Melora Walters was sold on making a guest appearance in “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” when she found out the episode was inspired by Ingmar Bergman‘s “Persona” (1966). “It’s not a typical episode,” she explains. “It’s very much like a film or a play.” In this 19th season installment, entitled “Something Happened,” the actress plays a rape victim whose memory loss forces Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to open up about her own dark secrets. “It’s the kind of role that I would dream of,” she adds. Watch our exclusive video interview about “Law and Order: SVU” with Walters above.
In Bergman’s 1966 art-house classic, a nurse (Bibi Andersson) takes care of an actress (Liv Ullmann) who suddenly stops speaking. While isolated in a cottage on a remote island the two find their personas melding together in radical and unexpected ways. “There’s this enmeshing of the two women,” recalls Walters of the film, “and they start to seem alike, and then it turns and they pull apart. In that sense, I feel it relates to this episode because first I come in as a rape victim, but then I start hitting on things about Olivia’s character that resonate.” Eventually “there’s this merge, and then a break-apart.”
Walters has twice nominated at the SAG Awards for her work in the ensemble casts of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “Boogie Nights” (1997) and “Magnolia” (1999). She also appeared in the director’s “Hard Eight” (1996) and as a voice in “The Master” (2012), in addition to the films “Dead Poets Society” (1989), “Ed Wood” (1994), “Cold Mountain” (2003), “Short Term 12” (2013), and “The Lovers” (2017). On the small screen, she’s guest starred on “Roseanne,” “Murphy Brown,” “Seinfeld,” “NYPD Blue,” and had a recurring role on “Big Love.”
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