Grant Gustin always planned on moving to New York to take the stage world by storm. Well on his way to doing so, that’s when life threw him a little Gleetour.
“Glee found me,” Gustin, who made his debut on tonight’s episode as Sebastian Smithe, tells EW exclusively. “I didn’t really go looking for it. The plan was to be on stage [and then do TV/film] and the order of what I wanted to do flip-flopped.”
Gustin was performing as part of a tour for West Side Story when he went out for a small dancing part on Glee, only to be called back and eventually offered the part of Sebastian, a new addition to the Warblers who set his sights on Blaine. (Trivia: The character was actually originally named Cameron Connors!) But having “never played a villain” before, Gustin says he has taken a liking to Sebastian’s evil ways.
“I’m excited, but I’m also terrified,” he says of taking on the new polarizing character, who will attempt to come between one of TV’s most beloved on-screen couples. “I’ve gotten a taste of [backlash] so far…Initially, it was very scary. I don’t know how seriously to take stuff, obviously, but the day the information leaked, I got literal death threats. People were saying, ‘If you break Klaine up, I will find you and kill you.’ And I was like, [nervous laughter].” But he says he understands why the passionate fanbase would take aim at this potential romantic threat. “My character is scary. And if I wasn’t the one playing him, I would potentially hate him, too.”
And while tonight’s episode found Blaine and Kurt closer than ever (more on that here), Gustin says that does not spell disaster for Sebastian’s plan of attack. “Sebastian knows all he wants and needs to know about Blaine. He’s on the prowl,” says Gustin, who will next appear in episode 8. “I don’t think getting to know Blaine better is No. 1 on his priority list. I think stealing him is No. 1.”
Soon, Gleeks will also get a chance to experience Sebastian’s “Santana-like” humor, says Gustin. “He’s very straightforward. He doesn’t care who he upsets with what he does or says, which is not me at all,” he says with a laugh.
Beyond his next appearance, Gustin isn’t entirely sure how long his run on the show will be (“I could stir up the pot and then peace-out or I could be around for a while”). But, he says, he’s humbled by the chance to be a part of the Glee-verse — even as one of the show’s newest foes. “I don’t feel more deserving of this experience than literally hundreds of people I know and have worked with who are more talented than me. I’m so grateful for this experience.”
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