Christopher Meloni is heading to the dark side.
The 58-year-old actor is suiting up as Commander Winslow for the hit streaming series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which explores a dystopian future where a woman (Elisabeth Moss) is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. The Emmy-winning show on Hulu is based Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel by the same title.
Meloni, who many may recognize from “Law & Order: SVU,” revealed he was a fan of the show long before he obtained the opportunity to be on it, and was in awe to help bring the nail-biting tale to life.
Meloni spoke Fox News about working alongside Moss, 36, walking on set for the first time and the one moment in his career where he felt like giving up.
Fox News: What was it about Commander Winslow that made you go, “I have to play this role”?
Christopher Meloni: Well, you know, they only gave me my first episode, so I really didn't know a great deal, but I knew what waters I was swimming in, which is "The Handmaid's Tale." I thought they'd done a brilliant job, Seasons 1 and 2. I thought it was visually arresting and I thought the storytelling was great and I thought it was kind of an important show.
Fox News: You were a big fan of the series before you came on. What was it like walking on set?
Meloni: First, you're surrounded by all these recognizable uniforms, whether it's the Marthas or the commanders or whomever. And that's an arresting moment. It's being hurled into newsreels from Nazi Germany. And then I think the most arresting for me were these public displays, like banners being unfurled and the public displays of what this new reality is like.
So it really makes you stop for a second and think to yourself, "Well, this could happen." That's what I thought the images about "Handmaid's Tale" going to Washington, D.C. "The Handmaid's Tale" goes to Washington D.C. in this season, which is why those images were so stark.
Fox News: What surprised you the most about yourself in terms of embodying this character?
Meloni: How comfortably people can find themselves settling onto the seat of power, the reins of power. You know, [former Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger said power is the greatest aphrodisiac. So I kinda felt that or saw that embodied, got into that.
Fox News: What was the biggest challenge that you faced while filming and how did you overcome it?
Meloni: Trying to figure out how the suspenders worked.
Fox News: What’s it been like working with Elisabeth Moss?
Meloni: Fantastic. You know, she's also a producer on the show. So she had a lot of say in how things went and how she went about moving things in certain ways was great. It was great to watch. She did everything with kindness and professionalism and good cheer. And as an actress, I think that's pretty obvious. Her body of work shows how good she is. But it was really kind of cool to see her working behind the scenes.
Fox News: What has been your experience like working with the other actresses?
Meloni: Well it's fantastic, you know? Yeah. Elizabeth Moss, Yvonne [Strahovski], Ann Dowd. In particular, Ann Dowd, whom I've known for about 15 years, she plays Aunt Lydia and is a wonderful human being. In their own way and from whatever political stripe or perspective, power perspective that they're coming from the characters, they all come and they have their positions and they play it strongly and with intensity.
Fox News: In your opinion, what's the secret behind the show's success?
Meloni: It always starts with writing. And then I think you proceed from there, which is what is the vision and can they pull off this singular vision of how the story will unspool and then you inhabit that space and that storytelling with great actors and I think you kind of have that recipe. So it's a very chilling kind of dystopian world told, with humanity and heart, and told very well.
Fox News: Margaret Atwood herself said that she originally wrote her 1985 novel as a "fictional warning." What's your take on this?
Meloni: I personally think the fiction of it is becoming a bit more nonfiction. That's my personal opinion.
Fox News: You have a very impressive body of work in your own right. Was there ever a moment in your career where you felt ready to give up?
Meloni: Well, I got into the business when I was 24 and I'd have to say from probably 24 to 34, every other week, I wouldn't say I'd want to give up, but you're constantly tested. Rejection really does, it takes its toll, but it does make you stronger. So yeah, more times than I can count — I've been through times of despair.
Fox News: How has the show impacted you personally in any way given the current political climate?
Meloni: That's very interesting because what's happening in Georgia and those sorts of things. I'm not a woman, but so I'm once removed, but I know my personal feelings about the issues. So, I'm just happy that the female struggle is being put out there. I think it's empowering to a lot of people and I think it kind of gives warning signs for what could be. So for me personally, I don't know. I'm willing to join in the struggle.
"The Handmaid's Tale" is available on Hulu for streaming.