“Glee” actor Kevin McHale said he wouldn’t play his character Archie Abrams if the show goes back on air in a reboot.
McHale, a nondisabled actor whose character used a wheelchair in the Fox series that aired from 2009 to 2015, told Insider this week that he wouldn’t be open to reprising the role today. “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy told McHale and former Glee actor Jenna Ushkowitz this month that he was open to examining the series’ future.
“I don’t know if Artie could be in it,” McHale said. “Knowing what we know now, I don’t think I should be playing a character that’s in a wheelchair. So, if they let me grow out of my beard and play a different character, I’ll do it.”
The decision to cast McHale in the Artie role sparked a discussion among actors with disabilities, including Robert David Hall, who said the failure to choose an actor with disabilities probably was because of fear of litigation and the belief that it “might slow a production down,” The Associated Press reported in 2009.
McHale’s comments came after Murphy’s suggestion that the series might have a future on Murphy and Ushkowitz’s podcast.
McHale also expressed regret for playing the character to Ushkowitz in 2019. Ushkowitz remarked that the show, which premiered in 2009, took place in a different time.
McHale said he “didn’t know any better” back then.
“What were we thinking? I couldn’t play that part,” McHale said.