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Q&A with Christopher Meloni

This interview with Christopher Meloni marks the beginning of a series of Harold and Kumar 2 interviews which our AAA Chair and guest blogger Calvin Sun also conducted with Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris (what would NPH do?). Fans of Law & Order: SVU, Oz, and/or Wet Hot American Summer are free to emit cries of joy.

Sadly, there are no pictures because Chris's agents were especially unfriendly compared to Neil's and Kal's.

Christopher Meloni - Freakshow in Harold & Kumar; Detective Elliot Stabler in Law & Order: SVU; Chris Keller in Oz; Gene in Wet Hot American Summer

[The following is a transcript of Calvin's interview]

[Christopher Meloni walks in shouting “Heyyyy!” as our roundtable of four journalists, including myself--pretending to be one--buzzes with excitement. We spent two hours waiting; and at that moment those two hours seemed worthwhile.]

[Christopher sits down and jokes around a bit with one journalist who yelped when he came in.]

Why did you decide to take up a role as the Middle School Gym Teacher in the Nickolodeon film, Gym Teacher: The Movie?

CM: I took it because of Paul Dinello (Strangers with Candy). It was nice, funny, and Paul would bring a necessary edge so that it wouldn’t be sappy. It was fun. I play this good, but sometimes flawed, sometimes selfish type character that becomes the hero at the end.

[Backstory: Christopher plays "a guy who was the gymnast in the 1998 Seoul Olympics who falls flat on his face on the vaulting horse and never gets over it." Eventually he is socially retarded, becoming a middle school gym teacher tasked with "winning the Middle School Gym Teacher Nationals." But then a clumsy transfer students joins his team and screws up all his hopes of making it big again. And then "he falls for the kid’s mother...it's a GREAT story."]

[Christopher then discusses how Law & Order is finally back on after writer’s strike as Robin Williams is set to guest star in the 200th episode.]

So what was more enjoyable: playing Freakshow in the first Harold & Kumar film or The Grand Wizard in the second film?

CM: I enjoyed Freakshow because he had more scenes to flesh him out and live with him. If you do that, you eventually become very attached. Unfortunately I did only one scene for The Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan scene in Harold & Kumar 2.

(Jokingly) You didn’t get attached to being a part of the Ku Klux Klan?

CM: Well I did subscribe to their mailing list...they got a lot of great ideas.

This is on the record.

CM: HA HA HA, you can put “jokingly” or SOMETHING. You guys do still do that right? But seriously, when I looked into their philosophy, a lot of it is fear-based. It’s sad.

There are a lot of good comedic riffs in Law & Order: SVU series as well. Will there be any romantic prospects?

CM: No comment... The character development and working together with my partner on the show happens organically.

For example, “we have to hug” because it’ll never happen again (referring to a life & death moment on the show). She ends up saving the child, which to me is deeper than sex or having relationships... A lot of people want us to get together on the show, but you can’t always get what you want.

What are your future projects?

CM: A movie called Carriers with Chris Pine (of Star Trek fame), and a Nights in Rodanthe film with Diane Lane.

Do you actively seek out roles outside of Low & Order?

CM: Back then, I needed the money and the exposure. But now, especially when Law & Order: SVU ends, the criteria will now be stuff I want to do, working with good people. John Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg (The writers & directors of the Harold & Kumar films) fit the bill here because they’re no longer “up & coming” comedic geniuses...After this film, they’ll definitely be seen to be as good as Judd Apatow.

Do you prefer to do comedies or drama?

CM: I prefer comedy because I’m esconched in drama nine months of the year (with Law & Order: SVU). For example, the cop role would be the last one I would choose unless its with Sidney Lumet (laughs).

How do you find the time?

CM: I’m not pulling the train; I’m the unground kernel of pepper.

Are you looking forward to public nudity again?

CM: I did Oz!!! I peed in a bucket before and showed the full monty before!

Well, is doing public nudity different between pay on HBO than pay in a theater?

CM: I just find it weird that people are more concerned with nudity than with violence in this country.

What else are you looking for in future roles?

CM: I want to be with women in films that don’t fit the status quo; I want to be with women that aren’t pretty, I want to be with a woman who is black, I want to be with women who are overweight... it goes on.

So what will life be like after Law & Order: SVU?

CM: I’m currently setting up a post-SVU life by starting a production company, working with 1-2 writers, auctioning properties. I just produced my first movie: National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie which is about low rent, shoestring budget guys trying to get it off the ground...

[Time’s up; Christopher’s agent/staff comes in and tells everyone to wrap it... Neil Patrick Harris is coming in 30 seconds! One journalist laments that we never actually got to talk about Harold & Kumar 2 with Christopher.]


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