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Interview: Christopher Meloni & Rachael Harris on ‘Surviving Jack,’ the ’90s and college

Interview: Christopher Meloni & Rachael Harris on ‘Surviving Jack,’ the ’90s and college

Interview: Christopher Meloni & Rachael Harris on ‘Surviving Jack,’ the ’90s and college
March 27
15:56 2014

Preston Barta // Film Critic

Christopher Meloni, who starred on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for 12 seasons, makes a jump into comedy with the new FOX television series “Surviving Jack.”

The show tells the story of a boy (Conner Buckley) who becomes a man and a man (Meloni) who becomes a father before the world had the Internet and Google.

The North Texas Daily had the opportunity to speak with Meloni and his on-screen wife, Rachael Harris, about their new show, the ‘90s and teaching college classes to UNT students.

I love that the show takes place in the ‘90s. Is there a particular aspect from then that you wish was still around, or maybe it’s the whole no cell phones and Internet?

Christopher Meloni: “I wish they’d bring Grunge back.”

Rachael Harris: “Yes. I wish that we could have it both ways. I wish that we could have like six hours, six to eight hours of Internet and cell phones and then for six or eight hours we have no access. So, we have to just use a landline and call people and wait for calls and things like that.”

sj-6-photos-lightbox-tbdWhat about working with the younger actors, who were born later in the ‘90s? How did you help them understand more about the ‘90s? Obviously, you both lived through that. How did you get them to understand the fashion, video games, etc.?

Meloni: “Well, very slowly because, first of all, we’d break them to the news that there was a time in history where cell phones and computers were not there, and they couldn’t wrap their heads around that. So, we pulled out a PowerPoint presentation for them.”

Harris: “Yes, we did do that, but then also, they didn’t recognize a lot of the music from the ‘90s. We’d be singing songs from the ‘90s and we’d be like, ‘Oh, that’s so amazing’ and would just get blank stares from Claudia Lee. Connor Buckley is pretty hip. Connor, I feel like he knew the music. But the other boys – Kevin Hernandez and Tyler Foden – their eyes would glaze over, like, ‘Yes, look at these old folks talking about the ‘90s,’ which was hard.”

sj-4-photos-lightbox-tbdRachael, social media has become a big part of our society. Will you be live tweeting during the premiere episode, and are you looking forward to the fan feedback you’ll be receiving instantly after the episode airs?

Harris: “I’m going to try to live tweet it with Claudia Lee. So, I know that I’m going to do that. I think the gals are going to handle that part of the thing. But yes, I love the instant feedback from fans. It’s really fun.”

Chris, we see your parenting style in “Surviving Jack” as kind of more like I guess you’d say blunt. You just say it how it is. Does that relate at all to your parenting style in real life?

Meloni: “100 percent accurate and the same. I mean I don’t change. I leave the house and arrive with the same skills and my little bag of tricks, and I go home— same skill set.”

Harris: “He’s not really like that.”

If you could teach a college course of your creation, what would you teach?

Meloni: “Adapting books to film: The decisions that much be made. I just find that fascinating. They have to take a book and figure out what to cut and what to condense.”

Harris: “I think my college course would be just on the premise of saying ‘yes’ instead instead of saying ‘no.’ It would be more like philosophical, as far as saying ‘yes’ and to live.

Meloni: “The power of positive thinking?”

Harris: “Probably, yes. Maybe that is a college course already being taught. That would be my own like spin on it.”

“Surviving Jack” premieres tonight at 8:30 p.m. on FOX, following the “American Idol” results show.

Feature Photo: Christopher Meloni and Conner Buckley play father and son in FOX’s new series “Surviving Jack.” Photo courtesy of FOX.
Center Photo 1: Christopher Meloni is Jack Dunlevy in “Surviving Jack.” Photo courtesy of FOX.
Center Photo 2: Rachael Harris is Joanne Dunlevy in “Surviving Jack.” Photo courtesy of FOX.

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