- Samuel Larsen said his real-life experience being barefoot for a year inspired his "Glee" character.
- When Larsen lived in California he spent his senior year of high school not wearing shoes.
- He said a barefoot performance he did for "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy also inspired his character.
Samuel Larsen, who played Joe Hart on "Glee," said his character's tendency to go barefoot was based on the actor's own experience.
Speaking to Insider ahead of the 10-year anniversary of "The Glee Project" ending, Larsen said "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy "very much just molded" Joe after Larsen — going barefoot was part of Larsen's look in high school.
"Senior year, the whole year, I didn't wear shoes," he said. "But at the time, I was living in the suburbs. It was pretty clean."
He said once he moved to LA he "immediately was like, 'I'm not walking around without a pair of shoes here.'"
Larsen also performed barefoot for Murphy on "The Glee Project," the competition show where he won his role on the Fox series.
"I did 'Animal' by Neon Trees, and I wasn't wearing shoes and I was just being kind of sexual and being as rock'n'roll as I could. And that was just not at all what Ryan wanted for me,'" Larsen told Insider. "He was very much like, 'Put your damn shoes on. Be vulnerable."
"Apparently, he hated when people were barefoot, but it was my thing for a long time" he added.
Larsen had hoped he would be written as an edgier character, but thought it was 'cool' he played a Christian teen
Larsen described his character, Joe, as "really cool," and said he appreciated the way he was written as a Christian.
"I was really proud when they wrote that character because I feel like they touched on a lot of very serious things. I felt like a tool that was being used for some good in the storytelling — not just entertainment, but actually breaking down a bit of discomfort and some barriers there," he told Insider.
Joe was one of several Christian glee-club members who were part of the "God Squad," which included main characters Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron), and Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet).
When Larsen joined the "Glee" in season three, Agron's character, Quinn, had recently gone through a major style change from preppy to grunge.
Larsen told Insider that this made him hopeful his character would have a similar "edgy" look.
"I was kind of looking forward to my character being a bit more punk rock and edgy — especially when I saw that they were making Quinn all punk-rock-looking," he recalled. "I was like, 'I know what they're doing. They're setting her up for me.' But that's totally not what they were doing."
Although Larsen only won a seven-episode "Glee" arc from "The Glee Project," he ultimately appeared in 25 episodes.
Representatives for Ryan Murphy did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.