Although actor Levi Meaden portrays a villain in the upcoming thriller Breaking In, he always looks out for his loved ones in real life. “I’m super protective of my girlfriend, our dogs, my family, my brother,” he exclusively told Us on Thursday, May 3, of longtime love Ariel Winter. “My little brother, so I have that big brother vibe.”
That made Meaden’s role in Breaking In, which also stars Gabrielle Union and Billy Burke, an even more exciting challenge for him. “I just fine-tuned my performance to the genre and then I, you know, just started delving into where [my character] came from and what brought him to this point,” he explained of his part in the movie, which tells the tale of a family fighting to survive after intruders break into their home. “His ambitions and his fears just kind of built from there.”
Meaden’s character is evil in the horror flick, but he has a unique stance on payback and vengeance in real life. “I think there’s a lot of things you can let go of and … the best revenge is just living well in some cases,” he explained. “But sometimes you gotta push back and support those around you. People will take advantage of you if you let them go too far.”
Which is why it’s nice the Aftermath actor, 30, and Winter can turn to each other. “I’ll run lines with her for sure and she will kind of give me some advice and I’ll ask her how she thinks it’s working out,” he told Us of Winter, who he started dating in November 2016. He added: “We don’t really sit down and discuss [potential projects], it just comes up as we talk and let each other know what’s going on … and get ideas from each other about what we can bring to the character. Just fun, simple ideas.”
The Killing alum noted that he and Winter enjoy winding down together amid their busy schedules. “There are a lot of times where we both realize we’re just stressed and we need a date night or one of us just needs to take a break and do something completely quiet and calm,” he explained. “Meditate, hiking or a massage and just kind of step out out of this whirlwind.”
Breaking In hits theaters on Friday, May 11.
With reporting by Carly Sloane.