“Dahmer: Monster” was a huge success for the streaming platform, quickly becoming the second-most streamed show of all time by mid-October. Part of that hype comes from Peters’ performance as the notorious killer. While the 35-year-old said he was “terrified” to play Dahmer, he was also committed to making the role as realistic as possible.
“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 over the weekend. He mentioned watching a 1994 Dateline interview with the real Dahmer so he could “dive into the psychology of that extreme side of human behavior.”
This included adopting Dahmer’s speech pattern and mannerisms to the extent he could. Filmmaker Ryan Murphy confirmed that Evans “basically stayed in this character, as difficult as it was, for months.”
“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.”
Peters also had a unique way of adopting the real Dahmer’s body posture. He said the convicted killer “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.”
“So I also went off and created this 45-minute audio composite, which was very helpful,” the “American Horror Story” actor said of his lengthy preparations.
“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.”
Peters’ co-star Niecy Nash recalled greeting the actor when he was working on becoming more like Dahmer.
“I wanted to respect that and I wanted to keep him there,” she said of encountering his method acting practice.
“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.’”