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WELCOME to UNABRIDGED ~ CHRISTOPHER MELONI ONLINE @ christopher-meloni.org, your largest source for all things Chris related on the web. Best known for his long-running role as Detective Elliot Stabler on LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT and for Prisoner #98K514 Christopher Keller on HBO's OZ, Chris's long resume includes playing the starring role on the FOX comedy SURVIVING JACK, recently reprising his role of Gene on the Netflix comedy WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: NEXT DAY OF CAMP, Roman Zimojic on HBO's TRUE BLOOD. Chris also has some impressive films to his credit including WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, SMALL TIME, MAN OF STEEL, 42 and has also starred in TWELVE MONKEYS, BOUND, THE SOULER OPPOSITE, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER and two HAROLD & KUMAR films. This site includes an extensive filmography, biography, press section, gallery and much more.
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Chris was interviewed by The Wrap about his various projects including his just renewed series for the CW UNDERGROUND, his film I AM WRATH as well as he again teases a return to LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT as his eponymous role Detective Elliot Stabler. I would love to see him back as Stabler if not for anything but to give the character a proper closure, however, I don’t want it to be what could be considered a caricature of the character. We’ve already seen the show diss his contribution with that ridiculous line at the end of Danny Pino’s run as Amaro when Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) told him he was her best partner. I say bullshit! Pino, or as I call him Vanilla Boy, was only on for four years. Chris’ Stabler was on for twelve years and hardly something to consider trivial, which is what I felt they did with him.

‘Underground’ Star Christopher Meloni Teases Return to ‘Law & Order: SVU’

“I Am Wrath” actor also weighs in on his “Oz” co-star J.K. Simmons joining him in the DCU and working with Marielle Heller

Christopher Meloni is TV royalty thanks to his turn as Det. Elliot Stabler on “Law & Order: SVU,” but these days, he has turned in his badge in favor of WGN America’s drama “Underground,” in which he plays conflicted slave trader August Pullman.

“Underground” is one of two series that could put Meloni in the thick of the Emmy race, along with his comedic turn in Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.” At 55 years old, the veteran actor is gunning for his first Emmy nomination in 10 years, and spoke with TheWrap about his two-tiered campaign in the supporting actor categories on both sides of the genre divide.

In addition to his work on the small screen, Meloni returns to features this weekend alongside John Travolta in Chuck Russell‘s revenge thriller “I Am Wrath,” which sees the actor re-embracing Stabler’s famous temper and going outside the law to deliver justice. It’s a far cry from his work in Marielle Heller‘s “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” which also came up during our brief chat.

Read TheWrap’s interview with Meloni below, and be sure to check out “Underground” on WGN America on Wednesdays, as he’s expected to return for the second season.

TheWrap: “Underground” is the first TV series to really tackle slavery like this, particularly the Underground Railroad. Why do you think it took so long for a story like this to make it onscreen?
Christopher Meloni: I find right now to be the golden age of television. You have so many platforms and outlets starved for real, deep, meaningful storytelling. This show takes advantage of that and lets us investigate our past — not in a dry, historical way, but in a provocative manner.

What’s the hardest part of playing a character who does despicable things for the right reasons?
The truth of the matter is, on a day-to-day basis, we don’t always live in such perfect circumstances. I think we always make choices that are convenient, or feel necessary. If you were brought up during [slavery], maybe you wouldn’t be so proud of your actions. It’s a very human trait placed in a more inflammatory setting, which is slavery. Maybe back then you’d get 20 percent of the population who think slavery is good, but the other 80 percent would think it’s unhealthy and immoral, so it’s kind of an inflammatory place to have a character act out his needs. I didn’t find it that difficult, but for me, I found the mechanisms that made it all too human. People will make a lot of excuses to explain away behavior that many would find odorous or less than good.

What sets “Underground” apart from other shows in this year’s Emmy race?
The writing feels so vital and alive. It’s complicated and complex, as well as truthful and important. Reading it, I had the same feeling I had when I read for the [Jackie Robinson] movie “42.” I thought slavery was an important subject to explore, and I’m very proud to be a part of it. Obviously I’m very biased, but there’s a sense of pride being a part of something that feels important.

Can you even imagine being a slave and having to make your own run for freedom? At what point might you have thrown in the towel?
I’ve thought about that a lot. It’s almost a concept that none of us can connect into. We’re so connected right now. It’s no longer even country-to-country, we’re a global society now. We’re completely globalized and there’s also an immediacy, visually, on our own personal devices. But what if you grew up and all you knew was a hundred-acre patch of land? Unless you were one of the privileged few blacks who were allowed to leave, you have no idea what’s out there, or really any concept of what the world is. And then, to have this feeling inside you where you want this thing called freedom, what does that mean? It’s a dangerous thought to have. So then you escape, but you escape to where? You have no idea what the world is like! I wouldn’t even call it bravery — it’s more this burning sense and desire for freedom that must’ve driven them to a place of madness. It’s a pretty profound thought to me.

You co-star alongside John Travolta in the revenge movie “I Am Wrath.” What do you think audiences find so appealing about those kinds of movies, and how was it working with him?
Your average human would be lying if they said they’ve never daydreamed about some kind of revenge scenario. Everyone has been wronged, whether you were bullied on the playground or something else entirely. Bu we’ve all had our revenge fantasies. That’s in our DNA.

Working with Travolta, you couldn’t find a more gracious guy with his fans. They’d line up outside until we wrapped at 1 or 2 in the morning, just waiting for John, and after a 14-16 hour day he’d walk over to them and sign autographs or take pictures until every person was gone. It’s part of the job, but watching him do it with such good humor was inspiring. It was just a pisser working with him.

Did you relish the opportunity to kick some ass in this movie?
Absolutely. I read the script and appreciated it, because I loved my role. I just think you’d be crazy to pass up a role that has a sense of humor and gives you the chance to do some ass-kicking.

Us “SVU” fans are still seeking closure with regards to your character. Do you think we’ll see Stabler back on the show at some point?
(laughing) I really have no idea how to answer that. From the beginning I’ve said I’d be more than happy to come back for the last six episodes.

Netflix just announced that David Wain and Michael Showalter are getting the gang back together again for “Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later.” Where do you think your character, Gene, would be 10 years later?
He’d be the CEO of some corporation. Maybe a senator?

That’s a far cry from a cook at a Jewish summer camp!
That’s what those people are made of though. Gene is cut from the same cloth as a good CEO or a senator.

You appeared in “Man of Steel,” but you were sorely missed in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Did you see it?
I could’ve told Zack [Snyder] that, but he wouldn’t have listened to me! Nah, I loved working with Zack on “Man of Steel.” I knew there was only a slim chance of coming back, but I was hoping I’d have survived the end of that film.

Your “Oz” co-star J.K. Simmons is joining you in the DC Universe as the new Commissioner Gordon. Do you think he’ll be better than Gary Oldman?
Yeah. I’ve gotta back J.K. Simmons!

You recently co-starred in Marielle Heller‘s indie gem “Diary of a Teenage Girl.” She’s blowing up now, working with J.J. Abrams on a Paramount movie that will star Daisy Ridley, and directing “The Case Against 8,” which tells the true story of California’s same-sex marriage bill. You famously played one of TV’s earliest gay characters on “Oz” — or at least had a gay love affair on the show — so would you work with her again on that film or another one?
Without a moment’s hesitation. She is a bright, unbelievably talented star. I love her, and I thought “Diary” was profound. I wish it had found its way to an Oscar nomination. The subject matter was handled brilliantly, delicately and insightfully. To bring people into a world — 1970s San Francisco — and pull it off on such a low budget? She’s a genius. I’m a big fan.

Speaking of directing, I know you were developing an adaptation of that David Vann novel “Legend of a Suicide” at one point. Are you still pursuing directing?
I let that pass. That was a difficult one to continue to work on. Right now, I’m not actively pursuing the directing thing, but the desire still resides in me.


August Pullman CHARACTERS CHRISTOPHER MELONI Colonel Hardy Dennis Det. Elliot Stabler FILM Gene I Am Wrath Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Man of Steel Oz Pascal TELEVISION The Diary of a Teenage Girl Underground Wet Hot American Summer

“Wet Hot American Summer” The Film Media
christopher meloni online    August 1, 2015    0 comments

I realized I hadn’t uploaded any of the images I have from Chris’ film WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. I did all the work but never added them. So sorry. Here of course Chris plays the part of Gene, a former Vietnam Vet who is the chief cook at Camp Firewood, and who has conversations with a can of mixed veggies. Says so much of Gene’s character and gives Chris the chance to once again play one of those strange and quirky characters he’s so noted for playing. As for the series, I’m in the process of working on the individual episodes now. Hopefully I’ll have those up by the end of the weekend, if not early in the week. Stay tuned campers.



An amazingly funny clip of Chris from the premiere of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP this Friday on Netflix. This is an irreverent mash up of Chris as Elliot Stabler from LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT‘s seventh season episode Ripped where Elliot handled the case of the beating of a girl by her boyfriend, who ended up by being the son of Stabler’s former partner. Too funny as the part of the “councilor” is Gene’s can of vegetables from the series/film. I’ll be putting up screencaps as soon as I can after the show airs. Stay tuned.

CHARACTERS CHRISTOPHER MELONI Det. Elliot Stabler FILM Gene Law & Order: Special Victims Unit TELEVISION Wet Hot American Summer Wet Hot American Summer First Day of Camp

There is a new trailer for the revival of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER on Netflix where Chris reprises his role of Gene the cook of Camp Firewood. This thing looks absurdly cool. All the original cast is back looking er, um younger. I’m really impressed to see Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler back considering their varied successes. Chris of course looks typically Gene and we love him for it. I’ll have some images to follow in another post.

CHARACTERS FILM Gene TELEVISION Wet Hot American Summer Wet Hot American Summer First Day of Camp

New Article on Chris
christopher meloni online    April 25, 2014    0 comments

Here is a Q&A with Chris and his new show SURVIVING JACK. Here Chris talks about the new show, his character on DINOSAURS, SVU and the icon-status of his OZ character Christopher Keller. I love what he has to say in of course, that inimitable Meloni way. Enjoy. Episode five of SURVIVING JACK to follow.

Christopher Meloni on Surviving Jack, Surviving Dinosaurs, and Why His Oz Character Was Revolutionary

By Rose Maura Lorre

The stone-faced countenance of Christopher Meloni peered out at Law & Order: SVU viewers for 12 years, but he’s known to many not for his intense dramatic glares but for his scene-stealing performances in cult comedies like 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer and 2004’s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (not to mention an appearance on Wonder Showzen as the Cooties Spokesman). Those comedic roles showed that he had a funnier side than what you might expect from watching him on the gritty NBC spinoff and his recurring role on HBO’s brutal Oz. Now both sides of the Meloni persona have mind-melded into his character on his new Thursday night Fox comedy, Surviving Jack. As Jack Dunlevy, an ex-military man turned doctor turned stay-at-home dad, Meloni’s steely gaze is put to use teaching his two teenage kids right from wrong. Vulture recently spoke with the 53-year-old Meloni about his own high school years, David Wain’s genius, and whom he’d nominate for Man of the Year.

I must admit that whenever your name comes up, in my head I always say what I consider to be your full name: “Christopher Meloni is Tony Baloney.”

It’s fun to say and so memorable!
[Laughs.] Yeah. “Anthony Bologna. Hey, who are we kidding? It’s Tony Baloney!”

Surviving Jack takes place in 1991, and around that time, you were doing Dinosaurs.
Wow. That’s a good call. Wow. Yeah, that was cutting-edge.

When you were first going out on auditions, were you being sent out more for comedies or dramas? Were you pigeonholed in one or the other?
Not when I was first being sent out, because they didn’t know where to place me. But I got my first big break in comedy on a sitcom [The Fanelli Boys] and then it took a couple years to let that kind of fall by the wayside, let that image of myself dissipate. And then I just started getting more dramatic stuff: NYPD Blue, Oz. But even then I got cast in Runaway Bride. I did Bound, and I always thought the character I played in that, Johnnie Marzzone — it was a drama, but I thought of him as a buffoonish sort of guy. So to me there was a comedic element to him in that regard.

One of your performances I’ve always loved was as Gene, the sweater-fondling camp chef in Wet Hot American Summer. And you also appear in Michael Showalter and David Wain’s new movie, They Came Together. Clearly those guys see a funny side of you and have found this absurdist, comedic vein for you to work in.
Look, let’s be honest. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just a fact that David Wain and Michael Showalter are MENSA members. I mean, they’re exceedingly intelligent and have great taste and a great eye for comedic genius. You can’t blame other people who don’t see that comedic side of me. Those guys are just superhuman.

It does seem that the through line in the characters you play, whether it’s comedy or drama, is their intensity. You often get these really intense guys to play.
Yeah, that I agree with. I don’t play normal very well, I don’t think, in real life or on-camera. It’s almost as if I disappear or something. It just doesn’t happen.

Doing Surviving Jack, does it wake up certain sitcom acting muscles? Are there certain habits, certain things you’re returning to that you first used when you did The Fanelli Boys?
No, because Surviving Jack is a one-camera show and the Fanellis was a four-camera, live, taped show. So it’s a different beast.

Is there more of a sense of goofiness when you’re on the set of a sitcom and you want to stay loose for the sake of your performance, or when you’re shooting a drama and you want to sort of lighten the mood between takes?
That happens for sure. Doing drama, there seems to be a lot more riotous humor just to relieve the darkness of the material. Now I’m always kind of thinking about the comedy of the scene and where the beats are or where the comedy lives, whether it’s in the words or the behavior or the rhythm or the physicality. And also, I’m starting a new show, so I’m trying to find what the relationships are between me, my wife, my son, my daughter. So it’s actually been a little more serious.

You moved your family across the country to L.A. to take this part. Did that take a lot of convincing from the producers? What was that process like?
We hired a wagon train out of Saint Lou… It took three months, so I was late to the first filming of the show. No, you know, we were actually in the process of moving anyway, so that wasn’t that big of a deal. Things just kind of fell into place.

Anything you miss about New York?
I miss the change of seasons; that’s a no-brainer. What’s upsetting to me is to go back and to see the landscape, the skyline, to see it change without me having seen it. To go back and say, “Oh, oh, what happened? You weren’t allowed to go up without me witnessing it.” It’s very strange to see transformation just hit me without warning.

What’s it like to work with Justin Halpern? What is he like in person that someone who only knows him as the author of Shit My Dad Says might be surprised by?
He’s a lot like my son. There’s a shyness to him but there’s also an openness. He laughs easily. He’s a wonderful collaborator. He knows exactly what he wants, but nothing is set in stone. I just think it’s a very unique and beautiful thing how — without being maudlin about it or mawkish — he is honoring his father and their relationship. I don’t know if I’ve seen that done, doing it with humor and doing it without trying to tug on heartstrings. It’s a sweet relationship that he has with his dad. It’s just unique and nice to be a part of, nice to witness.

On a recent episode of Surviving Jack, you help your son get ready for baseball tryouts. And you were —
Was it funny?

It was funny, yes!
You don’t have to tell me that. You don’t have to tell me that just to make me feel good. You could’ve just said, “Meh.”

No, no! But I was going to say, you were actually the star quarterback at your high school.
Yeah. [Laughs.]

Do you disagree with the “star” assessment?
Look — yeah, I do. I don’t know if “star” fits. I was the quarterback. I was co-captain. It’s what I dedicated my life to in that moment. That’s all I wanted in life. I wanted an undefeated season and I wanted to be captain and those things happened. I focused all of my energies towards that goal and I felt like I bent the spoon. Through mind manipulation, the spoon bent.

Now you’re starting to sound a little bit like Jack.
Ha-ha! Well, I think it’s a little too hocus pocus for Jack. You can think all you want, long and hard, but at the end of the day, when people aren’t looking, press your thumb down on that spoon and bend it yourself.

Do shooting episodes like that bring back memories for you?

When I see all the kids and we shoot these at-school, on-campus scenes, it brings back that stuff. Like, oh my God, all the personalities and all of the tribal rules — spoken, unspoken, written, unwritten. You’re of the same tribe yet you break off into your different little sub-tribes, sub-cliques. It brings back memories in that regard. I spent my career acting with adults and all of a sudden I’m acting with younger actors, either my kids or my kids’ friends. That’s been very … [laughs] interesting, going back to high school now.

Your own kids, meanwhile, are almost as old as your kids on the show.
They’re lagging behind by three years. They still think that what comes out of my mouth is mildly of import, mildly wise. My 13-year-old, that’s beginning to get a little challenging, but that’s the way that goes. I will say it’s odd being on a show that does kind of mirror my own personal life at this juncture. Older daughter, younger son. My daughter thinks she knows more than she really does and my son, he’s a little bit shy and awkward and is a good athlete.

When you play Jack, are you channeling your own dad? Are there any parts of yourself as a parent in there?
Jack, to me, is a third Justin’s dad — whom I haven’t met, but that I’ve kind of downloaded through all these things I’ve seen online and in the book — and a third my dad and a third me and how I interact with my kids. Justin’s dad was that kind of guy who treated everybody the same. It’s like that old expression about Vince Lombardi, one of his players said, “Yeah, Coach treats everybody the same. He treats us all like dogs.” I think that’s the way Jack is. He just looks at each person as an individual. It’s kind of a sweet aspect of his character. He is the guy who — and he’ll never admit it — takes in the stray dogs. Metaphorically speaking.

I also love how Jack’s so clearly in love with his wife. How’s working with Rachael Harris?
I love Rachael Harris. She’s a comedic genius, so fun to play with, brings her own style, her own ideas, which are invaluable and always wanted. She works and plays well with others. And I think that’s one of the most important aspects of the show; it’s not two strong-willed people battling it out to see who’s right or wrong. It’s not everybody rolling their eyes at how inept Jack is now that he’s stay-at-home Mr. Mom. None of that stuff. They’re two people who absolutely love each other, and if anything, Jack needs his wife. He needs his wife in order to operate. I think that Jack would be lost without his wife, and I think that’s kind of an endearing aspect of his character. Because outwardly, he’s the guy who doesn’t need anybody. He’s an ex-military guy; he knows what’s what. But there’s that child within him who needs this — no, I take that back. Not a child, a man who needs the love of his wife and he’s unapologetic about it, as he is in every other aspect of his life.

Even though everyone knows your character from Law & Order: SVU, it seems that your most iconic role to date is Chris Keller on Oz.
I think for the gay community, that was a character that was revolutionary. He wasn’t the closeted, wink-wink gay character or gay sidekick. He wasn’t the effeminate-stereotype gay. This was a guy who was absolutely free with his sexuality, who had this kind of unabashedly here-I-am-motherfucker-what-about-it attitude. I think the gay community was like, “Oh finally, they’re not making us a sissy.” And you know, God bless them, I think my gay fans have kind of stayed with me. Obviously not all of them, everyone moves on, but I still get a lot of love and a lot of fond remembrances.

Do you think there’s been progress made since then, as far as the representations of gay characters and gay culture that are on TV today?
think the biggest impact has been all of these athletes coming out, these active athletes. To me, Michael Sam — I would make him man of the year, personally. To me, it’s a Martin Luther King moment: This is the reality, this is the truth, this is what’s right. That’s all, it’s what’s right. Gay or anything, it’s just pro-what’s right.

What can you tell us about characteu t the play in r yoThey Came Together?
I play the evil CEO of a candy corporation trying to crush Amy Poehler’s tiny little sweets shop.

That’s awesome!
It is awesome.

But you’re not also the one romantically pursuing her? That’s Paul Rudd?
Yeah, which is bullshit, but whatever. They made their choice, they made that bed — they’ll have to lie in it. I saw the film; it really was fantastic. David Wain found a really funny angle and voice. I was watching it going, “Oh my God, he’s the new Mel Brooks.” He’s bringing this absurd homage-farce — because you know, it’s an homage to every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen.

Are there any Runaway Bride references in there?
[Pauses.] Shit, I don’t think so. And you know — goddamn it, I wish I was smarter. I wish I’d brought that up.


CHARACTERS Christopher Keller CHRISTOPHER MELONI Det. Elliot Stabler FILM Freakshow Gene Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanmo Bay Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle Jack Donlevy Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Oz Surviving Jack TELEVISION They Came Together Wet Hot American Summer

“Surviving Jack” Episode Screencaps
christopher meloni online    April 24, 2014    0 comments

I finally have gotten around to capping up Chris’ scenes in his new show SURVIVING JACK. How are you liking it so far? I know I am. He’s playing a lot like a cross between Gene from WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER and a teeny bit of Freakshow from HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE. I can truly say there isn’t a hint of Elliot Stabler about him. That’s how good Chris is though. So here are the first four episodes for you. Enjoy.


CHRISTOPHER MELONI FILM Freakshow Gene Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle Jack Donlevy Surviving Jack Wet Hot American Summer

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