Breckin Meyer’s career includes some very popular comedy efforts ranging from the slapstick feature film “Rat Race” to the ultimate TV buddy comedy in ‘Franklin & Bash.” But, Meyer also has performed in plenty of dramatic works.
One of the chief criteria for selecting his next acting job – whether it be comedy or drama – is whether or not his next job is different enough from other projects he has done.
“After I finished ‘Clueless,’ the last thing I wanted to play was another stoner skater. It’s not because I didn’t like the character but I like to change it up,” Meyer says.
Meyer found “The Enormity of Life” to be vastly different from anything he has done. In the film that will be available on Blu-ray and through digital platforms starting Aug. 9, Meyer plays a man who has hit the emotional rock bottom. Only a faulty ceiling fan and a timely phone call with news of a big inheritance keep him from his suicidal quest.
Even the good news is not enough to fully pull him out of his emotional black hole. The last hope for him comes through a waitress (Emily Kinney) he befriends. The single mom could hold the solution to his emotional downward spiral.
As soon as Meyer read the script, he found “The Enormity of Life” to be a very “polarizing” story.
“It was really interesting. The ending surprised me,” Meyer says. “It was an interesting character. Casey is a character who suffers from anhedonia which basically means the inability to feel pleasure.
“The interesting thing for me was how do you tackle that and not make it boring. It was a challenge. I hope I did.”
Meyer’s efforts to find the right tone for the character started with what he knew from the real world. Not only has Meyer seen all of the reporting in regards to the rise in mental illness in the world but he has dealt with mental illness in his own family and through people he has known.
He took that information and mixed it with the skills he has honed as an actor since making his professional debut in 1888 with “The Wonder Years.” Other credits for the Minnesota native include “The Home Court,” “Married to the Kellys,” “Garfield,” “Heroes” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”
Meyer likes working in both television and film. The one thing that he looks for in a project is not having to carry the load on his own. He is particularly happy when it is an ensemble cast but can find the same pleasure with a small group of actors – as was the case in “The Enormity of Life” – when those he is working with are as strong as Kinney.
The overall story of an emotionally and mentally fractured man struggling to find a way to feel something was strong enough and different enough for Meyer to not only sign on to star in “The Enormity of Life” but also to be an executive producer on the project.
It was the ending of “The Enormity of Life” that was the final reason he wanted to take on the role.
“It is one of those things that’s going to strike up conversations, I know it did when I read it,” Meyer says. “One of the things [director/writer] Eric [Swinderman] and I talked about was that was going to be our ending. We are not going to change that because that would change everything I am playing leading up to it.
“Anything different would not have done it justice because we are dealing with everything on such a real level you can’t cop out at the end.”
“The Enormity of Life” was such a personal project to Meyer he didn’t want to just me “a hired gun” on the production. He has seen over the years that actors have a limited amount of influence on a production. The fact he was also an executive producer gave him additional clout to protect the ending.
Meyer plays a character who can experience happiness but he certainly found plenty of his own joy in working on the film. It started with taking on a deep and dark character that gave Meyer a chance to show off his dramatic skills.
The other bonus was getting to work with Kinney. Meyer admits to being a nerd when it comes to the television series “The Walking Dead” and Kinney played Beth Greene on the series. He was excited to get to work with her because of the series but didn’t want to come across as an overzealous fanatic.
Meyer laughs and says his opening to talk about the zombie series with Kinney came when they were filming at an old barn and she casually mentioned the term “walkers.”
“That was it. I knew I could fan out now,” Meyer says.