(Credit: Netflix)

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The video Evan Peters watched before embodying Jeffrey Dahmer

Carrying an eternally youthful appearance, American actor Evan Peters is one of the most beloved actors of modern entertainment, finding contemporary fame in ‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’.

Starting off in independent cinema and obscure television, Peters’ preference of role has not changed too much since his youth, taking to the industry back in 2004 with the movies Clipping Adam and Sleepover. Quickly growing in popularity, the actor took roles in further low-budget movies, Remarkable Power, Gardens of the Night and Never Back Down, where he would star alongside Sean Faris, Djimon Hounsou, Cam Gigandet and Amber Heard.

But, it was his role as Jack Daniels in the popular teen drama One Tree Hill in 2008 that would take the popularity of the actor to new heights, thrusting him into the industry limelight. Two years later, director Matthew Vaughn would recruit the young actor for his superhero satire, Kick-Ass, then four years after that, he would become a fan-favourite in the Marvel comic-book flick, X-Men: Days of Future Past. 

In contemporary times, Peters is celebrated as one of the most diverse actors in the industry, capable of comedy, drama and dark, sinister roles, as seen in American Horror Story. Though, this series cannot be compared to his latest undertaking as the real-life serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, embodying the insidious soul for Netflix in their brand new series, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

A complex and highly disturbing character for any actor to take on, Peters prepared for the role by watching old videos, as well as reading through old police reports. As he states in a behind-the-scenes interview with Netflix, he explained, ““Well, I sort of started with a blank slate with Dahmer. I only had the image of the haz-mat suits and the blue vat coming out of the building, which I didn’t even know was an apartment complex. I found out later that it was the Oxford apartments, where he committed most of his acts”. 

One of the many pieces of material Peters watched to prepare for the role was an interview the serial killer conducted in 1994, where the disturbed individual recalls his actions with a strange regret and guilt. As Peters states, “I immediately went to YouTube – he told me also to watch the Stone Phillips interview, and so I watched that”. 

The video itself is an extraordinary interview with Dahmer, his father and the reporter Stone Phillips, where the trio discuss all the grisly details of his killing with remarkable openness. Convicted of killing 17 men and boys from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Dahmer was caught in July, 1991 after one of his victims escaped and went to the police. 

In addition to this video, Peters also watched several police interviews, recalling, “I found on YouTube some audio of what sounds like a psychologist interviewing him, or even a detective, where he’s relaying what he went through…And the way that he’s speaking is very candid and very normal…Again, 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”. 

Although giving a stellar performance, the show is being called into question, with many having trouble with the glamourisation of the serial killer. Indeed, the true crime obsession is a curious modern trend whose roots go way back to society’s morbid obsession with mystery, murder and more.