Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Melanie Nicholls-King

Melanie Nicholls-King plays the no-nonsense veteran cop Noelle Williams in the huge summer hit Rookie Blue. Melanie landed the role after a taped audition and flew to Toronto to film the first season last year. After Rookie Blue’s tremendous summer ratings, she’s back in Toronto filming the second season and took the time to talk to me a little about Rookie Blue, and her career.

How close is the character of Noelle to you? 
She’s just another side of me. People are always like “this is so different from who you are. It’s so hard to be afraid of you when you’re just being you.” “you’re so far from Noelle.”

There’s the part of her that my son sees. The scary part, but I don’t feel that she’s a huge stretch. I put on that uniform and walk onto the set. She just comes out naturally and easily out of me. There wasn’t a lot of emotional preparation with this character. She is just there for me.

So how did you get ready for the role physically? Were police involved in your training? 
As far as cop training they had people come in and teach us how to handcuff somebody, how to take somebody down, how to hold a gun, how to do a traffic stop, how to enter a room where you don’t know how to go upstairs. We also had someone come in and give us the rookie speech from a training officer perspective.

And what about police? Have you received feedback from them? 
I haven’t received any negative feedback, thankfully. The cops on set say “we love the show, you’re great.” Some of my cast members have gotten away with speeding tickets when cops recognized them, so that is kind of cool. I just went home to New York and the immigration officer recognized me, and I went through just after Travis [Milne] and the immigration officer was all like “Hey! How are you? It’s Rookie Blue!” It’s always a help to have someone who recognizes you at immigration. 

We spent season one watching Noelle handle fertility injections in an attempt to become a single parent. Are we going to see her have a relationship next season, maybe take a break from the shots?  
Melanie cracks up and says “well you know a lot of people want to see something happen especially between myself and another character, so I don’t know.”

We saw Noelle’s character at the end of Season One sort of hesitate about her decision to be a single mom? Is that it for her? 
It was a pause. I understand where it came from because after having to take down this woman who is a single mom and is very attached to her career, I saw where I could be in 20 years and I think it natural that it gave Noelle pause because it’s the first sort of real look at what could be her future. She had to really think about this. It wasn’t the end of her desire, but it was a pause.

A lot of women get into the “go for your career” mode. That’s what we have to do, we work on our careers and then you get to the point where you’ve done everything to advance your career and its time to think about a baby, but for a lot of women then, its hard to get pregnant and wait - you didn’t think of that. You didn’t realize that once you got the career sorted out that it might be hard to get to the other. It’s tough.

And what about your son? Does he like the show? What does he think of it? 
At first he was not interested at all. When he came up here for the summer to hang out with family, Elijah would be upset if he had to turn off his game to watch Rookie blue. I had to remind him “Hello? This is your mother!” You’d think that you would want to see it but he sometimes just gets irritated when he has to put down his video game to watch. But, when he knew that he was going to meet the cast, Elijah suddenly became really interested in watching. He couldn’t believe he was actually going to meet everyone. I think that’s the time when he grew more interested. But most of the time, it’s just mom.

Do the actors get a voice in where their characters are going? If you didn’t like the way Noelle was being portrayed, could you change that? 
I do get some voice. Not in the sense of the storyline. That’s set before we start shooting, but in every episode, if there is something that doesn’t feel like emotionally right for my character we can talk to the writers and they’ll sit down to track this and this and how it is connected. Writers are very open to episode by episode tweaking. It’s not the whole storyline that we can change, but we definitely get the opportunity to talk to them.

Is there any role you wouldn’t play? 
It depends on the journey that the character is on. I was close to getting this part of a crack head on the sopranos and I have nothing against crack head roles, but there has to have some kind of forward motion to it. There has to be a story in there. I didn’t pursue that role because it was just a crack head. I had friends tell me “But it’s the Sopranos!” And yeah, it was the Sopranos but The Sopranos have so few African American characters that to be one of the few that has no journey and just there for gratuitous reasons? I didn’t do it. I want to look back on my career and know everything I did I’m proud of.

Rookie blue was a huge success both in Canada and the US, with over 9 million viewers each week. Are you and the other actors feeling the pressure for Season Two?
Yes, but you know, as a cast of actors, I think we’ve done our job. The audience fell in love with our characters. It’s the writers that have the pressure to keep up the trajectory, to keep up the momentum and keep it interesting and alive and keep these relationships interesting. And I have to say, the storylines that they come up with are just “wow.”

So what is next for Melanie aside from the upcoming Rookie Blue season? 
I’ll be moving into producing a short film which will go into production next January and hope to get on the festival circuit for 2012. I get to work with people who are extremely talented and to be in charge of it all and put all the pieces together, is just really exciting.

Melanie wraps up filming of Rookie Blue’s second season on January 21st and it looks like Rookie Blue will make its second season appearance in Summer 2011. Thanks Melanie for taking the time out for The Hip & Urban Girl! --- By: Melanie Stone

Meet some of our other Hip + Urban Girls of the Week here!

No comments:

Post a Comment