Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner may be dominating the promotional circuit right now, but they're not the only cast members with something to say about New Moon. I had the opportunity to chat with costars Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene, aka Emmett and Alice Cullen, during their recent stopover in SF. They chatted about their characters, the vampire craze, and what it's like to be a "Twilight celebrity." Here are highlights:
- On why so many people are crazy for the Twilight Saga:
Ashley: I think this film in particular is highly relatable. There are a lot of situations that people can relate to. The love story — everyone can relate to being in love or being in lust. You add the vampire, and it adds that next level fantasy. Vampires are mysterious and sensual and dangerous and unattainable. And everyone wants what they can't have. I think on another level that this came together at the perfect time. All the elements just fit, the casting was spot on, and we're in a difficult time right now with our economy. That's why you never have a drop in ticket sales because everyone wants an escape, and this movie is very much an escape from reality.
Kellan: It's a good escape but also it deals with so many situations, on so many positive notes. Just looking at it from the vampire coven to the wolf pack. It just deals with everyday issues just on bigger levels, in a way. And you have Bella as the keystone in many situations. You can just all relate from different countries to issues within the United States. It's easily relatable.
To read a lot more about working with three different directors and why they feel so lucky, just read more.
- On how their portrayals of the Cullens are similar or different from the books:
Kellan: We got the jobs because we brought something new to it. You can interpret the characters each their own, but I think it's what we did alongside. Just like Kristen said — she's playing Bella but she's putting her Kristen spin on it, just like all of us are. And I think that's what's making it unique. We're still following the cheat sheets that Stephenie created by making the books, and there's Wikipedia. We have a lot of information to go off of. But I hope it's what I did in my audition that set it apart from the other guys trying out.
Ashley: I think it's mannerisms too. People do fall in love with this book, but I think part of it is that they always want more. You can't write out every human mannerism. You can imagine it, but seeing the emotion in someone's eyes and seeing them be affected it — it was kind of easy to give something to it, because we were just being people. We kinda just got lucky.
- On how much more of the Cullens we can expect in the remaining movies:
Kellan: Realistically, we stick pretty close to the books. Obviously us Cullens would love to be in the books a lot more, which would mean we'd be in the movies a lot more. Talking New Moon, the scenes that the Cullens — except for Ashley, playing Alice who gets to go to Italy and be a main lead in the movie — us Cullens, we have to stick really close to the books, and the scenes that we're in are really crucial to the story, as you know — the birthday scene, the voting scene. I don't know, it was kind of a tease. Chris Weitz is such an amazing director, and for us, for myself — I only worked about a week on that movie. And it didn't even seem like I really got a taste for what it was.
Ashley: In the third film, you'll see a lot more of the Cullens because it's all of us collaborating and then getting ready to fight this war that's coming up. In the second one, my character got a much larger role because Alice is the Cullen, other than Edward, that really embraces Bella and they end up becoming best friends. In the beginning, you see her throw this huge party for Bella, and then Alice is the one who does, in fact, come back for Bella when everyone else decides to skip town. Alice is responsible for dragging Bella over to Italy, and she and I the whole time are fighting to save my brother's life. And then of course we get held up by the Volturi and stuff like that. My character got to grow a lot, which is really cool. You get to actually see the relationship develop between Bella and Alice, where in the first one you didn't. The first one was very much about the romance and showing the audience why these two people are willing to die for each other.
- On working with a different director on each film:
Ashley: Each director is going to be very different. They're artists as well, and I don't think any of them are quite the same. The books, when you read them, all have very, very, different tones. So I think it's highly appropriate that we switch directors each go. The first one is very much a romance and is a very scenic, beautiful film. And Catherine's really, really great at capturing that. She's very high energy and works well in chaos and stuff like that. And it was fantastic because we didn't quite know what we were getting ourselves into, and so it was nice to have her to guide us when we were freaking out a little bit. She was just so high energy, and it was really contagious. We were sad to lose her and move on to the second film, but then we got Chris Weitz and he's the complete opposite! But great as well. He's so giving and caring and collaborative and created this atmosphere that was kind of a safe haven for us. And it was really nice because we didn't know, switching directors, if they were gonna embrace us or if they had a completely different vision than what we created in the first one. It was nice that he was right there on the same page with us. And the second one is a warmer film, even from the color scheme. The first one is very blue tones, and the second one is much richer and warmer and I think he did a great job at capturing that. And we just finished shooting with David Slade, and I think he's highly appropriate as well. He just finished shooting 30 Days of Night and Hard Candy, and they're both very dark, edgy films. And Eclipse is very much that. It's all centered around the anticipation and us getting ready to fight this huge war. We just finished filming, we haven't gotten to see much of it, but I think it's gonna be fantastic. He is, technically, the most advanced director. The angles that he shot and how he knows that tweaking something can affect a whole scene and the lenses. He was really nice to work with.
- On coping with the fan effect and being a "Twilight celebrity"
Kellan: That's what blows my mind, 'cause I feel like it's really unearned in a way. The fans are making our careers. Without them, we wouldn't be working and doing the saga. There's so many times that trilogy books become a movie and the first one bombs, and then that's it. And you're always hopeful that you get to do them all. Especially since we're all in love with our characters. I love Emmett Cullen to death, he's my favorite character I've ever played. It's just so cool to have made it this far, and I think we all hope that we get to finish this series and do Breaking Dawn. This is such a blessing, it's every actor's dream to be part of something like this. It's not terribly hard either. We don't shoot halfway around the world; we don't shoot for a year of our lives. I know a lot of us have homes, we have pets, we have family. And it's really nice to shoot on the West Coast, either Portland or Vancouver, and have the chance to fly down if we need to. But it's definitely amazing to be part of something like this. And I don't think any of us knew how crazy it would be and how exhilarating it would turn out to be. Going to the premiere, really just, wow. I don't even remember it because I was really just starstruck by how many fans and signs and cameras. It felt like I was just walking through a strobe light room. It's amazing.
Ashley: I still think we can't really wrap our heads around what's going on and what's happening. We're still in the midst of filming and kept very busy from one film until the next. It's only these brief moments where you sit back and are actually able to take a breath where you go "Whoa. Wow. This is crazy." I mean, the amount of tickets they've already sold for New Moon — I'm pretty sure I can't even get a ticket if I tried to see my film in Jacksonville and it's mind boggling. We're just very lucky. I went into this film thinking "Oh my gosh, I got a job" and the it turned into the biggest break of my life. I think we all feel very blessed to be a part of this.
- On how it feels to be part of Twilight fan fiction:
Kellan: It's an escape, in a way. We do live in a trivial time period right now. There's so much depression that it's kinda cool to be a part of something where people use it to be an escape. In a way that's kinda what Stephenie did —she had a dream and just elaborated on it. It became a huge success and it's really encouraging that people are doing the same and just making up this journey.
Ashley: That's why people love it so much I think. You can take it and make what you want of it. Before the demographic was teenage girls, but now it's women of every age and guys are starting to get into it, too. It's because there is that element of fantasy. If you're 8 years old you look at it one way; if you're 80 years old you look at it another. I think it's fantastic that we can draw such a huge crowd. The other thing is — it blows my mind but people are making connections over this film and over this book. there are mothers and daughters and grandmas who can all sit and talk about the same story and all fantasize about it and I think that's a really cool thing. I think it's rare.
To see all of our Twilight and New Moon coverage, check out TwilightSugar!