Mekenna Melvin talks the end of CHUCK
Last year, as CHUCK’s fourth season was barreling along, we spent some time talking with the lovely Mekenna Melvin, the actress originally brought in just to say “Mom” at the end of an episode, but who quickly became an integral part of the cast as Alex, the daughter of Casey and love of Morgan’s life. As we come up on her first episodes this season, Mekenna and I spent time talking about the bittersweet end of the show that she and I both love, and how hard it will be for her to say good-bye to this cast, while also looking forward to what the future holds.
Another great first few episodes of CHUCK so far this year! I know you probably can’t give anything away, but what can you tease about Alex this year – what can we expect to see for her, for Morgan, and for John?
Well. A lot of fun stuff [laughs]. It’s hard because I don’t want to give too much away. I will say that this season is chock full of fun stuff that I didn’t even expect to happen, and I’m really excited for you guys to see it!
Was it bittersweet on set, that knowing, going in, it was the final season, and would really have a finite end?
Yeah, definitely bittersweet. I mean, for me, for sure. We talked about it before, it was this life changing thing for me. Before, I was a waitress, so for me, I’m sad to see it go, and just pray that I’m not a waitress when it’s over again [laughs]. But I think for this cast, they’ve been together for five years, and kind of going on this journey, so while I’m sure at some point, when one door closes, another door opens, and everyone’s excited to see what the next thing is going to be. But it is, it’s bittersweet, because you have so much fun, but it is coming to an end.
Why do you think now, the final season, when people should be tuning in?
It is one of the funniest, I think, that we’ve ever had. The writers are amazing. I was laughing out loud while I was reading some of the scripts. It’s also emotional. There’s one script in particular that I’m really excited for you guys to see the episode. It’s not even about my storyline, but I’m not going to tell you more than that. I was like bawling during part of it. It’s a good, good season. While there is a lot of backstory, and it would be helpful to know from the beginning, it is a show that you can jump into. The laughs will be there for you whether you were with us from the beginning, or you just started tuning.
It has to be fun as a new actress to come into a cast like the cast of CHUCK, and be welcomed as you have.
I mean, that’s exactly right, what you just said. Not only am I leaving with this experience, just being so grateful because I’m getting to do what I always dreamed I would be able to do, is make a paycheck being an actress. I’m also leaving with some really great friends, and people that I truly consider my friends. Yvonne is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. We’re so close. Josh, and Adam, and everybody. Sarah Lancaster is wonderful. Everyone on the show is just a delight in their own specific way, I just feel so lucky. I keep saying it, but it’s true. I feel so lucky to be a part of it!
How has this role opened the door for you, to get your name out there?
There’s that old saying – work to get work, and I guess, maybe I have had the opportunity to get into some doors that I hadn’t been able to get into in the past, in terms of auditioning, and the types of stuff I’m able to audition for. Like anything else, like any kind of business you do, you have to put your dues in, and people have to trust that you’re able, not only talented, but able to handle the workload. There’s no rhyme or reason to how this business works [laughs].
Would you love to come back in a starring role on a weekly basis? What kind of show would you love to do?
That’s a really difficult question! I mean, of course I would, if it was the right show, I would not turn it down, for sure. I don’t know! That’s a hard thing to say. I’m not sure. There’s not a specific thing that I’m looking to do next. I’m just excited to work on another character with a full, exciting life. Whatever shape or form that might be, whatever genre, I’m open to it!
You had some experience, creating a role, with AMBER LAKE. How was that different than just coming into something that you weren’t involved with from the beginning? How did that all come together, and what was that experience like?
That was one of the most exciting experiences of my life, and we’re still excited, and can’t believe the journey that it’s taken us on. It was me, Polly Cole (who is actually my cousin, and friend), Natalie Smyka, who is a mutual friend of both of us. We all came together, and decided we wanted to make a project. From that, we brought on Joe Robert Cole, who is our director slash writer. It was a very collaborative experience, where we all created the storyline and created our characters very organically. We honestly though, maybe this will be a little web series that we can do. The next thing you know, we have interest, and we have funding, and the we’re in Michigan making a movie. And then it’s done, and we were like, oh, nobody’s going to see it, of course [laughs]. And now we have this great distribution deal through Film Buff, and you can get us on iTunes on demand, Amazon Video on demand, XBOX. To see something from beginning to end, it’s like nothing else. It’s like your little baby, kind of.
Obviously, that sounds like something you’d like to be involved in going forward. Not just playing the roles, but also having some sort of hand in creating them.
Oh 100%. That’s definitely what I want to do. Ultimately, I want to be in this business for a long time. As much as I hope that I’m one of the actresses that continue to work successfully on into my 100s [laughs], realistically, there are other things in this business that really excite me that I’d like to try. Producing, and writing, and the creative world that was my personal experience making that movie, is something that I’m full throttle excited about, and have a few projects that I’m working on with a friend. Yeah, definitely stay tuned. I hope to do more stuff on that side of the world.
I’ve found over the years that people are more willing to branch out and be more than just known for one thing, tend to have more success.
I think that’s it. It’s kind of like you had said before – is it different being brought into something, as opposed to creating it yourself. As an actor, you’re an artist, and artists want to work. Not work, in the sense, of make a paycheck, but they want to do what they love to do, and unless you’re given a job, it’s not always easiest to sit in your room and do a monologue or whatever, so you have to have other outlets, at least I do, and so these are other outlets that are not only challenging, exciting, something I want to do work wise, but are also something that make me feel good, make me feel creative, and you know, if you fall on your face, then it sucks, and you pick yourself back up, and you try harder next time.
Do you get a chance to watch some TV in your downtime?
I have always been a DEXTER and NURSE JACKIE fan which I think everyone is. But right now, I am obsessed with AMERICAN HORROR STORY [laughs]. It scares the bejeezers out of me, and I can’t get enough of it!
You know it’s a good show when it scares you to death and you still can’t turn it off!
I don’t know what it is. I sit there, and I think to myself, what are you doing, why are you watching this? [When I watch] I think that I will be afraid that there’s going to be a ghost that comes in, or something irrational. But I still watch it!
Is there an actress working right now that you’d love to emulate, follow in her footsteps?
I mean, there are so many people who I admire and who inspire me. I think obviously, every single actress would say Meryl Streep. And not just because she’s good, but because she’s been able to continue to work, for a long time. Which is something that not everybody gets to do! I really love Julianne Moore, and the list goes on. It’s so hard. There are so many different people, in different roles, for different reasons that inspire me!