Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has been one of Netflix’s biggest hits of 2022, proving that the viewing public is still hungry for blood-soaked true crime serial killer shows. Dahmer’s crimes are gruesome and disgusting even by the standards of other killers, so it’s a testament to Ryan Murphy and Evan Peters that they made his story so compelling and watchable.
Peters has already picked up a lot of praise for his performance in the title role, but it seems he originally was angling for a more cuddly and cozy role from his regular collaborator, as revealed in a deep dive into the production by The Hollywood Reporter.
“Peters had expressed he wanted to play someone “normal” and maybe go do a rom-com, Murphy explained. He said that after auditioning around 100 people for the part of Dahmer, he went to Peters with the script. “He called me the next day, and he said, ‘It’s so challenging. It’s so difficult that I kind of have to say yes to it, even though I’m terrified of it.’”
Peters also revealed that he’d dug into Dahmer material, reading every book and article he could get his hands on, poring over psychological reports and court documents to try and understand his actions. He also did his best to capture Dahmer’s body language and voice.
“Then the physicality of it, which I know was going to be so hard. He has a lot of external things from the way that he walks, he doesn’t move his arms when he walks and talks. And so I did a lot of research on watching him and seeing how he moved and working with weights on my arms, wearing wardrobe, all sorts of things that I would carry with me throughout the day to try to stay in it so it would be second nature. And then I created a 45-minute audio composite, which I listened to every day to try to get his dialect and how he spoke and really try to understand why he did what he did or what his mindset was.”
Getting so far under a serial killer’s skin doesn’t sound like a fun experience, but with the show rocketing to the number one spot on the Netflix charts, receiving critical acclaim, and about to pass a billion hours of viewing, it sounds like it was worth it.
Murphy looks to be swerving away from serial killers for his next series American Love Story, so let’s hope Peters gets a more heartwarming and adorable role this time and can leave the cannibal necrophiliac mass murderer behind him.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is available in full on Netflix.