Christopher Meyer might be an up-and-coming actor but his role in the fourth season of the Emmy-nominated series The Affair is sure to grab people’s attention. I got the chance to talk to him about being a nerd, his career beginnings, his character in The Affair, Anton, and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!
Meg: I was checking out your demo reel and some of your work and thought I’d just get the super geeky-nerd thing out of the way up front. One of my favorite shows is iZombie and I swear when I saw you had done that show, I got even more excited to talk to you. I just love that show so much, I think it’s hilarious and clever and so over the top crazy and weird, it’s such fun escapism! I was wondering what it was like working on something like that?
Chris: See, that’s the kind of stuff I just love to work on! I mean, at the end of the day, since I was a kid, I’ve been what’s called a “nerd” and that is the kind of stuff that I find intriguing. To be immersed in that universe of zombies and detectives and all the weird stuff in that world. It wasn’t hard to do; it was pretty natural, pretty cool. It was a different experience for me but it was a lot of fun, honestly! And I loved Vancouver and that entire cast is just so much fun, we had such a good time!
Chris: Oh yeah, definitely.
Meg: Now, I was checking out your bio and read that you grew up in Brooklyn but then moved to Florida when [you were] in middle school to go to an art school? Is that true? Were your parents totally cool with that?
Chris: Yeah, that is exactly it.
Meg: Holy cow! And then you were discovered there, in middle school?
Chris: Literally, in middle school! My agent’s assistant was at one of my shows and informed my agent. My agent just so happened to be having an open call out there and I was able to kind of say, “Why not?” And he loved me immediately. He’s still with me to this day. He moved his company to Los Angeles and I just followed him right then and there.
Meg: Wow. So what show were you doing that you were discovered in? Do you remember?
Chris: It was a show called Zap. I forget who wrote it or even really what it was about or what it looked like. I do remember having to do like six or seven outfit changes. I had maybe three or four different accents too. It was probably 25 scenes done by a whole theater company and I think I was in about six or seven of them and some were dramatic, some were funny… it was just something that was really fun and different- a really cool play.
Meg: Oh my God. Wow. Ok, so your agent discovers you and through that, you end up on General Hospital. How old were you?
Chris: Right! What’s funny is that’s my mother’s guilty pleasure. She was watching every day since she was 19 years old and, at the time, I was 14 when I first went on. I think I did a good 28 episodes of that show.
Meg: Wow. You know, I remember I was listening to an interview with Nathan Fillion once and he got his start on One Life to Live. He always sounded like that was the greatest training he ever had. I mean, he studied acting in college and everything but he would say how there is nothing like being on a soap opera day in, day out with the 18-hour shoots, six days a week. People are just pros and they really teach you how to hit your mark and how to look into the camera and he said it was basically like a master class in acting. I was wondering if you have a similar take.
Chris: I definitely do. I mean, while I was in school I actually completed 17 plays, from the age of ten to 13. So I went from three years of theater straight into TV. I think General Hospital was the best transition because it’s a very similar world [to that] of theater- very similar as far as how dramatic everything is. I think, just like you said, I had gotten a master class in what film or TV is like. It was always so different and fast-paced! It wasn’t unexpected that they shoot an episode a day, sometimes they shoot two episodes in one day! There would be days where I had four lines in the whole episode and then days where I had 3 paragraphs and I had to memorize those three paragraphs right on the spot and I only have one or two takes to get it done because they’re going so quickly. So it definitely was the best training I’ve ever had. Best introduction to TV and film for me.
Meg: Ok, so I was watching an interview you did about how you were in Florida and you had just come home one day and your parents called you into their room to say, “Hey, pack up, we’re moving to LA… for you.”
Chris: Oh my goodness! It was SO crazy!
Meg: Your parents, they just had total faith in you, they supported you that much?
Chris: Absolutely! That’s what really interested me so much back then — their faith in me. As a kid, I think everyone dreams about becoming an actor at some point or being an athlete – you know, play for the NBA or go into the NFL, or whatever they’re into. My thing was basketball, and I liked it, but I didn’t really put that much into it. And then, when I found acting and went to that school in Florida… it happened, and my parents were there for me every single step of the way.
Meg: WOW! I mean, that’s all just amazing. But okay, so you were discovered in middle school, were on General Hospital and a movie, Kicks, and now you’re working on TV with two of my favorite actors in a show, The Affair, that I absolutely love. But I’m confused – The Affair takes place in New York- the City and the Hamptons. How the heck did we get to LA?
Chris: I don’t know how to answer that without kind of giving away something very big. I mean, okay, I’ll try. So you know how his wife is with that doctor and they moved? So you kind of guessed that he [Noah] basically followed her to the West Coast. But I don’t know what else I’m allowed to say.
Meg: Okay. Well, I know Noah’s back to teaching because I watched the trailer, but that’s really all I got from it. But, I can tell you how the show is describing you and your character:
The talented, charismatic, and up and coming Christopher Meyer is definitely one to watch. Christopher stars in a key role opposite Dominic West in the upcoming fourth season, playing Anton, a defiant but brilliant new student of Noah’s. Anton is caught between his parents’ expectations. Anton struggles to find his own sense of self amid episodes of self-sabotage and doubt.
So first of all, that sounds like the role that any actor would kill to have… so kudos to you…
Chris: Wow. I mean, they described that better than I ever could.
Meg: Talk to me about Anton. How would you describe him, what’s his story?
Chris: Anton is a bit of a troubled case in this show. While very, very, very smart, he’s also someone who just so happened to get held back last year by his mother, who happens to be the principal of the school. So he obviously resents his mother for that. Apparently, she was trying to send a message to the rest of the school that she’s not playing around about discipline and all that.
Meg: Oh, so did Anton get into a little bit of trouble last year?
Chris: Aww, you know I can’t say. I have to let you just figure that out. But yeah, Anton’s just struggling with a lot. He has his parents, who are not together anymore and they have two different ideas of what the rest of his life should look like. He’s battling with making his own decisions and [finding] his own path and that’s when he finds something in Noah that is very much like himself. Over time, Noah finds the same thing in Anton and we go on this crazy journey together. And through that process I definitely I get him and I finally grow up.
Meg: Alright, so you have to tell me, what was the best part about working with Dominic West? Because it sounds like you worked very closely with him.
Chris: Oh, super, super closely. I still talk to him. I was just talking to him on the phone the other day.
Meg: Oh, okay, well, tell him I love him!
Chris: Okay, I’ll just let him know that Meg from Talk Nerdy loves him. I mean honestly, he would eat that up. He’s just the best. Seriously, for him being number one on the call sheet, he’s top dog, but he is just one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. He really did embrace me. I mean, it’s so crazy the things we do as actors, we come into a show and have to have these big monologue conversations with people we really don’t know and look them in the eyes. The first couple of days on set isn’t “awkward”… but you are kind of getting to feel each other out and get comfortable and see what type of guy the other person is. Dom really isn’t that type of guy. He is the type of guy where you come on set and he’s going to say whatever he wants, he’s going to do whatever you want, and honestly he’s so cool about it. He made me feel very, very, very comfortable, very early [on]. He’s definitely like a big brother to me.
Meg: Now, was there anyone else you worked with who really taught you something or was just so fun and we don’t know it? Or maybe some fun behind the scenes stories?
Chris: Oh man, I have to say, Josh[ua] Jackson as well. He’s just amazing, he’s honestly the best. We had so much fun as the three of us. We definitely became a trio as the season went on. The first leg of the season didn’t involve Josh and me in the same vicinity so we didn’t get to see each other that much, but the last four episodes are pretty much all about us. I mean, we were pretty much inseparable. Literally, on-set, off-set. There were so many times where I would get dinner with them or go to an event or a party and we just had so much fun and I think [that] really lifted me up this season. They’re four seasons into it. They’re veterans on this show and they know the ins and outs, they know how flexible they can be with what they do. And it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had on set, that I can say.
Meg: Any chance you’re gonna make it out to New York and see Joshua Jackson’s Broadway show?
Chris: You know what’s crazy? I was going to text him about when that’s coming out and I would love to go. I know how excited he was about it right before we wrapped for the season. I gotta text him, make that happen.
Meg: Oh yeah, from what I’ve heard, everybody says it’s not to be missed. And you have time now, right? You’ve wrapped season four?
Meg: And I’m going to guess you can’t tell me if you’ll be returning for season five?
Chris: I don’t know, maybe, maybe not?
Meg: Okay, fine, be coy… Do you have anything else on the horizon that we should be looking for?
Chris: Ummm, a couple of things, but not really anything I can talk about yet.
Meg: Okay, well, I’m going to cross my fingers and hope there is a season five for you on The Affair. It sounds like you had a great time and I’m really excited to see what happens. The show is always intense and just so smart. I am really looking forward to seeing your journey!
Chris: Yeah, well, you’ll have to let me know what you think of it. I think it turned out pretty well, but we’ll just have to wait and see!
Check out the season premiere of The Affair on Showtime, June 17 at 9/8c to see Chris Meyers as Anton. Make sure you also follow him on Instagram.