as Title Character in Green Lantern: First Flight
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star leads Stellar Voice Cast for DC Universe film;
World Premiere draws over 5,000 at Comic-Con; DVD release slated for July 28
Meloni 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, 2009.
In 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.
Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to release the all-new Green Lantern: First Flight this Tuesday in a Blu-Rayô 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.
Meloni began his career in sitcoms, playing the ex-con quarterback Johnny Gunn in HBOís 1st & Ten and then as a member of NBCís The Fanelli Boys. He also supplied the voice of Spike in Dinosaurs. Meloniís 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.
Still, 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-Ďem football coach/prospective groom in Garry Marshallís Runaway Bride.
Green Lantern: First Flight takes the best of Meloniís prior performances Ė dramatic and comedic Ė and allows the actor to play to his strengths. In this Q&A with the actor, Meloni discusses Victor Garberís acting, Alan Burnettís writing, Clark Gableís philosophy, and his personal pride in bringing Green Lantern into the spotlight. Read on Ö
QUESTION: How did you approach this the role of Hal Jordan?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: Iíll be honest, I wasnít quite certain about Green Lantern. I just didnít 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 didnít really want to play him too heroic, because heís a human caught in a different world. They 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 ďreal.Ē
QUESTION: Youíve played a very wide range of characters. How does Hal compare to any of the characters that youíve played previously?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: I think heís having a whole lot more fun than any character Iíve ever played, zipping around wherever he needs to go, having all these powers. Itís 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 donít think so. Maybe Hal is the intergalactic Elliot Stabler. Are there sex crimes in outer space? Tune in.
I think the only hero Iíve ever played is kind of Elliot Stabler and Elliot is flawed in a different way. Hal has his flaws Ė heís more fun-loving and cocksure of himself and those qualities, youíll find, are what makes him all too human.
QUESTION: What attracted you to this character and why did you want to accept this role?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: I enjoy exploring my own prejudices and one of the benign ones is that Iím not familiar with (Green Lantern), heís kind of a next-tier guy. Green Lantern isnít Superman or Batman, but heís cool, and that intrigued me. I wanted to help elevate him, I wanted this guy to have his own movie. Iím sure youíve got enough of Batman, Spider-Man and Superman Ė now itís Green Lanternís turn in the spotlight. Heís gotten a little dissed. He hasnít gotten the respect he deserves. Iím going to change that.
QUESTION: Once you got the role, did you get feedback from anyone that might have influenced your approach to the role?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: Actually, this was pretty great Ė I had a rock and roll friend and his wife staying with me. Heís a pretty hardcore, heavy metal guy. They were there when I got the news that Iíd gotten the gig of the Green Lantern and I was really pumped. Theyíre both Green Lantern fans, so they were double pumped Ė 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.
QUESTION: So you wowed your friends. What about your children?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: Any opportunity I get to impress my children is always huge. Theyíre a little young but, I did bring the illustration back home and it already has ďDaddyĒ written on it, so theyíre making the connection. Having a four- and seven-year-old and being a super hero, thatís pretty impressive. They were a big part of the decision on why I took the job.
QUESTION: What appealed to you most about Alan Burnettís script?
CHRISTOPHER 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 didnít 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 heís not accepted, then taken deeper into his new role in life, and the challenges that arise, the betrayals, etc. It just kept moving and it was very adult in that it didnít pander, it didnít try and explain stuff, it just kept pushing the story forward. Thatís what a page-turner is supposed to do Ė to keep you going, keep you engaged, so you donít want to stop or slow down. That was the most impressive thing to me Ė the economy with which they told the story.
QUESTION: Did you stick to the script or was there leeway for improvising in your interpretation of the character?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: There was a certain amount of freedom and I hope I did him justice. Mostly, though, I just relied on the writersí interpretation, because it was a great script. They gave me a lot of smart-alecky retorts and Hal didnít have to go through a real long journey of self-doubt, so that was cool. So everything was kind of on the page for me.
This 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 guyís story. As an actor, you hook into that spirit and so that made it very easy and a lot of fun.
QUESTION: This is a relatively new form of acting for you. Did you encounter any difficulties in the process?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: The most difficult part of the voice over process was that they actually had Sinestro in the booth with me Ė heís played by Victor Garber, and heís 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.
Really, the most difficult thing was when the director was reading all the actions, where this happens and that happens, and then thereís an explosion and youíre hurtling through the air and then you grab onto someone and you save them, and youíre line is ďI gotcha.Ē Thatís 45 seconds of action all I got was ďI gotcha!Ē?
Iíll admit it Ė 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.
But it is fun. And itís a great exercise for your instrument Ė your emotional instrument, your vocal instrument, and your imagination, I mean, itís like youíre a child Ė 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 Iím not usually exposed to is always good.
QUESTION: Green Lantern is your first voiceover for animation, but you did supply the voice of Spike in Dinosaurs. How did the two experiences differ?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: For the ďDinosaursĒ 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. Itís so exciting and so rare that youíre the leader of the parade as an actor. I had my little baton (laughs) and Iím sitting there going like that (waves arms, conductor style), everyone has to follow my rhythm, my beat. Itís not usually that way.
QUESTION: As heroic as you played Hal Jordan, how villainous was Victor Garberís Sinestro?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: Victor met the perception of Sinestro with aplomb. Victor has a velvety, baritone voice in projecting evil Ė I really enjoyed it. I thought he came to play and I tried to match up as superhero-y as I could.
Victor has these long monologues and he really pulled it off. What can you say? Heís 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 Iím kind of the short, snappy, one-liner good guy.
QUESTION: Do you think your personality and Hal Jordanís mesh well?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: Any time Iím given a role, I always ask, ďWhy? What did they see in me?Ē And I still havenít answered that question, but I think ďkind of smart-aleckyĒ might fit the bill. I donít know if itís a compliment or not, all I can tell you is itís 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.
In elementary 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 Iíd lose Ďem if I went too far. You know, measuring the spectrum of funny or acceptable. The teachers didnít 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 itís gotten me.
QUESTION: Did you expect to be so physical during the voiceover performance?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: You kind of have to be physical Ė 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 youíre constructing comes out of your voice Ė 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 Ė which then is connected to the place that youíve built for yourself up here (points to head). Thatís both kind of exhausting and kind of cool.
The toughest thing about the whole process was anytime weíd take a break, it would take me five minutes to get back into the imagination land. I didnít 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 interesting.
combination of kung fu cinema and comic books.
QUESTION: What is the big enticement to do voice over work for you?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: I think it was Clark Gable that said ďI act for free. I get paid to wait.Ē Thatís how I feel about acting. Itís an awesome job, and waiting stinks. You do voiceover, and itís like I told Victor: ďYou and me, weíre the lead Clydesdales pulling this beer wagon.Ē Just you and the microphone and the great words that they wrote. No waiting, just acting. Itís great.
QUESTION: Are you a fan of the whole comic book genre?
CHRISTOPHER 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 Ėthat
QUESTION: Do you have a preference in the type of role you accept?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: I like to do whatever Iím not doing. I havenít been a super hero lately, so that was near the top of the list. But ultimately, whatever Iím not doing, thatís where Iíd like to be. Itís a very pleasant grass is always greener on the other side thing.
Playing 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 youíre the hero, your spectrum is here (holds his hands at shoulder width). You canít be too much of a scumbag or people arenít going to follow you. You are kind of the emotional tether to the people, but within that spectrum, and itís tough to make a character like that interesting. How do you make a him a real, flawed, warts-and-all guy? Well, thatís basically what the human is. Thatís your acting challenge Ė to make them interesting in that place.
QUESTION: Did you do anything special to prepare to make Hal Jordan interesting?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: I didnít wear underwear to the recording, and I thought that would make him interesting. Actually, Iím not wearing underwear now.
QUESTION: Did having an illustration of Green Lantern have any influence on your performance?
CHRISTOPHER MELONI: Seeing the picture was a big help. As simple as this may sound, I enjoyed the artistís vision for who Hal Jordan is. I felt like it was kind of coming into me Ė the artistís vibe for who he saw this guy to be, and that made it very cool.
By the way, I really liked the illustratorís work (Jose Lopez). Hal Jordan was Mac Daddy, ready to roll. Nobody wants a normal super hero Ė you want a buffed out guy like this. Look at Batman Ė heís 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 Ė pop him in a green leotard and he looks good. Iíd love to get a hand-drawn illustration of the Green Lantern Ė signed, of course. And I want my own ring, too.
For more information, images and updates, please visit the filmís official website at www.greenlanternmovie.com
Suggested captions for attached images:
Christopher Meloni provides the voice of the title character in the next DC Universe animated original movie, Green Lantern: First Flight, which is set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video.
Green Lantern summons the strength of his power ring to battle villainous forces in Green Lantern: First Flight, an all-new DC Universe animated original movie set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video. Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU) provides the voice of Hal Jordan, aka the Green Lantern.
When the ring moves from Abin Sur to its chosen target, Hal Jordan is changed from human to super hero as the title character in Green Lantern: First Flight, an all-new DC Universe animated original movie set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video. Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU) provides the voice of Hal Jordan, aka the Green Lantern.
sin gl 5.jpg
Novice Green Lantern Hal Jordan is placed under the guidance of veteran Sinestro (right) for training in Green Lantern: First Flight, an all-new DC Universe animated original movie set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video. Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU) provides the voice of Hal Jordan, aka the Green Lantern, opposite Victor Garberís perfomance as Sinestro.
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