Evan Peters had to go to a dark place to play notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer — and he needed a little help from one of his Netflix co-stars to get back to the “light.”
In a cast interview shared by the streaming service on Monday, the star of Ryan Murphy’s controversial Dahmer: Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story revealed how difficult it was both getting into the role and “shrugging it all off.”
“I put so much negativity and darkness into portraying the character that I was like, ‘Okay, when that’s done, all of that goes away and I have to get back into the light and start filling myself up again with comedy and romance, things like that.’ ‘ Peters said on Monday.
One such comedy was the 2008 film “Step Brothers,” which starred none other than his “Dahmer” actor, Richard Jenkins.
In preparation for his “Dahmer” role, Peters, 35, said he watched “as much as possible” of the notorious killer, including footage from the courtroom.
“He has such a distinctive voice and dialect,” said Peters. “I worked with dialect trainers and then created this 45 minute audio composite that I listened to every day to stay in the accent but also to really get into the mindset for the day and all the scenes we were shooting to have.”
The series became one of the most-watched Netflix series of all time after its debut in late September, drawing both acclaim and criticism for its accuracy. The real Dahmer, known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” murdered 17 men and boys — mostly black and gay — from 1978 to 1991 and ate some of their bodies. He died in 1994 after being beaten in prison.
“I was trying to understand what he was thinking and going through,” Peters said during the cast interview. “I was just trying to stay in it because it was too hard to get in and out of.”
Peters added that he “studied how he moved” and that Dahmer “didn’t move his arms as he walked.” The actor noted the killer’s “very straight back” and wore weights on his hands to try to replicate his gait to “understand” Dahmer.
“It was important for me to understand what that feels like,” said Peters. “When we were shooting, I let that go. In the beginning I wore dress shoes, jeans and glasses. I had a cigarette in my hand the whole time just trying to get all those outer, second natures [things]so I didn’t think about that when we were shooting.”
Murphy previously said he created the 10-episode series to “shine the spotlight on the untold stories of Dahmer’s victims,” but she has since been criticized by some of her families for exploiting her trauma. Even Simone Biles, the star gymnast, urged people not to glamorize the serial killer.
The series sparked further backlash for being listed in Netflix’s LGBTQ category.