It's 2011, and the pop culture world is in the middle of a blizzard of "Glee." TV's hit teen musical — and specifically its stars — have made themselves darn near inescapable, whether they're tarting it up on the cover of "GQ," promoting an upcoming episode at the Super Bowl, or crying photogenically at the Golden Globes.
Strangely enough, the one place you haven't seen the cast of "Glee" has been in the movie theater. It's been a year and a half since the show became a sensation, and we're still waiting for one of the young stars to cross over on to the big screen. That wait will soon be over as Dianna Agron, who plays disaffected cheerleader Quinn on "Glee," co-stars in the superhero franchise hopeful "I Am Number Four," opening this week.
With "Glee" kicking off the home stretch of its second season, it's about time for its young stars to be snatching up their big crossover roles. But which "Gleeks" have nabbed the roles most likely to make them "movie stars," rather than just "TV actors in a movie"? Let's take a look.
Dianna Agron, 'I Am Number Four,' Feb. 18
Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) gets to take a break from the post-pregnancy angst she's been mired in on "Glee" to play the girlfriend of a superpowered alien who was sent to Earth as an infant and is now being hunted. Directed by D.J. Caruso ("Disturbia," "Eagle Eye") and co-starring Alex Pettyfer (whom you've likely never heard of, but will see an awful lot of in 2011), "Number Four" could be a great platform to launch Agron into the upper echelon of teen actresses. Quinn's never been the strongest singer at McKinley High, but Agron has quietly become one of the cast's more emotive actors. And since the Hollywood outside of "Glee" offers far fewer opportunities to belt out a tune (sorry, Lea Michele), Agron seems more and more like the "Glee" kid with the brightest future in film.
Jane Lynch, 'Paul,' March 18
If the "Glee" teens are serious about developing movie careers for themselves, they should look to their elders. Because the woman behind Sue Sylvester has built herself quite the niche in Hollywood. Jane Lynch has latched on to some of the great comedy-movie crews working today — the Christopher Guest ensemble of "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind" and the Paul Rudd-connected teams behind "Role Models" and "Party Down." Lynch's comedic chops will next be on display in "Paul," a sci-fi comedy from writers and co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost ("Shaun of the Dead"), directed by Greg Mottola ("Superbad," "Adventureland").
Cory Monteith, 'Monte Carlo, July 1
Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) looks to be taking a more traditional path from teen TV to teen movies. "Monte Carlo" comes from the producers behind "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," and the story doesn't sound all that different. Three young girlfriends (Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy) take a dream trip to France and get caught up in mistaken identities and various adventures in the titular resort town. Monteith will play The Boyfriend to one of the girls, which doesn't seem like the most glamorous role, but it's smack in the middle of the demographic for the audience that will make or break him.
Lea Michele, 'New Year's Eve,' Dec. 9
Lea Michele ("Glee"s Rachel Berry) seems like the most likely of the "Glee" cast to strike out on her own with a movie career. But we won't see her on the big screen until the end of 2011, when she appears in the ensemble cast of Garry Marshall's "New Year's Eve." Think of it as a spiritual sequel to Marshall's "Valentine's Day," where a big cast of famous people scramble to pair up in time for a holiday inextricably tied up with love and romance, and Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel are involved. The good news for Michele is that this is bound to be a high-profile, mainstream-friendly movie. The bad news? Here's the cast she'll have to compete with: Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Kutcher, Biel, Josh Duhamel, Hilary Swank, Sienna Miller, Sofia Vergara, Seth Meyers, and Jon Bon Jovi. So ... good luck to her.
Chord Overstreet, 'A Warrior's Heart,' release date TBA
The impeccably named Chord Overstreet ("Glee's" blond-haired specimen of human perfection Sam Evans) also hopes to grow within his demographic niche, having been cast in this film starring "Twilight" stars Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene. Lutz and Greene will play a high-school hothead and the girl who wins his heart. The independently-financed movie is certainly a far cry from the big-studio blockbusters where Lea Michele and Dianna Agron find themselves, but the combined power of the rabid "Twilight" and "Glee" fanbases is never to be underestimated.
'Glee' cast surpasses Elvis as top hit makersChris Colfer, 'Struck By Lightning,' release date TBA
Speaking of independently-produced projects, some of Overstreet's co-stars are doing just that. Heather Morris, who plays the sweetly dim Brittany S. Pierce, wrote and directed her own short film, "The Elevator," to name one example. Recent Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) is writing his own feature film. "Struck By Lightning" is rumored to be a high-school dramedy, and Colfer is reportedly to star as well as script. It's a very "Glee" path to take, of course — finding a place you fit in even if you have to make it yourself.