Christopher Meloni on Not Playing Lex Luthor in ‘Man of Steel’, Almost Shooting a Stuntman, and ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ Sequel


christopher-meloni-man-of-steelSo the rumors were not true: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and True Blood star Christopher Meloni did not play Lex Luthor in Man of Steel in what fans speculated to be a closely-guarded secret.  Instead, Meloni played Colonel Nathan Hardy, one of the many American soldiers faced with dealing with a battle of super-beings. 

In an interview with New York magazine, Meloni reveals that though he didn’t play Superman’s arch-villain, he did almost kill someone on set.

First, Meloni admits that while he was disappointed not to be cast with someone with the fictional stature as Lex Luthor, he enjoyed the role he was in.  He explains, “You want to be recognized as a franchise name, but Colonel Nathan Hardy, I enjoyed his arc. I thought it was an important arc. And when they told me he was named after a Navy SEAL who had lost his life in combat, I was really honored and I felt kind of a sense of importance and duty or something to approach it respectfully. It really added a sense of gravitas to what I was doing, because I felt like I was carrying along a real person. And the Air Force gave me all the information, if my character was what he was, where he was, what his educational trajectory would have been, what he would have accomplished, so that helped. And I researched my guy, because they were using his name out of a sense of respect, to honor him in a small way.”

However, during the intense training for his role Meloni reveals that things almost got deadly, saying, “We did some weapons training — shooting guns, making transitions from one weapon to another. I just had to make sure I didn’t shoot my stunt guy that was sitting next to me — which I almost did. I pulled out the weapon one time, and it went off. It was loaded with blanks and exploded out, and it put a hole in the seat. They were cheap seats, come on!”

Of course, though Meloni is best known for his television roles he will also always be remembered for his role as the Vietnam veteran camp chef Gene in the cult classic comedy Wet Hot American Summer.  He recently worked again with Wet Hot American Summer writer/director David Wain, who teased Meloni about making a sequel.  Would Meloni be interested in that?  He reveals, “I think I suffer from the grass is always greener, so if I’m doing drama for a bit, I look over at the field of comedy and say, ‘Gosh, just look at them having so much fun over there, just playing around.’ I got to do some outrageously stupid things that are always a pleasure to do. It’s great to have the license to be stupid, publicly. But then you’re doing that, and you look over at the drama people doing this cool, important, intense work, and you say, ‘I want to do that.'”

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