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Exclusive Interview with Wayward Pines’ Christopher Meyer

2016_03_14_Chris_Meyer_0273Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, Christopher Meyer was 10 years old when he got the acting bug.  Shortly after graduating from Bak Middle School of the Arts, he landed his first paid acting gig on “General Hospital” and felt like he was on top of the world.  Christopher hasn’t had a chance to stop since!  This talented actor had not one, but two films (Kicks and Wolves) premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring.

Kicks was directed and written by Justin Tipping (also written by Joshua Beirne-Golden), the story focuses on the friendship, adventures and misadventures of a group of teenagers after they go on a mission to retrieve their friend’s hard-earned kicks after they are stolen by a local thug. Christopher plays one of the main lead characters ‘Rico’ alongside his cast mates Jahking Guillory and Christopher Jordan Wallace.  The coming of age film has a hip-hop classics soundtrack in keeping with its urban feel.

Following the premiere of Kicks, the powerful drama directed and written by Bart Freundlich Wolves was screened in the Spotlight series at Tribeca.  The film centers on the star of NYC high school’s basketball team, Anthony Keller (Taylor John Smith), who is riding his way to Cornell on a sports scholarship.  Meyer has a strong supporting role playing ‘Hakim’ a.k.a. Hakim the dream, the captain of the basketball team who embodies the voice and spirit of the team and also provides some levity to the film, which stars Carla Gugino and Chris Bauer.

TV audiences can soon see Christopher Meyer in the Wednesday, May 25, 2016, season two premiere of Fox’s hit mid-season series “Wayward Pines”.  This psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan is based on the best-selling novels by Blake Crouch about secret service agents who go missing in Idaho.  In the series, Christopher plays one of the lead characters ‘Mario,’ a 20-year-old bulked up and self-important captain of the military’s quadrant in command. Mario is a man who follows orders… a tough guy who doesn’t ask questions and who doesn’t answer them either.  Starring as the lead of the second season is veteran actor Jason Patric as ‘Dr. Theo Yedlin’ and returning from last season is Terrence Howard, Oscar winner Melissa Leo, and Carla Gugino and new to the cast this season is actor Djimon Hounsou.

In addition to his show on Fox and two films (we told you this guy was busy!) Christopher can also be seen recurring on the hit CBS crime drama, “NCIS: New Orleans” where he plays ‘Danny Malloy,’ a foster kid that, after his parents are murdered, is taken under the wing of CCH Pounder so that he can stay and protect his younger brother.

TNWU was lucky to be able to catch up with Christopher so we could check in and see how he’s been

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions!  We know you’ve been working almost non-stop.  You’ve accomplished quite a bit in your career to this point, do you have any plans to take a vacation?  It is certainly well deserved!

(laughs) I recently had some time off and went to Miami with my mom to enjoy some sunshine. 

Nice! You recently had not one, but two films premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival! Congratulations, that’s a wonderful achievement.  What were you thinking as you walked the carpet into those two films?  Were you nervous at all?

Thank you, I appreciate that for real.  It wasn’t that I was nervous on the carpet, just kind of excited to see the effect these movies had on the audience if anything, that’s where my nerves kicked in. 

The films cover different topics with Kicks being a quest type of drama mixed with comedy and Wolves more of a family conflict type of drama with both sharing the theme of ‘coming of age’.  Did you prepare differently for each of these roles? 

Yeah, definitely.  For my character ‘Rico,’ in Kicks it was all about the environment.  I stayed in Richmond for a month and a half so I got to see what life was like out there.

For Wolves, I play the captain of the basketball team ‘Hakim’ and the film is all about basketball so I was at every practice they scheduled.  On my own time I would play ball with my family, since I was lucky enough to be filming back home in Brooklyn. 

Are there similarities between Rico and Hakim?  Differences?

Oh yes, Rico and Hakim are pretty much the same people but in different circumstances.  They both love the ladies, are used to being popular, have good friends around them and love to be the class clown (laughs).  The difference is that Rico is from the hood where you have to work for everything, nothing is handed to you, and even when you do work hard, things aren’t guaranteed. 

Hakim is on the opposite end, he comes from a good family who is well off, they have him enrolled in a private school, and opportunities are everywhere. 

That is quite a socioeconomic difference. What was the feeling on each set?  Were you able to notice a difference based on the stories?

Each set was different and they both were learning experiences for me.  On Kicks, it felt like a field trip with a bunch of good friends.  It was a young cast and crew. We all had specific jobs to handle, and everyone did them so naturally and so organically that everything just flowed. There were some real lifelong relationships that were made on that set and I am so grateful for the experience. 

With Wolves, I was such in awe of the way veteran actors Michael Shannon and Carla Gugino carried themselves and brought their characters to life.  Experiencing that firsthand made me want to develop my skills to improve my skills and focus as an actor. 

Was there anything about either Rico or Hakim that you were able to identify with on a more personal level?  If so, did that make it easier or harder to play the role?

Definitely!  For Rico, we’re both from that jungle environment where anything can happen at any moment.  We both love the company of pretty women, are “earth friendly” and most importantly, we both have a real LOVE for our brothers.  (laughs) The thing is, I was kind of a Rico in a sense growing up.

When I was playing Hakim, it was his ridiculous passion for the game of basketball that I connected with along with the importance he places on friendship.

Switching over to television, Wayward Pines season 2 debuts this month. When did you first hear about Wayward Pines, and what drew you to it?

I saw the trailers for season 1 and once it was over, I knew it was a show I was going to watch. Then when I got the audition, I didn’t even make the connection that it was for “Wayward Pines” at first because I had so much going on at the time (laughs).  After my initial audition, I got a callback and that I was when things clicked and I was like, “Ohhhhh, I have to put my game face on!” 

Hilarious and awesome at the same time! With you playing the role of Mario, a captain in the militaries’ quadrant.  How did you prepare for your audition?  

I watched the movie Fury the day before we did our read through to get a sense of what it’s like to serve in the military and to understand that you’re a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself and taking pride in that and also taking orders.

What did you do on set to get in the mindset of a military man?

The majority of the work for me getting into character was usually done before I arrived on set.  I focused on getting myself into that mindset where I know I’m lethal, I know I can be ordered to kill at any moment, and  I know that there are dangers beyond the wall and that I had to have that readiness for action… and kind of liking it. 😉 

Wayward Pines, with its short seasons, is almost like a long movie.  Is there a different feeling to this type of project over a truly episodic show like NCIS: New Orleans?

Super different.  With NCIS: New Orleans, every episode is different and the only things that linger throughout each episode are the feelings and relationships. 

Were you an NCIS fan prior to that role?  What TV shows do you watch most?

Not really, my pops loves cops shows so I had seen it of course, when in the room, but not purposely watching.

All I watch is the greatest…”Game of Thrones” and since this is Talk Nerdy With Us, I guess I’ll tell you I can also usually be found watching “Dragon Ball Z.”  (laughs).

We here at TNWU are all Game of Thrones fans as well!  So, now that you’ve filmed movies, a couple of TV series and have been on a daily soap opera, do you have a favorite type of project?  If so, what makes that format stand out to you?

I would have to say that my favorite type of project is definitely movies.  As an artist and actor, the most important thing for me is that I express myself and at the same time get the job done. To me, movies allow so much more freedom especially when they are with good writers and directors like the ones I’ve had the opportunity to work on so far.  The directors and writers of movies do such an amazing job of creating these vast worlds for people like me to play with, to operate, and to live in. 

When did you decide to pursue acting for a career… was there someone(s) who encouraged you to take a chance at acting and entertainment?

Yes, my best friend Dondre Idk inspired me to audition for the art school I attended in south Florida called BAK Middle School of the Arts.  That’s where I fell in love with the craft. 

What do you like to do in your down time (not that it seems like you have much)?

(laughs) Right?!  Uh, I’m so indecisive, there are some days I’ll sit at home and watch movies and anime all day and other days when I’ll go to the beach and just live life.  I enjoy hanging out with good people, inspiring people and hitting the gym every day well…most days.  (Laughs).

What is your dream role?

That’s such a hard question to answer but let me try.  My dream role would have to be something that has to do with space and other life forms like Interstellar or anything like Kicks that has that classic 90’s feel. Oh, and of course I would love to play a villain or superhero (although hoping to play a villain more).  There are so many types of roles I would like to play, it is all about what speaks to me and moves me to give a character a voice and tell their story. 

As the name of our site is “Talk Nerdy With Us”, we like to ask people: what is one thing nerdy about you or that you nerd out over (besides Dragon Ball Z)?

I can’t lie!  I’m slightly obsessed with anime both on a kid level and also on an artistic level.  There’s such a classic vibe to me about it that comes from those shows.  I’ve been able to relate more with anime than real TV sometimes.  Hopefully one day, I have a hand in creating one 🙂

 

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