The makings of Melia

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Life comes and goes quickly, especially as time goes by, though early on in life we are usually ushered into deciding upon a suitable career path with generally no looking back. Actors such as the American-Greek performer Melia Kreilig, who is mooted to be one of the big screen’s newest sirens, prove however, that if one can muster up just enough charisma you can still afford to let your curiosity take you in new directions. On talking with the multi-talented screen sensation, it was quite clear how busy she likes to keep herself and for her it’s all about not allowing oneself to get cornered in a dead end.

There’s no need really, especially when you’re Melia, a talent who’s rising so swiftly that it almost seems like only yesterday that the Geneva-born Melia, and who grew up in Athens, finished her education in London. She seems destined not to remain too long in one place, and certainly is not an actor to be typecast either. In the last few years, Melia had a major role as the pink-hued Bereet in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), a superhero movie based on the Marvel comic, played Kestrel in the WWII drama, Company of Heroes (2013) and starred in Northern Irish-produced horror film X Moor (2014). Glass eagerly anticipates what role Melia will take up next in front of the lens, and until then, we’ve taken the opportunity to catch up with Melia.

Your career has been skyrocketing recently, as your roles get bigger and undoubtedly come with more exposure, could you describe your present state of mind?
That’s very kind of you to say. My state of mind right now is like a summer song; I’m pretty relaxed and happy to be working with quirky and beautiful personalities in such a fun profession that is never static.

To expand on the career part, clue Glass in on what you have been up to recently?
Most recently I just finished filming DxM, a movie about a group of young scientists who are researching certain theories within quantum physics. I play Stella, a girl who intrudes the core group with ambiguous reasons for her actions. There’s a great group of young actors starring in the movie alongside Sam Neill. It’s a RedBull/Cinemater production with Andrew Goth directing and Joanne Reay in the writer’s chair. I also play Bereet in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, in cinemas as we speak, and Georgia in the horror movie Xmoor which debuted at FrightFest last month. Committed, a romantic comedy, is currently making the rounds in various festivals around the world.

You’ve clearly been very busy then. What does it take in 2014 for a budding actress to acquire some form of notoriety?
It would depend on what kind of notoriety you want to achieve I guess … There’s a lot of ways you can get noticed nowadays. I’m putting one foot in front of the other and simultaneously dreaming most of the time.

Sounds like a good tactic. Now, I don’t like to “typecase”, but what type of actress, if any, would you describe yourself as?
So far I’m the type that has fun with it and is curious.

One of your original passions, long before acting, was dance. Correct?
Correct. I still dance, just not full-time professionally. I keep trying to find projects that will incorporate it somehow; I may start creating some myself soon. It’s an itch.

Have any of the principles of dance informed your acting in any way?
Most of what I do in acting is informed by my dance background. The need for teamwork, the discipline, the “choreography of a story” … It helps me to initially picture a character as a series of movements.

Guardians of the Galaxy, your most recent high profile vehicle has amassed rather a lot of publicity, could you tell us a little bit more about your role in the newest Marvel mega-flick, which has already rocketed past $400m in worldwide box offices?
Guardians of the Galaxy is super fun, intelligent, different, and an amazing dive into a Marvel wonderland. I play the part of Bereet early on in the movie, a Krylorian girl who has a short ’n’ sweet fling with Peter Quill. It was so fun to be involved in it and play someone so delightfully pink!

What is it like starring opposite such talked-about stars as Zoe Saldana, the iconic Glenn Close and Chris Pratt?
I worked with Chris Pratt who plays Peter Quill aka Starlord. I was already a huge fan of his character in Parks and Recreation, and I was really chuffed when I saw first-hand how funny and kind and goofy he is in person. And I couldn’t quite believe how easily James Gunn got me to improvise sometimes! He would shout the funniest things across the set and my main concern was reining in my giggles.

A sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy is already in the works and being touted for a 2017 release; does this mean your character Bereet might be making a return?
I have no idea what Marvel and James Gunn have planned for a sequel, but I would love to revisit Bereet of course! Pink lady love …

However, lest we not rest on our laurels with GOTG, why not tell us a little bit about X-Moor, which is very soon to premiere and will be starring you in a lead role, yes?
X-moor is a start to finish horror movie with Luke Hyams directing. It stars Nick Blood, Mark Bonnar and myself; our characters begin a search for a beast in the moorlands of Exmoor and find themselves all sorts of trouble. It’s a hardcore, true to its genre horror movie. It hits FrightFest in August and I’m very excited to see how it’s received as I’ve never been involved in a horror movie before.

It’s clear that you have the stuff to take this acting gig as far as you can Melia, but is there any advice you would like to impart on anyone who is considering taking up a similar career path?
Perhaps what I also tell myself to “water the plant and smell the flowers”.

Finally Melia, to give Glass a picture of how the whirlwind that is your burgeoning career is affecting your everyday life, what is it you will be doing over the next week?
I am taking the next week to eat homecut fries, feta with oregano and fish on the island of Ithaca in Greece. Slather on the SPF, agonise over which bikini to wear, see my friends and my family.

by Liam Feltham

Guardians of the Galaxy is on general release now

Xmoor is showing as part of this year’s Frightfest Festival

Follow Melia on facebook
She can also be found on twitter and instagram