Rel­ish­ing a role with real bite

Christo­pher Meloni has sunk his teeth into his new role in True Blood, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SUNDAY EXTRA -

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

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