Relishing a role with real bite
Christopher Meloni has sunk his teeth into his new role in True Blood, writes
WHEN you’re an actor as imposing and forceful as Christopher Meloni, it’s easy to get typecast as a tough guy.
So when Meloni exited Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after more than a decade as tightly-wound Detective Elliot Stabler, he went looking for something new.
He definitely found it. In the form of a 500-year-old vampire who is also, in the actor’s words, ‘‘a big old baby’’.
Meloni is one of the newest additions to the colourful cast of the sexy, bloody pay-TV hit True Blood, the fifth season of which is airing on Showcase.
‘‘I don’t think you could go farther afield from SVU than joining the world of Bon Temps and the whole True Blood werewolves, werepanthers, faeries and vampires running around,’’ Meloni says.
‘‘I really was just looking for something absolutely completely different than the world that SVU had.’’
Playing Roman Zimojic, a powerful vampire who is part of The Authority, an organisation using any means necessary to ensure peaceful co-existence between vampires and humans, offers just that. ‘‘From the moment I decided to move on and try different stuff, I was completely open. I was very happy this was one of the first projects that came my way.’’
Roman is a fairly righteous character, one who believes deeply in his cause. But such tunnel vision is what leads the actor to view his character as a little immature, despite his fivecentury lifespan. ‘‘[He has] his unbending drive to get what he wants,’’ Meloni says.
‘‘I think on the outside if you’re with him, you agree and you want to follow someone like that. If you disagree, then you think he’s a fanatic. You know who acts like that? A child. And I thought he was kind of funny.’’
A word of warning about Roman, though: ‘‘Don’t tell him that to his face.’’
When it’s not getting nasty in every sense of the word (which is a big part of its appeal, let’s face it), True Blood has been savvy about using its supernatural elements to reflect real-world issues. Meloni says his Authority storyline carries on that tradition.
Thursdays, 8.35pm, Showcase; encore Sunday, 8.35pm.
Chris Meloni (left) in a scene from