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Could Rachel meet a familiar face on the East Coast when Glee‘s fourth season returns in the fall? What will happen to Brittany and Santana’s relationship now that the poor class president has to stay behind and repeat her senior year at McKinley?
The Glee Season 3 finale confirmed that Rachel (Lea Michele) is headed East with Finn (Cory Monteith) enlisting in the Army and going his own way, while Brittany (Heather Morris) with a GPA of 0.0 is stuck at McKinley to repeat her senior year as her girlfriend Santana (Naya Rivera) was given the support and cash to follow her dreams of stardom.
The Hollywood Reporter turned to stars Michele, Rivera and Kevin McHale (Artie) to answer some of the many burning questions facing the series as it prepares for its fourth season with stories set in both New York and Ohio.
How many episodes will everyone be doing?
All 15 cast members are confirmed to return in some capacity, while it’s still unclear just how many episodes the swelling ensemble cast will appear in. Michele, who notes she’s more excited about Glee‘s fourth season than any previous edition of the series, confirms her role as a season regular and that she’ll be doing every single episode next season. “I’ve spoken with Ryan and I know my character’s entire arc for the whole season, and it’s incredibly exciting,” she enthuses. Rivera notes she’ll be “a big part” of Season 4 and McHale says Artie will be around “quite a bit.”
Now that Santana has her mother’s blessing (and cash!), will she follow through and ditch a cheerleading scholarship at the University of Louisville and head to the Big Apple?
Michele certainly hopes that’s the case. “[Rivera] and I were begging [Murphy], ‘We want to work together more and want Rachel and Santana to be in New York together,'” Michele says. “We’re still not certain where exactly Santana is going to end up but she has the golden ticket to New York City.” Adds Rivera: “If Santana goes to New York she absolutely would have a relationship with Rachel and they’d either be friends, enemies or frenemies — or all three.” Notes Michele: “I really hope that it pans out because I think it would be so exciting to see Rachel get a knock on her door from Santana and just be like, ‘Can we live together?’ We’ll have to see what happens.”
What could Santana’s NYC experience be like?
“If she ends up going to New York, Santana will attack it head-on but probably run into a lot of issues because there’s a lot of aggressive people in New York just like her,” Rivera says with a laugh. “She has rivals where ever she goes.”
Kurt and Blaine met all sorts of gay kids (Sebastian, Unique, the putz from the music store) but Brittany and Santana haven’t met any other lesbians. What gives?
We asked Rivera if Santana could meet some like-minded ladies when and again if she heads East and while the actress notes it’s still early, she’s optimistic about the option to expand the character’s circle of friends. “I haven’t heard anything about it but I think that’d be inevitable for Santana just because she and Brittany were very sheltered,” she says. “That was the focus: They lived in Ohio and they were the only out and proud lesbians at the end in the school. But now that Santana is out in the real word, I’m sure she will go exploring and find other people who are just like her.”
Brittany is stuck repeating her senior year at McKinley but is there hope for her relationship with Santana?
While writers have only just begun breaking stories for Season 4, Rivera has high hopes for Brittana’s lasting love — regardless of whether or not they stay together. “Obviously she’s not in high school anymore so there is separation there. I don’t know what [potentially moving to New York] will mean for her. The writers really have to hash that out but it’s now entering into a long-distance type relationship,” she notes. “I think that Brittany will always be Santana’s first love. Whether or not they end up together, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for Brittany. I don’t think that they will ever not be in each other’s lives.”
How soon until Glee tackles Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”? What songs of summer would the cast like to see pop up in scripts?
“That would not surprise me at all if that happened,” McHale says when asked if the song could show up in the premiere. “I imagine somebody will do the new Katy Perry song ["Wide Awake"]. I’d love to do ‘Otis’ by Jay-Z and Kanye West. I love that song.” Says Rivera: “I love Maroon 5’s new song and Flo Rida and Sia’s ‘Wild One.'”
Glee’s fourth season returns Thursday, Sept. 13 on Fox.
Glee’s Naya Rivera not only fronted the show’s landmark 300th musical performance but made the production — an Adele mash-up — a poignant one as it represented a major moment in her character’s coming out process.
During November’s “Mash Off” episode, Rivera’s Santana Lopez is pushed out of the closet after a confrontation with Finn (Cory Monteith) that ended with the jock calling her a coward.
Her public outing was a defining moment for the character and for Lopez, whose performance as the quick-witted cheerleader has been garnering Emmy attention for most of Glee’s third season.
Now, the TV Academy has tapped Rivera to follow in the footsteps of Jane Lynch, Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott, Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet and several others to host a special 10-minute Emmy video that reaches an estimated 25 million people in more than 125 countries.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Rivera on Thursday after the young actress wrapped the Wednesday night shoot for the video (which bows on the TV Academy’s YouTube channel July 23) to discuss Emmy buzz, emotional scenes and being a lesbian role model.
The Hollywood Reporter: What was filming the Emmy video like?
Naya Rivera: We started at 5 and were done by 6:30 p.m., I feel like I was doing nothing! (Laughs.) It was shot on a green screen and I was wearing an elegant gown; they wanted it to be glamorous like the Emmys and went over the shows that would be up for an award and explained about what the Emmys are doing on the website for this year’s show and talked about Jimmy Kimmel, who’s hosting. It’s a huge honor, especially since people I admire have done this before me: Jane did it last year and she’s quite the fan favorite.
How are you navigating the Emmy buzz surrounding your performance?
It’s very exciting. I’ve been on the show for three seasons and each season for me gets better and better. I submitted “Mash Off,” the episode that has “Rumor Has It,” for Emmy consideration and thought that was a blessing to have an episode that was so well rounded. We are a comedy but I also got to show off some dramatic aspects of the character that I brought to it this season. For people to even think that I’d be considered or a good candidate for a supporting actress nomination is mind blowing to me.
Chris Colfer earned an Emmy nomination for his role after Kurt’s coming out season. Did the thought of Emmy consideration ever pop into your head while you were filming the episode?
Definitely. Since we had people like Chris and his character Kurt go through similar things — this was when it was all coming to a head and there were so many different layers to Santana’s coming out story — I definitely felt the pressure. When I got the script, the cast and crew were joking that this was my Emmy episode. A friend on the crew was texting me, “Happy Emmy Day” on the day we filmed (laughs).
How did you approach filming the episode?
Eric Stoltz directed and I was happy to have him manning that ship in that episode. I approached it head-on. I don’t like to waste opportunities, and especially being a supporting cast member on this show to really make the most of it and show [executive producers] Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan and all the writers that you can handle the things that they’re giving you. Hopefully I did a good job with that.
After Santana came out on the show, did you alter the way you approached stepping into her shoes?
Definitely. Her relationships and the way she interacted with a lot of the other characters — especially the male ones. It was really hard because it had to have a subtlety to it; she still had to dish out insults to all the guys but I didn’t want there to be a layer of hurt under it anymore. It had to be, “That’s who she is,” and she had to keep her softness with Brittany had to continue throughout the rest of the season.
How did you prepare for Santana’s coming out scenes? The monologue she had with her grandmother was very powerful. Did you talk to Chris or Jane about it?
I’m blessed to have a number of close personal friends in my life who are gay and lesbian and I’ve heard their stories about high school and how it’s still a struggle for them. I had that to take with me and I also infused my own feelings about love and relationships and how tough that is and those feelings of embarrassment when things don’t work out your way. It was a combination of both.
What types of fan mail did you get after that?
Oh my gosh, I get so many stories of people that the story line truly touched them and and hit home for them. It’s created a fan base for me that I never thought I’d have. I was reading that my episode of The Glee Project that the demographic of women went up like 27 percent. It’s really cool to know that there are people out there that this does matter to and that your work does matter.
Via Santana’s story line, you’ve become a role model for lesbians — recently repeating as AfterEllen.com’s No. 1 on their annual Hot 100 list. What does being a lesbian icon and role model mean to you?
It still really hasn’t hit me, to be honest with you. Those are big words: icon and role model. I never thought that would happen for me going into the show; it wasn’t supposed to happen that way, it was scripted that way — that’s not who she was in Season 1, Episode 1 when she was mean to Rachel in the bathroom. It’s really cool to see how it’s evolved and it’s given me the greatest fan base in the entire world.