: Of course. I would do that show for an empty room by myself. And I really didn’t intend to do a film role where I sang. I sing so much on my show that I sort of felt like maybe I would start looking into things that didn’t involve me singing. But when I read the script, these songs were already in there. They didn’t add them for me and I just felt that it was such a perfect part for me to play for my first film to transition from “Glee” into something, so I thought it was great. I think that from now on I’ll try to look at other things without singing just to give my voice a little break. But when something as perfect as this comes along and it makes sense and it fits, then it’s sort of a no-brainer.
Front Row Features: What do you do on New Year’s Eve?
Michele: I do the same thing every year for New Year’s Eve. It’s the same thing I’ve done for seven years now. I’m from New York and I did the Times Square thing once and I’ll never do it again but New Yorkers have this special spot in Central Park where they do a 5K run the minute the clock strikes midnight. I ran once and I’ll never do that again. But it’s awesome to watch these people run and it’s such a great environment and place to be, so that’s where I’ll be and have been for the past seven years. I’m drinking champagne so that’s why I’ll never run again. Those two combined didn’t really work very well.