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 to get into character and to “shake it all off.”
“I put in so much negativity and darkness to portray the character that I thought, ‘OK, once this is done, all of that goes away and I have to get back into the light and start filling myself back up with comedies and romance and sorts of things like that,’” Peters said Monday.
One of those comedies was the 2008 film “Step Brothers,” featuring none other than his “Dahmer” cast mate Richard Jenkins.
In preparation for his “Dahmer” role, the 35-year-old Peters said he “watched as much as I could” of the notorious murderer, including courtroom footage.
“He has such a distinct voice and that dialect,” Peters said. “I worked with dialect coaches 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.”
The series became one of Netflix’s most viewed ever after it debuted in late September, garnering both acclaim and criticism for its accuracy. The real-life Dahmer, known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal,” murdered 17 men and boys from 1978 to 1991 — mostly Black and gay — and ate some of their corpses. He died in 1994 after being beaten in prison.
“I tried to attempt to understand what he was thinking and going through,” Peters said during the cast conversation. “I just tried to stay in it because it was too hard to go in and out of it.”
Peters added that he “studied how he moved” and that Dahmer “didn’t move his arms when he walked.” The actor noted the killer’s “very straight back” and wore weights on his hands to try to re-create his gait, in order to “understand” Dahmer.
“It was important for me to get how that felt,” said Peters. “As we were shooting, I let that go. In the beginning I wore wardrobe’s shoes, jeans and glasses. I had a cigarette in my hand at all times, just trying to get all of these external, second-nature [things], so I wasn’t thinking about it when we were shooting.”
Murphy previously said he created the 10-episode series to “shine a spotlight on the as-yet untold stories of Dahmer’s victims,” but it has since been criticized by some of their families for exploiting their trauma. Even Simone Biles, the star gymnast, urged people not to glorify the serial killer.
The series spurred further backlash for being listed under Netflix’s LGBTQ category.