Christopher Meloni plays Brock Connor in coming of age thriller “White Bird In A Blizzard” out this Friday, Oct. 24.
Read our exclusive interview with Christopher below:
Q: What originally drew you to “White Bird in a Blizzard” and how did you become involved with the film?
A: I was attracted by the script. You know I thought Gregg had done a great job structuring this thing that kept my attention from the first page to the last. And then working with Gregg was really very attractive. I’ve been a big fan of his for a very long time. So that was kind of it.
Q: In the film we see your character Brock Connors is incredibly complex. How did you prepare yourself to portray that role?
A: Well, I think number one he was caught in circumstances … in a way living a lie or just being in a place that he has made himself believe is okay and good … We’ve all been there I think. I guess pretending is just kind of going through the motions. So I kind of reflected on that, on how we all make compromises or talk ourselves into being happy, you know that sort of thing. As opposed to deeply examining how we want to live and who we are. And then I think you get into wardrobe, they help you out. And honestly his mustache helped out. So there you go.
Q: Do you have a specific or usual creative process that you follow when developing the characters that you play?
A: Nope … I’ll say this. It’s a very touchy, feely, instinctual process that you then kind of run through the paces which is it’s kind of structured as to you give him a history. So I guess that’s kind of the same. It’s the basic litany of where he’s from, what he does, who he knows, how he grew up, how he feels about certain things, you know how he votes, you kind of run down a list of questions to give him a back story and history. And that all of a sudden brings up more questions which require more answers. And then you get down to the circumstances. What are his circumstances and how does he feel about them? That sort of thing.
Q: Throughout your career you have portrayed a variety of characters. How is Brock Connors unique from the other roles you have played?
A: I’m not quite sure I have met someone so strong engaged or such an expert at denial … I guess that’s just it, just so friendly with denial, so comfortable, and willing to put up with so much just for the sake of he doesn’t want change, he doesn’t want anything – he’s made a decision and he’s convinced himself he’s happy with his life and he won’t budge from it.
Q: Would you say this is one of the more challenging roles that you have played in your career?
A: I think so only because in the script he’s not given any tools to dig his way out. So you would think that his journey is muted but, it is until that moment when it’s not, until he’s no longer a mute and he does confront the situation, which is really kind of explosive.
Q: What was your biggest challenge or greatest reward in working on this film?
A: Well the challenges have already been done. I guess the challenge was just to commit to what I wanted to portray. To commit fully and honestly and truthfully to what I wanted to put up there on the screen. That I’m very proud of – the greatest reward is that I think Gregg did a fantastic job and I’m just so pleased to be a part of it.
Q: Can you describe your experience working with Gregg Araki?
A: Working with Gregg was fantastic. I’m a big fan and I was before I worked with him. Having worked with him it was nice too, it felt like I was in good hands. I felt that, you feel very secure when the director has a very clear vision without being dictatorial, but just sort of clear about how he sees the story. You know, he shared with you the vision through his actions and his vision of the story. Also it was cool. It makes you feel – it gives you a sense of freedom, you can just do what you want. Through a collaborative process you’ll get to where everyone is comfortable.
Q: What was it like working with Shailene Woodley?
A: I’ll say for me that I was in character … Number one working with Shailene was great. She was very open, very moment to moment, it was a lovely and loving experience because that’s also who and what she is. It was also hard for me because I found inability to connect deeply I guess. I guess that residue was always there only because that’s how Brock kind of can gage the world.
Q: What was it like working with Eva Green?
A: That was awesome. You know, it was like trying to hug a radioactive porcupine. Her character was so volatile and unpredictable, that was just so much fun to be a part of. And Eva Green just as a fellow professional was just you couldn’t ask for a better person to be dancing with. She was lovely.
Q: What do you love about being part of independent films as an actor.
A: Well it’s like being on a high wire without a net. Everyone is there for the passion of the project because there’s not a lot of money involved and money isn’t a put up and there’s no guarantees that anyone will pick up the film, there’s no guarantees that it will turn out great. It’s a very alive atmosphere because there is a lot riding on the project and everyone just really feels so deeply connected to the project and they sign on through their passion. So it’s exciting.
Q: What do you hope audiences take away from “White Bird in a Blizzard”?
A: I hope they have the experience of, number one, wow, that was something very unique. They see it as an intelligent examination of what happens in the underbelly of suburbia, you know, dark, mysterious tales / thrillers / coming of age. And I hope they just enjoy the ride.
Photo Credit: FIJI Water and Physicians Formula presented the Los Angeles premiere of Magnolia Pictures’ WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD.
Matt Sayles / AP Invision