Usually when Law & Order and Man of Steel veteran Christopher Meloni starts talking to things that may or may not be real, he's playing Gene, the shellshocked veteran from Wet Hot American Summer (as well as its prequel and sequel series on Netflix). Now, though, you can add Happy!'s Nick Sax to that list.
In the new SYFY series, which adapts the Grant Morrison/Darick Robertson comic book miniseries by the same name, Meloni plays Nick Sax, a corrupt and alcoholic ex-cop who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue winged horse named “Happy.”
“I wouldn’t say they’re kindred spirits, but yeah, there’s similarities there,” Meloni told ComicBook.com. “I definitely think Nick is a little bit more hard-boiled but yeah, they occupy a kind of occupy a certain space.”
Happy will be voiced by Patton Oswalt in the series; originally the role had gone to Saturday Night Live veteran Bobby Moynihan, and it is not yet clear whether the pilot will feature Moynihan's voice or Oswalt's.
Meloni, who also appeared in the larger-than-life Harold and Kumar comedies, admitted that it's fun to sometimes take on a truly absurd role, whether it be somebody as addled as Gene or somebody as over-the-top as Sax.
“Yeah, you get to open up a lot of valves that just having to operate in polite society get closed down, and if you’re doing drama, you’re tackling the material from a different angle. The fantasy aspect, the really very few rules aspect, that’s really freeing,” Meloni said.
The series is expected to debut on SYFY in the fall. Executive producers Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer) and Grant Morrison co-wrote the screenplay for the pilot and Patrick MacManus will serve as showrunner.
In the attached image gallery, you can check out your first look at Meloni as Sax, released just before Comic Con International: San Diego last month.