He has starred in prime-time series (RAVEN and MORTAL KOMBAT: CONQUEST), guest-starred on everything from CHARMED to MIAMI VICE, and even SEARCHed FOR TOMORROW, but Jeff Meek is discovering that playing the infamous Craig Montgomery on AS THE WORLD TURNS is a whole new “ball” game.
Soap Opera Weekly: What does it feel like to be stepping into the role of Craig?
Jeff Meek: The bomb just went off; that’s what it feels like to me. He’s exploded into town and people don’t know how it happened so everybody’s scrambling for cover. He’s planning a number of things that I’m not even sure of. He’s so conniving. He’s got so many plates spinning, but he’s certainly having fun doing it.
Weekly: Were you familiar with the work of the previous Craigs (Scott Bryce and Hunt Block)?
Meek: I didn’t have a clue who Craig was until I [got the role]. I’m not familiar with the other work. I got his history on paper. It was like a Bible, and it was all bad! I was like, “Didn’t this guy have any friends?” I try to remember who is related to whom. Oakdale is a very incestuous town. It’s all, “Who’s your brother, who’s you sister, who’s your cousin, who’s your lover?”
Weekly: Has Craig really changed for the better?
Meek: He had an epiphany in jail. He really believes that the only salvation in his life is the love and caring of his own family. He knows that blood is thicker than water and he knows that he’s got enemies. There’s lots of obstacles for me to play. He’s a fascinating character. It’s not only the plot twists, it’s his own emotional connection. There’s so many dynamics and colors.
Weekly: Is there any kind of pressure in joining a show that has been going on for 50 years?
Meek: Not because of the show, but because of the nature of the character. I feel like I’m getting bombarded by hate from everybody and every angle. It’s a little hard to maneuver. I feel like I had amnesia and when I came to, my life was Hell. So, it’s a little strange. I have to manufacture that I’ve actually done something to these people [as Craig]. So, I’m having psychotic dreams of being chased through dark tunnels (laughs).
Weekly: You did SEARCH FOR TOMORROW 20 years ago. Is it fun to get back in the soap game?
Meek: Yeah, it’s a lot of work. It’s the most difficult genre there is for an actor. I find it awesome. It’s amazing that an hour show can be done in a day. I still don’t know how it gets done. I’m just trying to pedal my bike as fast as I can to keep up. The bar is so high on this show. The talent is so good and the writing’s good, the crew is fantastic. It’s fast and furious, and sink or swim.
Weekly: What’s in the cards for Craig and Emily?
Meek: We’re planning on having children together (laughs). We’re outsiders in cahoots. I just think she’s hot. That’s all I’m playing.
Weekly: We hear Craig’s about to throw a huge Halloween ball. What can you tell us about that?
Meek: (Smiles enigmatically) It’s always great when you have a party and a lot of beautiful women running around.