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2006 · 03 · 10 (Fri) 20:21



Meloni of 'SVU': It takes a tough lesson to teach me
By Luaine Lee
Knight Ridder News Service

HOLLYWOOD - Actor Chris Meloni admits he's stubborn.
Sometimes he needs a kick in the head to set him straight,
he says.

"I do well with very hard lessons. I really need to be broken,
because if I'm not broken, I'm rather stubborn.
I may be happy about something,
but in my stubbornness, I can't see the forest for the trees,"
he explains over breakfast in a hotel on the Sunset Strip.

The man who plays the intrepid Detective Elliott Stabler
on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has trekked a long way
since he was a history major at the University of Colorado.
He dropped out, and headed for L.A. on his motorcycle,
dreams of stardom lighting his way.

"There I was, 20, in my heart of hearts honestly thinking,
envisioning I would be riding my motorcycle down
Wilshire Boulevard - or whatever famous boulevard
I'd heard about -
and there would be producers lined up with scripts saying,
'Chris, would you be in our project?' I truly believed that... ."

It didn't happen, but proved to be one of those hard knocks
that Meloni depends on.
"What it taught me was, I think, the discouragement lay with
myself in that I didn't blame Hollywood.
I went, 'Chris, you really came monstrously unprepared.
Go back. Do what you set out to do,
get that done - which is graduate college.' "

Once he graduated, Meloni was still at sea.
"I was 23 and depressed. I had no clue as to what I wanted to
do. I was a teacher for a while.
I tried construction again - that's what I'd done during
my college breaks.
So I called a friend from high school.
I said, 'What're you doing with your life?'
He said, 'I'm going to New York to become an actor.'
I said, 'Great.' I flew up the next day to interview for the
Neighborhood Playhouse.
They accepted me for the summer program and I drove up there."

For a fat $150 a month, Meloni lived with four people
in a 350-square-foot apartment.
But once his summer session at school was over, he was footloose again.

"I went home, sold my Jeep, had money, went back up to take classes at night.
I couldn't take classes full-time the rest of the time.
I wasn't employed so I actually appealed to people in the class.
I said, 'I'm homeless and I'm unemployed.'
I actually slept in Central Park one night."

Meloni's second foray to Hollywood proved not much better,
but he snagged a role in the short-lived sitcom The Fannelli Boys.
"People saw me as the funny guy, the funny-leading-man-in-a sitcom guy."
That lasted a year and, disillusioned by his representatives,
he left L.A.again.

In New York, David Milch and Stephen Bochco cast him for
five episodes of NYPD Blue.
"The tumblers clicked down and things started happening,"
he says, sipping coffee from a stoneware mug.

"I'm not very good at auditions. The idea of offering it to me
gave me the freedom and also I was thankful... .
I think the idea of auditions kind of makes me feel:
I've got to prove something to you."

He proved something, all right, as a bounty hunter in
Homicide: Life on the Street and finally as a vicious serial killer in Oz.

Married to production designer Sherman Williams,
Meloni has two children, a girl, 5, and a boy, 2.
Becoming a parent settled everything into perspective, he says.
"There was a profound revelation to that. I was thinking I was an actor,
my stock and trade is emotion and behavior, and I never knew what joy was.
I was 40 years old and, 'Oh, this is the sensation of joy.' "

Pairing Meloni, 44, and the hard-nosed Stabler was a casting coup.
But the hardest part of playing him is the procedural nature of the series,
Meloni says.

"I had a couple of shows where I really got to act.
I really got to blow out the pipes.
You can't have every show like that.
It's not the animal. So I'm literally put back into the cage."

最終更新日 : -0001-11-30



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