Power Players

Here's what happened when Darren Criss met his own celeb idol, Sam Rockwell

This is what happened when Darren Criss met his favorite actor

Darren Criss is a big star. Most recently, he won a Golden Globe for his role in FX's limited series "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story," and he has racked up other accolades including an Emmy.

But despite his success, the 31-year-old had a refreshingly relatable interaction with his own celebrity idol.

Criss tells CNBC Make It that Sam Rockwell is "one of my favorite actors, ever." Rockwell was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar on Tuesday for his role as George W. Bush in "Vice." 

Criss explains that since he was a teen, he's followed the trajectory of Rockwell's career in theater and film (which includes a 2018 Oscar win for his role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"), and has never missed a movie or Broadway play that he's in.

Being able to attend events that Rockwell is also at (like the 2019 Golden Globes at which Criss won) has certainly been a highlight of his career.

Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell arrive to the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019.
Todd Williamson/NBC | NBCUniversal | Getty Images

"Probably one of the coolest nights of my life was getting to hang out with Sam the night he won his Oscar, and just feeling like I shouldn't be there for his moment," Criss tells CNBC Make It an event for Clorox's What Comes Next Project, for which Criss is a spokesperson — the initiative supports organizations and individuals that give back by providing access to things like clean laundry or a clean home.

"But being like the self-appointed president of [Rockwell's] fan club, I felt like, okay maybe it's good that I'm here, that I'm representing the people that love this guy to celebrate this moment," he says.

At one point, when Criss was near Rockwell, who had his Oscar in his hand, and Criss could not hold back from telling him how much he admired him.

"I'm like vibrating with excitement," Criss says. "And we've already met, we've talked, I've had some interaction with him, but I just can't believe that I get to be in his atmosphere at this moment, right?

"And so I just go, 'Sam, man, I've got to tell you, this is such an incredible moment for me to be here and share this with you. I cannot tell you how much this this means to me, it's really, really special so thank you and congratulations.'"

Criss recalls the reaction Rockwell had was hilarious.

"I kind of give this heartfelt message to Sam, really baring my soul, and then he said to me..., 'Yeah, that's f------ cool, right?' Criss says, laughing. "And I was like, that's my man, that's exactly what I would have said if someone had, like, bared their soul to me. And I thought that was a very appropriate response, because he was right: It was very f------ cool.

"When you meet people that you really admire, it's almost less about them hearing what you have to say and more of them giving you the chance to say it in front of them," he says.

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Darren Criss says 'Versace' set was like sitting with the cool kids at lunch

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