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Actor Evan Peters stayed in character as Jeffrey Dahmer for months to prepare for role
October 31 2022, 08:00

Actor Evan Peters said he was "terrified" to play serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the Netflix series "Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story."

"I really went back and forth on whether I should do it or not. I knew it was going to be incredibly dark and an incredible challenge," Peters said during a panel on Saturday. 

The panel also featured filmmaker Ryan Murphy and co-stars Niecy Nash and Richard Jenkins. 

Peters explained that he watched Dahmer’s 1994 interview on "Dateline" to "dive into the psychology of that extreme side of human behavior."

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According to Murphy, Peters had worn lead weights around his arms and lifts in his shoes for the four months of preparation and six months of shooting film to mimic Dahmer’s physicality.

He "basically stayed in this character, as difficult as it was, for months," Murphy said.

Peters said Dahmer "has a very straight back. He doesn’t move his arms when he walks, so I put weights on my arms to see what that felt like." 

"I wore the character shoes with lifts in them, his jeans, his glasses, I had a cigarette in my hand at all times," Peters said. "I wanted all this stuff, these external things, to be second nature when we were shooting, so I watched a lot of footage and I also worked with a dialect coach to get down his voice. The way that he spoke, it was very distinct and he had a dialect."

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"So I also went off and created this 45-minute audio composite, which was very helpful," he continued. "I listened to that every day, in hopes of learning his speech patterns, but really, in an attempt to try to get into his mindset and understand that each day that we were shooting. It was an exhaustive search, trying to find private moments, times where he didn’t seem self-conscious, so you could get a glimpse into how he behaved prior to these interviews and being in prison."

Nash noted that she had approached Peters at the beginning of filming to say hello and realized he was "in his process."

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"I wanted to respect that and I wanted to keep him there," she said. "I prayed for you a lot, for real, because this is weighty. And when you stay in it, and you’re tethered to the material, like bone to marrow, your soul is troubled at some point. And I could see him getting tired. I just said, 'Well, I’m just gonna make sure I keep him in my prayers, because this is a lot and he wants to do it justice.'"