Darren Criss on "Weight" of Portraying a Real-Life Character in 'American Crime Story' | Drama Actor Roundtable

"This particular person had very lasting effects," Criss says of playing Andrew Cunanan in the FX anthology.

Darren Criss opened up to The Hollywood Reporter on the reality of playing a real-life character, spree killer Andrew Cunanan, in FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Criss said he couldn't help but think about "the sons and daughters and cousins and husbands and wives of people that were affected" by Cunanan.

"That weighs on me a little bit," he told THR during the Drama Actor Roundtable. Criss said he was able to identify with Cunanan, who died at age 27 by suicide, because "that's our job. We're in the business of empathy. It doesn't matter what my personal moral spectrum is."

Criss went on to discuss the #MeToo and Time's Up movements in Hollywood, being one of the two youngest members of the roundtable at age 31, along with Michael B. Jordan (Fahrenheit 451). 

"What's interesting is the way that it's shaping the narratives that we're interested in," Criss said, comparing the current hot-button issue to the world wars of the early 20th century and how those stories were reflected on-screen. "We're seeing this wonderful rise of female voices in film and television. That's cool. That's the flip side of all this."

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story aired in January on FX. The full Emmy Roundtables air every Sunday on SundanceTV beginning June 24 and on THR.com the following Monday. The full Drama Actor Roundtable, also starring Matthew Rhys, J.K. Simmons, Jeff Daniels and Jason Bateman, airs Sunday, July 8, on Sundance TV. Tune in to THR.com/roundtables for more roundtables featuring talent from the year’s top shows.