DAVIES: Christopher Meloni stars in the series "Happy! I walked away from that experience very glad, you know, to have this opportunity 'cause it wasn't lost on me. Even though I hadn't seen what the others had done, I just - I walked out of that room going, wow, that was it. Meloni now stars in a one-of-a-kind series called "Happy!" And I wanted to go undefeated. That was always - that would always be my - you know, I had to be the defender of my character. But what I didn't know was after I broke her heart, would she still love me? DAVIES: And a sociopathic streak, fair to say. And I actually thought to myself, my God, I'm pretty good at this. I know that you played football in high school. And that's because my head went left, right, left, right. Coming up, writer Jeff Benedict talks about the rise, fall and resurrection of Tiger Woods' career. DAVIES: OK. You know, you were talking about how some of the plotlines that the writers came up with were really disturbing in "SVU." OSWALT: (As Happy) You mean Mickey and Pluto? They can only hold the man for 24 hours, but are able to glean … When I met her, she was all alone and very unhappy, so I knew it'd be easy get her to fall in love with me. So yeah. I could do anything I wanted to. MELONI: (Laughter) My mother never watched. Use the HTML below. MELONI: I started SVU as a, you know, sometimes very-employed actor but always, you know, a journeyman-type actor.

So (laughter) you know, I was - you know, through the second season, I was hobbling about a bit, you know. There's less oomph, you know, of me going, sir, we're going to have to go down and talk - commercial break - as opposed to, you, come here. But at the time, I was really - I was fascinated by it. There were six actors. MATTHEW MODINE: (As Gordon Rickett) (Laughter) I've done nothing.

How did you prepare for this role about prison life and this guy who's a long way from who you are, I'm sure? MELONI: I'll never forget that. DAVIES: But so this was something that you kind of felt you needed to do? I mean, you had to support yourself in New York. It's not your style. Well, if you can do that, so can I. I asked him for the number.

We'll end this half of the show with a song featured in Christopher Meloni's series, "Happy!"

I think I really have scratched that itch or fed that beast. That defined me. The floor was cement. I'm Dave Davies, and this is FRESH AIR. I - (laughter) well, I - you know something? But, you know, if anything, I'm the worst bouncer to have because I'm 6 feet, about 200. DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR, and we're speaking with actor Christopher Meloni. Title: And I built a family. Let's put it this way. They're just going through motions, pushing people to and fro from one cell to another. - performed by Ann-Margret and Patton Oswalt. Let's listen. So I didn't major in it. Too animal, too crazed, whatever. Well, while you were still doing "Law & Order," you had this role in "Oz," the HBO series about prison life... DAVIES: ...Where you played Chris Keller, who is - well, why don't you describe him? I hit a show that meant something, was well-written, was well-received. You don't need to cuff him and throw him in the wagon? And you're working on your craft in the classes, and then you're going to auditions, right? Every aspect was there. DAVIES: (Laughter) I think I heard you say a moment ago that you saw this as one of your last rides in this kind of big, physical role. You don't see anything? We tested for the role together. And I just didn't think that I could ask him to pay for my college tuition so I could take costuming and makeup and all that. And so they'd have us arresting someone where you're like - handcuffing and arresting someone. OSWALT: (As Happy, singing) Wipe off that full-of-doubt look. DAVIES: You know, for most guys, like, their lives would be all downhill after that. You're just imagining it? - 12 seasons there. This FAQ is empty. Choose an adventure below and discover your next favorite movie or TV show. I'd seen that before, and I just thought - I was like, you know, this is one of my last rides doing, you know, a extremely physical, outlandish kind of thing. I'd played on defense. But, you know - so in the interim I just worked on other projects. You were doing "Oz," the prison show, and "Law & Order" at the same time. Do you miss it - sex? By far...one of the most intense, fascinating looks into the mind of a psychopathic, child abuser / murderer. Just thought that - I just... MELONI: (As Nick Sax) Ah, just a crazy idea. DAVIES: Right. Looking for something to watch? And this continues for nine months. I would walk around going, my - you know, how many actors get to be not on one but two really great shows to do at once? It makes us look stupid.

MORENO: (As Sister Peter Marie Reimondo) I just want to get to the heart of why you did what you did to Beecher. ", which airs Wednesday nights at 10.

I went home, promptly went back to a construction site 'cause that's the only job - basically the only job I'd ever had through high school and college. Tell me how good you are at torturing children. DAVIES: So you were, you know, working as a bouncer and other jobs. And you're meeting to the prison counselor played by Rita Moreno, who wants to talk about this and about you. MELONI: (As Nick Sax) F*** miss - wouldn't Ms. Palm want you to help me get guns and money so we could go get Hailey? And I think the guys would feel intimidated or something, but the... MELONI: Yeah, restrained. You got me to open up and spill my guts all over your table. And in this case, you have attacked him and broken his arms and legs. Were there members of your family that you wouldn't want to watch it? And I'm wondering kind of how you got that side of his character. And if you're trying to please them, it's just like any relationship - you're toast. And all of a sudden, I had a home. But I definitely walked away from that always not quite sure that I did the - my best work. MELONI: (As Nick Sax) You're right. Oh, you think you're tough? The bars obviously were very hard. You're a young man. And once you do that - once you're able to do that, all of a sudden, you go into auditions feeling more empowered, and you walk out being far more satisfied and empowered.



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