Meloni Moves To A New Precinct
Voicing Hal Jordan In Green Lantern:
With breakouts performances on Law & Order: Special
Victims Unit and HBO’s OZ, Christopher Meloni has effectively
played both side of the law. But he’s taking his next
legal procedure in an altogether new direction.
want my own ring."
provides the voice of Hal Jordan, the alter ego of the title
character in Green Lantern: First Flight, the next DC Universe
animated original PG-13 movie coming to DVD on July 28,
his first-ever voiceover for animation, Meloni leads a stellar
cast that includes Victor Garber, Trifica Helfer and Michael
Madsen. Green Lantern: First Flight filled to capacity it
4,250-seat World Premiere at Comic-Con International on
Thursday, July 23, forcing an encore presentation for an
additional 900 fans on Sunday, July 26.
Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to
release the all-new Green Lantern: First Flight this Tuesday
in a Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def edition, a special edition 2-disc
DVD, and a single disc DVD. Warner Home Video will distribute
the action-packed movie, which will also be available OnDemand
and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download day and
date, July 28, 2009.
began his career in sitcoms, playing the ex-con quarterback
Johnny Gunn in HBO’s 1st & Ten and then as a member
of NBC’s The Fanelli Boys. He also supplied the voice
of Spike in Dinosaurs. Meloni’s film credits include
roles in Clean Slate with Dana Carvey, Junior with Arnold
Schwarzenegger, and Twelve Monkeys with Bruce Willis and
Brad Pitt. It was seemingly a recurring role on NYPD Blue
that finally steered him down the dramatic TV path.
Meloni frequently dips into the lighter fair, stealing the
spotlight as Freakshow in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
and as the go-get-‘em football coach/prospective groom
in Garry Marshall’s Runaway Bride.
Lantern: First Flight takes the best of Meloni’s prior
performances – dramatic and comedic – and allows
the actor to play to his strengths. In this Q&A with
the actor, Meloni discusses Victor Garber’s acting,
Alan Burnett’s writing, Clark Gable’s philosophy,
and his personal pride in bringing Green Lantern into the
spotlight. Read on …
MIEREANU: How did you approach this the
role of Hal Jordan?
MELONI: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite
certain about Green Lantern. I just didn’t know what
his shtick was. But I was onboard just to play a super hero.
The script was so great, I had to do it. I didn’t
really want to play him too heroic, because he’s a
human caught in a different world.
gave me a lot of great snappy lines to play off, so I thought
it was just kind of easy and normal, then every once in
a while they gave me that kind of heroic line that you had
to summon up from your belly. But for the most part, I just
kind of kept it real. (he laughs) Yeah, I kept
the Green Lantern “real.”
MIEREANU: You’ve played a very wide
range of characters. How does Hal compare to any of the
characters that you’ve played previously?
MELONI: I think he’s having a whole lot more
fun than any character I’ve ever played, zipping around
wherever he needs to go, having all these powers. It’s
a different universe, different challenges, so how could
you compare Hal to my other characters? Can I put Freakshow
in an intergalactic battle for policing the universe? I
don’t think so. Maybe Hal is the intergalactic Elliot
Stabler. Are there sex crimes in outer space? Tune in.
around wherever he needs to go.."
the only hero I’ve ever played is kind of Elliot Stabler
and Elliot is flawed in a different way. Hal has his flaws
– he’s more fun-loving and cocksure of himself
and those qualities, you’ll find, are what makes him
all too human.
MIEREANU: What attracted you to this character
and why did you want to accept this role?
MELONI: I enjoy exploring my own prejudices and
one of the benign ones is that I’m not familiar with
(Green Lantern), he’s kind of a next-tier
guy. Green Lantern isn’t Superman or Batman, but he’s
cool, and that intrigued me. I wanted to help elevate him,
I wanted this guy to have his own movie. I’m sure
you’ve got enough of Batman, Spider-Man and Superman
– now it’s Green Lantern’s turn in the
spotlight. He’s gotten a little dissed. He hasn’t
gotten the respect he deserves. I’m going to change
MIEREANU: Once you got the role, did you
get feedback from anyone that might have influenced your
approach to the role?
MELONI: Actually, this was pretty great –
I had a rock and roll friend and his wife staying with me.
He’s a pretty hardcore, heavy metal guy. They were
there when I got the news that I’d gotten the gig
of the Green Lantern and I was really pumped. They’re
both Green Lantern fans, so they were double pumped –
and so that got me even more excited. They gave me a crash
course education on Green Lanternism, and it became kind
of a general enthusiasm feedfest.
MIEREANU: So you wowed your friends. What
about your children?
a four- and seven-year-old and being a super hero,
that's pretty impressive."
MELONI: Any opportunity I get to impress my children
is always huge. They’re a little young but, I did
bring the illustration back home and it already has “Daddy”
written on it, so they’re making the connection. Having
a four- and seven-year-old and being a super hero, that’s
pretty impressive. They were a big part of the decision
on why I took the job.
MIEREANU: What appealed to you most about
Alan Burnett’s script?
MELONI: What most impressed me was how quickly
the script moved, how far it delved, the quickness with
which it got into the story and didn’t get bogged
down with the (back story). There was a clear thread
in the story of a human, how he got the ring, is introduced
to the characters, and brought into the universe; how he’s
not accepted, then taken deeper into his new role in life,
and the challenges that arise, the betrayals, etc.
kept moving and it was very adult in that it didn’t
pander, it didn’t try and explain stuff, it just kept
pushing the story forward. That’s what a page-turner
is supposed to do – to keep you going, keep you engaged,
so you don’t want to stop or slow down. That was the
most impressive thing to me – the economy with which
they told the story.
MIEREANU: Did you stick to the script
or was there leeway for improvising in your interpretation
of the character?
MELONI: There was a certain amount of freedom and
I hope I did him justice. Mostly, though, I just relied
on the writers’ interpretation, because it was a great
script. They gave me a lot of smart-alecky retorts and Hal
didn’t have to go through a real long journey of self-doubt,
so that was cool. So everything was kind of on the page
is rare, but I was pleasantly surprised that I felt as though
the writer really had an affinity for this guy, he had a
love for this guy and really wanted to tell this guy’s
story. As an actor, you hook into that spirit and so that
made it very easy and a lot of fun.
MIEREANU: This is a relatively new form
of acting for you. Did you encounter any difficulties in
MELONI: The most difficult part of the voice over
process was that they actually had Sinestro in the booth
with me – he’s played by Victor Garber, and
he’s not a very good actor (he laughs), so
that was tough for me to work off of (laughs harder).
But I did the best I could. No, really, I love Victor, and
he is amazing.
the most difficult thing was when the director was reading
all the actions, where this happens and that happens, and
then there’s an explosion and you’re hurtling
through the air and then you grab onto someone and you save
them, and you’re line is “I gotcha.” That’s
45 seconds of action all I got was “I gotcha!”?
admit it – while I was performing the lines, I did
have a tendency to stand with my chest out, hand-on-hip,
heroic-style. You know, the way they used to draw the super
heroes all the time. I assumed the stance.
it is fun. And it’s a great exercise for your instrument
– your emotional instrument, your vocal instrument,
and your imagination, I mean, it’s like you’re
a child – you get to have your imaginary play-friends
all over again. I know it opened up for me certain things
creatively. So just to be involved with anything creative
that I’m not usually exposed to is always good.
MIEREANU: Green Lantern is your first
voiceover for animation, but you did supply the voice of
Spike in Dinosaurs. How did the two experiences differ?
MELONI: For the “Dinosaurs” role, they
would shoot the show and there were actors in costumes,
so it was more like looping a scene. I had to loop my lips
to what the puppeteer was doing with the dinosaur. For Green
Lantern, the animators have to follow my lead. It’s
so exciting and so rare that you’re the leader of
the parade as an actor. I had my little baton (laughs)
and I’m sitting there going like that (waves arms,
conductor style), everyone has to follow my rhythm,
my beat. It’s not usually that way.
MIEREANU: As heroic as you played Hal
Jordan, how villainous was Victor Garber’s Sinestro?
has a velvety, baritone voice in projecting evil
MELONI: Victor met the perception of Sinestro with
aplomb. Victor has a velvety, baritone voice in projecting
evil – I really enjoyed it. I thought he came to play
and I tried to match up as superhero-y as I could.
has these long monologues and he really pulled it off. What
can you say? He’s a longwinded bad guy and he did
it great. I was a little jealous, because I wanted to be
the longwinded good guy. But instead I’m kind of the
short, snappy, one-liner good guy.
MIEREANU: Do you think your personality
and Hal Jordan’s mesh well?
MELONI: Any time I’m given a role, I always
ask, “Why? What did they see in me?” And I still
haven’t answered that question, but I think “kind
of smart-alecky” might fit the bill. I don’t
know if it’s a compliment or not, all I can tell you
is it’s a job for me. It goes all the way back to
Mrs. Evans, my second grade teacher. She was wrong. Being
a smart aleck can get you a living.
school, I was the kid who always sat in the back of the
class, shooting spitballs and doing humorous things. I look
at it now as that I was just working my craft, trying to
gauge the audience, seeing where I’d lose ‘em
if I went too far. You know, measuring the spectrum of funny
or acceptable. The teachers didn’t really understand
that, but I worked my craft hard, I paid my dues, having
to stay after school or having parental visits or being
suspended. And look where it’s gotten me.
MIEREANU: Did you expect to be so physical
during the voiceover performance?
MELONI: You kind of have to be physical –
you have to use everything because the process is not just
words on a paper. You read it and that gets projected out.
Literally, this universe you’re constructing comes
out of your voice – so you really have to place yourself
there and understand this place and be comfortable with
this place. You have to make it real and grounded. You have
to make sure that your voice is not just disembodied, that
the voice is connected to the body – which then is
connected to the place that you’ve built for yourself
up here (points to head). That’s both kind
of exhausting and kind of cool.
toughest thing about the whole process was anytime we’d
take a break, it would take me five minutes to get back
into the imagination land. I didn’t realize how deeply
in imagination land I was until I broke out for a water
or bathroom break, or just to rest my voice. So that was
MIEREANU: What is the big enticement to
do voice over work for you?
MELONI: I think it was Clark Gable that said “I
act for free. I get paid to wait.” That’s how
I feel about acting. It’s an awesome job, and waiting
stinks. You do voiceover, and it’s like I told Victor:
“You and me, we’re the lead Clydesdales pulling
this beer wagon.” Just you and the microphone and
the great words that they wrote. No waiting, just acting.
MIEREANU: Are you a fan of the whole comic
MELONI: I love the storytelling. I love the art
of the storybook. I think The Matrix was the first
time I saw very clearly the influence of comic book storytelling.
I literally saw the storyboard, how the shots were set up
as a comic book, and that to me was really cool –that
combination of kung fu cinema and comic books.
MIEREANU: Do you have a preference in
the type of role you accept?
MELONI: I like to do whatever I’m not doing.
I haven’t been a super hero lately, so that was near
the top of the list. But ultimately, whatever I’m
not doing, that’s where I’d like to be. It’s
a very pleasant grass is always greener on the other side
a sweet person is the toughest. I think to play the bad
guy is, hands down, a thousand times easier, because the
spectrum of acceptable behavior is wide. You can pick from
anything you want. But if you’re the hero, your spectrum
is here (holds his hands at shoulder width). You
can’t be too much of a scumbag or people aren’t
going to follow you. You are kind of the emotional tether
to the people, but within that spectrum, and it’s
tough to make a character like that interesting. How do
you make a him a real, flawed, warts-and-all guy? Well,
that’s basically what the human is. That’s your
acting challenge – to make them interesting in that
MIEREANU: Did you do anything special
to prepare to make Hal Jordan interesting?
Jordan was Mac Daddy."
MELONI: I didn’t wear underwear to the recording,
and I thought that would make him interesting. Actually,
I’m not wearing underwear now.
MIEREANU: Did having an illustration of
Green Lantern have any influence on your performance?
MELONI: Seeing the picture was a big help. As simple
as this may sound, I enjoyed the artist’s vision for
who Hal Jordan is. I felt like it was kind of coming into
me – the artist’s vibe for who he saw this guy
to be, and that made it very cool.
way, I really liked the illustrator’s work (Jose
Lopez). Hal Jordan was Mac Daddy, ready to roll. Nobody
wants a normal super hero – you want a buffed out
guy like this. Look at Batman – he’s a normal
kind of guy, and then he gets in a suit that the muscles
are already carved out for him. Hal Jordan is a test pilot
– pop him in a green leotard and he looks good.
love to get a hand-drawn illustration of the Green Lantern
– signed, of course. And I want my own ring, too.
to Gary and Christopher for taking the time to do this interview.
Keep checking back in with us at Fanboy Planet for updates!
Green Lantern: First Flight, an all-new DC Universe animated
original movie, is set for distribution July 28, 2009 by
Warner Home Video.
more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s
official website at www.greenlanternmovie.com.
LANTERN © Warner Bros. Ent Inc. "GREEN LANTERN"
and all related characters and elements are trademarks of
and © DC Comics. © Warner Bros. Entertainment
Inc. All Rights Reserved.