How Disney Star Ross Lynch Plays A Gay Serial Killer in ‘My Friend Dahmer’
To play a young serial killer in “My Friend Dahmer,” ex-Disney Channel star Ross Lynch
didn’t just walk in his character’s shoes. He took over the childhood
home where Jeffrey Dahmer grew up and murdered his first victim. The
movie shot for two weeks in that eerie location, near Akron, Ohio. “When
I arrived, I felt comfortable,” says Lynch, 21. “This is going to sound
weird — it was almost like I was home.”
“My Friend Dahmer” (based on a graphic novel by Derf Backderf) is a
departure for Lynch, who starred in “Teen Beach Movie.” He wears shaggy
hair and big glasses to channel a disturbed criminal who murdered 17 men
and boys before his 1991 arrest. This story takes place before that, as
Dahmer is graduating from high school in the late ’70s and struggling
to fit in. But the role in the independent movie, which premieres at the
Tribeca Film Festival on Friday night, started to seep into the actor’s
psyche. “I kept losing sleep because — in my imagination — I kept
seeing him in the corner of my room. That was really frightening.”
Lynch spoke to Variety about the film and if he’s trying to break away from his squeaky-clean Disney past.
What did you know about Jeffrey Dahmer’s story?
Believe it or not, I didn’t know who Jeffrey Dahmer was. I was born in
’95. And I think he died in ’94. The script was floating around. It was a
Black List script. My agent emailed it to us. I thought, “This sounds
really interesting.” I auditioned a few times.
There’s a tradition of Disney stars — from Anne Hathaway to
Selena Gomez — going dark in independent films. Were you trying to show
Yeah. When I was doing the majority of the Disney stuff, I was always
thinking, “What’s next?,” because Disney is not forever. Although it was
a great time and I learned extraordinary things, I knew there had to be
something [else]. I didn’t want to go off the rails and started
partying. When “Dahmer” came along, it was the perfect opportunity to
really immerse myself in that role and hint at what I’d like to do in
How did you research Dahmer’s life?
It’s so twisted and scary to read about the things he did. He was also
surprisingly smart and charming. There are many interviews about him
confessing about what was going through his head. It was cool to listen
to how he spoke. He had somewhat of that Midwestern twang, almost like a
Minnesota accent, but not really. I did a subtle version of it.
Did you see the Jeremy Renner movie?
I didn’t. That was a different time in Dahmer’s life. I’m doing a
version of him slowly losing his humanity. I would kind of walk around
the house and practice the movement.
What did you base his walk on?
I based it off Jeffrey Dahmer. There are a few interviews, it’s very
short, but he walks right into the interview. He was a big guy and he
was really burly. He was somewhat gentle in his younger years, because
he was so shy. And he was so strong; he had awkward movements. I was
really trying to get that. When we were filming, word got out, because
we were in his hometown. People showed up on set and they were like,
“There’s no way.” They were shocked at how accurate my walk was.
You actually look like a young Jeffrey Dahmer.
I know. It’s kind of scary.
It’s hard to read about what Dahmer did to his victims. Did the role get to you?
The most I felt the role had affected me was when I got home. I realized
how much was lingering. I was anti-social for a second. Generally, I’m a
Did you grapple with the idea that by telling a serial killer’s life, you might be celebrating him?
I wanted to show the sympathetic version of what happened to him. I don’t think it’s a celebration.
Can your Disney fans see this film?
I think there’s definitely a wide range of my fan base that would enjoy
it. I remember when the press release first came out, a lot of people on
Twitter and social media were really excited. They like to see a
departure, too. They like to see growth. But if you’re a 10-year-old fan
or a little younger, maybe this isn’t the right film for you.
Pictured above are serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Nilsen.
Due to their similar modus operandi, Nilsen has often been described as the British Jeffrey Dahmer. Both would lure young men they met - usually at gay bars - to their flats, where they then strangled their victims after they passed out from drinking (Nilsen) or drinking and sleeping pills (Dahmer). After their victims were dead, they would cuddle them, share the bed with them, and engage in sexual acts with them; keeping them for several days before disposing of the bodies. While Nilsen only dismembered the bodies, because it was easier to get rid of them that way, Dahmer took pictures during the dismemberment, kept the skulls and even the full skeletons in two cases, and ate certain organs and muscles.
Unlike most other serial killers, neither Dahmer nor Nilsen tortured animals. The clips above show Jeffrey Dahmer as a child kissing his dog Frisky and as an adult kissing his grandmother’s cat, and Dennis Nilsen kissing and playing with his dog Bleep.
in my psych class, theres a kid who looks almost exactly like a young Jeffrey Dahmer, and because of this, its become a running joke to reference it during class. at first this kid didnt like the joke very much, or didnt react, but now he goes right along with it & its pretty funny.
hey i dont know if you've already answered this before but what are some of your favourite true crime books?
I have but I don’t mind answering again, and it usually changes as I read new books but here are some I really enjoyed. There are so many I can’t even think of right now…but here are some I really enjoyed.
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer when he was young, with his childhood pet Frisky. Despite belief that Dahmer exhibited cruelty to animals as a child, he actually loved animals. This belief stemmed from the fact that Dahmer did enjoy dissecting animals, but these specimens largely came from road kill.
Seen this post and thought that it was just some made up spooky story, but after some research I found out it is actually legit..
The ’ mad genius ’ would steal the bodies of young girls from their graves, put makeup on them, dress them and keep them in his bedroom. On one of the graves which he stole the body from he would leave taunting letters, for the family to discover saying things like ’ you left your daughter alone in the cold, now she is safe and warm with me ’ and talking about her school grades and her birthdays etc.
Another family of one of the girls, visited her grave religiously for nine years not realising that the body was gone until they noticed a fault or hole in the grave ( not quite sure ) and the police dug it up to see it was empty.
Chris Pratt had signed on for a thrilling new movie about Jeffrey Dahmer playing the young man who volunteers to get eaten.
Jensen Ackles has Jared Padalecki to satiate his hunger for man meat
Colton Haynes invites friends from Teen wolf over for dinner. But they’re the ones being eaten! (Tyler posey, Dylan O'Brien, Tyler Hoechlin, The Carver Twins, Cody Christian, Ian Bohen, and Ryan Kelly)
Chris and Liam Hemsworth are offering themselves as charity meat for a homeless shelter’s thanksgiving.
Gordon Ramsay is the host of a Celebrity Cooking show where he is the pilot episode meal
Ansel Elgort begs John Green to be in his next film. John is willing I Ansel will have to be roasted and served to him. When he reforms…he’ll know I he gets the part
Chris Evans is the celebrity host for the Pec Festival. An event where all different kinds of guys come to sample and cook Pecs as they’re prepared and cooked all around the world