We caught up with Lea Michele (Rachel) on the Fox lot on TCA set visit day, January 12, and the Glee songstress serenaded us with talk of her co-star pals, her workout regimen, her big-screen dreams, and Rachel Berry. Our favorite takeaway? She totally hearts and identifies with Kurt. "There's a gay man in me somewhere, trust me," she said. Although she lost to a well-deserving Laura Linney in her category at the Golden Globes last night, Lea must have been as giddy as we were when Chris Colfer snagged his first statue!
Weptaint: Any upcoming movie plans?
Lea Michele: If I get any free time from Glee, I’m hoping to do films. My dream — I can't wait.
Weptaint: Any movie plans you might want to do?
Lea Michele: Ryan is wonderful. He's so supportive of my career. And I know he will definitely help me to fit things in.
Weptaint: What's the pressure like of doing a Super Bowl show.
Lea Michele: The super bowl show is great. It's a very back-to-basics Glee. It reminds me of the episode in our beginning season, [episode 4], when they did the "Single Ladies." It's a very basic episode, but that has some grand moments in it.
Weptaint: Was it the most expensive ever?
Lea Michele: Well, it did have one very big number.
Weptaint: On the red carpet, they always talk about how great you look. When did all that start, and is it something you work at?
Lea Michele: Let me tell you something. I feel working on Glee, playing Rachel Berry, has made me feel more beautiful than I have ever felt in my whole life. I go on that red carpet because I now know that true beauty comes from inside. So as long as I'm happy, I put these clothes on, and if they like them they like them, and if they don't, what are you going to do?
Weptaint: Rachel's style has evolved too. Has her evolution helped you feel more beautiful?
Lea Michele: I have so much fun with Rachel's wardrobe. I work with Lou, our costume designer on picking what would you not work with something, and that's what we have Rachel wear. What would you not put together? I love it, and I couldn't do it without it.
Weptaint: Your favorite guest star this year?
Lea Michele: Everybody. That's my answer. Every time they pick such wonderful people.
Weptaint: Dream guest star?
Lea Michele: I love being surprised.
Weptaint: And your dads? Do you talk about who your dads are going to be?
Lea Michele: I don't know when they're going to do that, but I have two people in my head that I've always had in my head. It's personal. But hopefully you'll see them soon.
Weptaint: So you have dream gay dads in your head?
Lea Michele: I have to put faces in my head.
Weptaint: Nathan Lane and Harvey Fierstein?
Lea Michele: Very close. People always say Taye Diggs and Hugh Jackman, but I feel they need to be a little older.
Weptaint: What will happen with the Finn relationship now that it's on the rocks? Will that be a big story in the latter half of the season?
Lea Michele: We broke up, and Rachel's single again. I think we're going back to early Glee. Rachel being single, striving for her career. So I like that. I love playing the longing. I love working with Cory. And I love pretending like he's my boyfriend. It's so fun. But at the same time, the longing and the wanting, the yearning, as an actor, is really fun.
Weptaint: Is there a love interest coming up?
Lea Michele: No.
Weptaint: Is there any subject matter you'd like to see the show tackle?
Lea Michele: I think we're doing a lot. But I think it's really important that we enter the homes of these kids. What does Mercedes's family look like? What does Tina's family look like? What do Rachel's dads, what is it like living in Ohio with two gay fathers? I want to get to know what these kids are like when they leave school. So I hope that they — we know Quinn's family, we know Finn's — I want to see the other kids'. As a viewer I want to know what are they like.
Weptaint: How long can you be in high school?
Lea Michele: I feel like I am looking younger [laughs]. Don't you guys think? Just looking younger as the days go by? For me, I'm fortunate that I feel like I look young, and as long as the viewers are believing it, then I'll take it.
Weptaint: You had the wish list for your show, what you wanted it to be — with Kristen Chenoweth, a musical, etc. Do you have a wish list of songs?
Lea Michele: How can I be picky at this point? I feel so lucky to have gotten to do the things, that at this point I love flipping through my script and being like really — I'm rapping? Or something like that. And then having to tackle it. I think that's a lot of fun.
Weptaint: Has anyone ever offered you Funny Girl?
Lea Michele: No. And where are the calls?!
Weptaint: Is that a dream role for you, after doing "Don't Rain on My Parade"?
Lea Michele: I mean, if you don’t know my obsession with Funny Girl and Barbra by now… of course. Fanny Brice, I feel very connected to that story. I really love it.
Weptaint: Have you met Streisand?
Lea Michele: No, and I'm okay with that. You've got to keep your idols as idols.
To get to do "Don't Rain on My Parade," and with Chris Colfer, we did the Streisand/Garland number. And "Papa Can You Hear Me" — please! "Don't Rain on My Parade" was just the beginning. I am salivating at the amount of Barbra I've gotten to do. I'm loving it.
Weptaint: Is "No More Tears" coming?
Lea Michele: No. I'm fighting for "My Man," as always.
Weptaint: Are you making resolutions to be more green or environmentally friendly this year?
Lea Michele: They say that being a vegan is the best thing you can do for the environment. I've been for a year now.
Weptaint: What's the first album you ever bought?
Lea Michele: Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill.
Weptaint: Do you belt that out?
Lea Michele: I think that no one can do it like Alanis.
Weptaint: Your first album wasn't Broadway?
Lea Michele: You know, Broadway just happened to me in my life I didn't even know what Broadway was when I was cast in my first Broadway show. And then I fell in love with it.
Weptaint: Which do you prefer: Broadway or TV?
Lea Michele: Both. And I'm on Broadway TV right now. Isn't that great?
Weptaint: There's a rocker inside of you?
Lea Michele: My mother and father were very big classic rock fans, so I grew up listening to Queen and Led Zeppelin, and Erasure. Then all of a sudden they had this little Broadway kid, and were like what the heck, who is this girl? They don't know where I came from, my family. Really.
Weptaint: Do you have time in off-hours to work out or have fun?
Lea Michele: For me, I work, I come home, I rest. I love having my cast members over to my house. We do that a lot. Sometimes we hang out in our trailers for an extra hour at the end of the day just to spend some time together. But I live a really quiet life here in Los Angeles, and I kind of like that. Because it's a little cuckoo out there.
Weptaint: How do you stay so fit?
Lea Michele: I eat really well. I don't eat meat, I don't eat dairy. But let me tell you something — I'm an Italian girl. So I love to eat. And my mother always tells me, if you think it's good for you, it'll be good for you. So next time you're eating chocolate cake, just do what my mother says and say this is good for me. When you pack on the pounds…
Weptaint: But it would have to be vegan chocolate cake, so it can't be too bad…
Lea Michele: Exactly. but I'm not too hard on myself. I do not eat meat at all. I sometimes follow the Natalie Portman rule — I'm vegan in my home and vegetarian outside. I do that when I'm in New York a lot. Because when my grandmother makes me baked ziti, she would smack me in the face if I didn't have it. But I will never eat meat, ever.
Weptaint: What books are important to you?
Lea Michele: I'm reading The Importance of Being Barbra right now.
Weptaint: When you were younger?
Lea Michele: I really love reading. I've always read a lot of books. I love Tracy Chevalier — she did The Girl with the Pearl Earring.
Weptaint: What's coming up for Finn and Rachel?
Lea Michele: We are broken up. She's focusing on her career. Sometimes trying to get back together with him every now and then, but I think we’re bringing Rachel back to Season 1 a little bit. The yearning for Finn and wanting him. They always put Rachel and Puck together every now and again, which I really like. I love working with Mark. So I'm always excited when they do that.
Weptaint: How has Rachel grown?
Lea Michele: I think she's learned to be a team player. I just had a great scene with Chris Colfer and Amber Riley. The characters had a little slumber party. That wouldn't have happened in Season 1. She's grown to become more of a team player, and these guys are her equals. It's not competition within the glee club. It's about competing with the other teams. So that's I think a big thing of how she's grown.
Weptaint: Is the question about the gay dads the one you get the most?
Lea Michele: No. The one I get the most is "who is your favorite guest star?"
Weptaint: Who is your favorite character other than Rachel?
Lea Michele: Kurt. But no offense to my other glee club members.
Weptaint: Why Kurt?
Lea Michele: Because I get Kurt. There's a gay man in me somewhere, trust me.
Weptaint: How would you like to see Rachel grow through the end of this season?
Lea Michele: I just want to continue getting to sing these incredible songs, I'm getting to work with — I did some great stuff with Heather Morris the other day, and I really hadn't gotten to work with her individually. Jane and I just did a great scene together yesterday. I'm just loving right now getting to do these fun things. I just am really hoping I continue to get to do what I'm doing.
Weptaint: Are there any permutations yet you'd like? Cast members you haven't had duets with?
Lea Michele: Oh yeah. I just love working with Jane, so I've been begging them to let us do a duet together.
Weptaint: What do you do to stay healthy?
Lea Michele: Sleep, and water.
Weptaint: Do you ebay?
Lea Michele: No. Im not a technology person. The kids on set laugh at me.
Weptaint: Who are "the kids"?
Lea Michele: Only we can call each other "the kids." If anybody else calls us the kids…
Weptaint: What is your fitness regimen?
Lea Michele: It's the Glee workout!