Evan Peters Wanted To Say Respectful Towards The Victims While Playing The Role of Jeffrey Dahmer

Evan Peters has gained a whole host of new fans in the last few weeks. This comes after his portrayal of the deadly serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Ryan Murphy’s biographical crime drama miniseries, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix.

That’s not to say that the role is necessarily the biggest of his career so far. At 35, Peters has already played a major Marvel character in four different films. After featuring as Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver in three X-Men movies and Deadpool 2, he also later debuted in the MCU miniseries WandaVision on Disney Plus.

Since then, Peters starred in another Murphy series, this time as Austin Sommers in American Horror Story: Double Feature. The actor also featured in four episodes of Mare of Easttown on HBO, alongside Kate Winslet. Here, he played one Detective Colin Zabel.

It is Dahmer that has garnered the most attention, recently, however. This is not just for the public interest in the story, but the excellence with which Peters depicted such an emotionally grueling role. The actor is just the latest in a line of others who have played Dahmer, after Jeremy Renner in 2012 and Ross Lynch in 2o15.

Playing Jeffrey Dahmer Was “The Hardest Thing” That Evan Peters Has Ever Done

Evan Peters has been acting since 2004. In that time, however, he insists that he is yet to step into the shoes of a character as daunting as Jeffrey Dahmer. Following the release of Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, the actor was interviewed by Netflix on the complexities of embodying such a cold-blooded killer.

“Honestly, I was very scared about all of the things that he did,” Peters explained. “Diving into that and trying to commit to that was absolutely going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, because I wanted it to be very authentic. But in order to do that, I was gonna have to go to really dark places and stay there for an extended period of time.”

It was only with the help of his colleagues that Peters managed to cope with the pressure of playing Dahmer. “I have to say that the crew was instrumental in keeping me on the guardrails,” he said.

How Did Evan Peters Stay Respectful To Jeffrey Dahmer’s Victims?

One of the words that kept popping up during Evan Peters’ interview with Netflix was “authenticity.” It was a desire from the actor – as well as creator Ryan Murphy – to give as credible an account of events as they happened, and in so doing honor the people who were actually murdered by Jeffrey Dahmer.

“It was so jaw-dropping that it all really happened, that it felt important to be respectful to the victims, to the victims’ families, to try to tell the story as authentically as we could,” Peters revealed.

The downside of becoming Dahmer as accurately as he could on the screen was not without consequence for the Missouri-born star. The emotional labor meant that he had to be transported into a difficult place mentally, where he only managed to survive with the help of those around him.

One of the people who Peters name-checked as being very supportive was Sarah Brandes, a camera assistant on the set of Dahmer. He also mentioned Director of Photography Jason McCormick, albeit only by his title.

Ryan Murphy Did Not Want The Series To Be Primarily About Jeffrey Dahmer

The series might have bore the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer name – and revolved around his barbaric actions, but Ryan Murphy was determined that it would not be told from his personal viewpoint. There was not to be a sanitization of the serial killer, which is the one rule that Evan Peters and his co-stars had to follow in filming the show.

“We had one rule going into this from Ryan, that it would never be told from Dahmer’s point of view,” Peters added, in the same Netflix interview. “As an audience, you’re not really sympathizing with him. You’re not really getting into his plight. You’re more sort of watching it, you know, from the outside.”

Peters also delved into how the story reflected on society at the time, and the systemic failure that allowed Dahmer to continue thriving in his murderous trade. “It’s called The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, but it’s not just him and his backstory,” he continued. “It’s the repercussions. It’s how society and our system failed to stop him multiple times because of racism, homophobia.”