Tonight’s Glee (Fox, 8/7c) marks the arrival of Shirley MacLaine as June Dolloway, a wealthy New York socialite and major NYADA benefactor who takes a vested interest in Blaine’s career. But as MacLaine admits to TVLine, June’s involvement with Mr. Anderson might not be entirely pure.
TVLine spoke with the big-screen legend about her two-episode arc, including which songs she’ll be performing and how she might prove to be yet another thorn in Klaine’s side.
TVLINE | Fox is really hyping up your episodes. I dare say you’re Glee‘s biggest guest yet.
I don’t know if I’m the biggest guest, but I’m probably the slowest. [Laughs]
TVLINE | How did this come about? Were you a fan of the show?
The world is so small, and it all happened so fast. I’d seen the show, of course, over the last five years. God, I admire the talent of the kids. I don’t think they have enough time to contemplate the creativity of what’s going on. What are they going to do when this is over? Nothing moves this fast — except Malaysia Flight 370, maybe.
TVLINE | And who is June Dolloway? Give us a little intro.
She’s a very flamboyant socialite who is a tastemaker in Manhattan. She cherishes the talent that she finds. She thinks the ones she likes should be stars, and she’s very smart. She’s had three husbands and has a great wardrobe, which is one of the reasons I’m doing it — saves me shopping. But she also feels the need to perform, herself. You can’t keep her off the stage.
TVLINE | How was working with Darren Criss?
Oh, he’s terrific. He really is. Darling guy. Very talented man.
TVLINE | I know you sing [Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart”] with him. Any more songs?
Yes, I’m going to sing a song from Pippin next week.
TVLINE | Does June have any ulterior motives in working with Blaine?
You know, I’ve tried to figure this out. She’s 80 years old, and here’s this 27-year-old kid that she’s taking under her wing; I have to ask, “How far under does it go?” I haven’t gotten time to ask that question, but it is in my heart and in my mind.
TVLINE | How does Kurt feel about June taking Blaine under her wing, however far under that may be?
Well, she only wants [Blaine] to be the star, and the man that he’s in love with, Blaine wants him to be part of what June is doing. And that’s another thing; I was very interested in the genderfication of the set. It’s so wonderfully homogenized. You don’t know who’s gay, who’s straight, who’s transitioning — all this wonderful stuff that the young people are experimenting with.
TVLINE | Quite the shift from your experience on Downton Abbey.
[Laughs] You think? And that’s really it. Those are the two polarities, to go from Downton Abbey to Glee is really terrific. Oh my God, I love that I’m doing that.
TVLINE | Lastly, what is it about doing Glee that you just couldn’t pass up?
I wanted to be in that musical environment. Where else can you do that for two weeks? I didn’t understand how they did the computerized overlapping, so I wanted to see how that worked with the human soul. How does it work when a computer decides what your key should be? You know, Stanley Kubrick was right. This is all another kind of futuristic planet to me.
Hit PLAY on our behind-the-scenes video below, then drop a comment: Are you jonesin’ for some June?Follow @AndySwift