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Daniel Cudmore and Charlie Bewley of Twilight: New Moon - Interview
I realize this is the backhanded way of going about introducing these two actors in what is one the most hyped releases of 2009 but their appearance in the last third of the film’s running time is the best part of the movie.
Really, by the time Edward is thrashed by a very thick and mean Daniel Cudmore who plays part of the vampire royalty in Stephenie Meyer’s series of books about vampires who sparkle in the sun you are just aching for something to happen. The promise of vampiric strength is never really examined at all until we see Daniel provide what is the most delightful moments of the movie. The Volturi, led by the rapturous Michael Sheen who just shines in a role that could have been camped up in keeping with the books themselves, are not only mysterious but actually deliver on the promise of being that community’s judge, jury and executioner. While it would have been delicious to have seen more of this clan it was nonetheless a fantastic experience to sit down with Cudmore and newcomer Charlie Bewley and talk about their roles in this new film.
From the attention, adoration, and scrutiny of teen fans, to knowing how to act when you’re being filmed in slow-motion, to not getting a comp of your own action figure this interview was, at the very least, rewarding to participate in when you consider how casual the two of them treated this experience.
(Special thanks to The Massie Twins of GoneWithTheTwins.com who provided the transcription below)
The Massie Twins: How are you enjoying Arizona? You came here for the one day out of the year when it’s cold.
Daniel Cudmore: I know. It’s supposed to be summer all year here, and it’s a little chilly. It’s better than Vancouver now, which is all rain. I can’t complain.
MT: How was the mall tour yesterday?
DC: The mall tour was wild. They’ve been very, very cool. You see these people who are so passionate about these great books and they haven’t even seen what we’ve done with the characters that we play. They’ve got this blind faith and it’s flattering but also nerve-wracking. You hope you’ve done all your homework.
MT: How many have you gone through so far?
Charlie Bewley: We’ve been to Philly, Seattle and this is the final leg of the tour. They’ve got their actors in the field right now.
Christopher Stipp: Usually as an actor you say “it’s just a job, this is what I do,” but this has its own little sphere of…
CB: Yeah, this is an amazing thing to be involved in. As my first real project, it’s great because there is so much extracurricular obligation. I’ve just signed a contract for next year to do a bunch of appearances. For such a small but great role there are so many things you can do away from the film to keep yourself busy.
MT: Were you guys familiar with the novels before you got involved?
DC: I’d heard some rumblings on the internet when they were casting the first one that I should go out and audition. I didn’t know the world that well. I knew of it, but as soon as I was in the process of auditioning, I sort of delved into it and educated myself on it. I can’t say enough about Stephenie Meyer’s writing.
MT: Had you seen the first movie?
CB: I watched the first movie on the day of my audition. The 27th of January I believe. In an acting sense I had prepared for the role, but I find it’s always useful to watch the films. I had to download the thing because I couldn’t get to the cinema that early in the morning. There’s a very definite style to the way she interprets this world. It’s ethereal yet it’s real.
That probably has a lot to do with the way it was shot – very dingy, very overcast. The first film is a cult film and when it was finished I had an idea of what I needed to do – take that forward and be this Demetri guy. New Moon is very much a Hollywood blockbuster movie and an action film. It should bring a whole new demographic to the Twilight world. I don’t think anyone really understands how big this is going to be. After a week you’re going to get some spare seats in theaters and they’re going to get filled up with guys looking for a good action movie.
MT: Can you guys give us a quick intro into your characters and the Volturi?
CB: Volturi are brought into this because of what happens to Edward. He, very selfishly (the more I think about it, the more angry I get), goes out and tries to dispose of himself. He goes to the Volturi and wants them to kill him. Volturi are the only people who can kill him. He thinks Bella has committed suicide, and… you know the story. But they want his powers and want to take him on board. He says he’ll go out into the world and screw up the whole vampire nation by exposing himself – so he puts his whole family at risk, and everyone else in the vampire kingdom. Aro sends us out to bring him back. We make and enforce the laws.
MT: What are the special powers that each of you have?
CB: I’m a tracker, very much like James’ character in the first one, but my tracking abilities are unlimited which makes me a much more formidable threat, which you’ll see in Breaking Dawn. Demetri gets the standard skill set of being immensely strong, fast, aesthetically pleasing and highly dangerous. I am very much the “good cop” where as Felix is…
DC: Each character gets an extra power, whether it be a tracking ability or mind power, but my character isn’t given a specific power except that he’s just brutally vicious and strong. There isn’t a vampire at his same level and he knows this, so he can have fun with tearing apart other vampires. He knows what he can do and enjoys the heightened strength.
CB: I think that goes for the whole of the Volturi. We’re a very arrogant bunch.
CS: Is it ever difficult to play a superhero type character? Do you ever start laughing after you’ve read a script before you sit down and think, “okay, I’ve got to play this straight. I’m a vampire, I’ve got these superpowers.” Is there every a moment, at least initially, where it’s funny?
DC: For me, sometimes you do get a character who on the surface, you’re like “how am I going to do this?” But you break it down and find the emotion, to the most minimal base. How do I connect. What can I bring to make this real for me. I start with a basic foundation and build it up from there. Everything else is just extra. You make it real to you and everything else goes with it. It doesn’t feel campy. You’ve identified with the emotion. You’re there and everything else builds up the character.
CB: I think if it weren’t for the fact that this is such a huge, phenomenal success and everyone wants to be a vampire right now, then there might be cause for going, “okay, I’m a vampire. This is weird.” But I never got to that stage. I’m a badass vampire! I call my friends at home and say, “Guess what! I’m a vampire!” When I go out onto the street I don’t act like an actor – I think it’s the same for vampires. They are badass vampires, so they don’t have to go out and act like it. These are real people with superhuman abilities and idiosyncrasies that come with being a vampire. Yes I eat human flesh, yes this, yes that. We don’t carry it around like some sort of a tag. Especially the Cullens, they’re real people – that’s why so many people can get into it. When the primal urges come out, you have to act vicious and aggressive. That’s when you can show the vampire side. I’m looking forward to that because it’s a massive contrast to the charming Demetri that I’ve played in this one.
MT: What’s the tone like on the set? Is anyone a prankster? Is Kristin Stewart incredibly eccentric?
CB: Not really. (laughs) There’s not that much to talk about behind-the-scenes. It’s an incredibly professional set. It’s a very high-stakes film with some huge industry talent. There’s not that much room for a prankster running around putting whoopee cushions on Aro’s chair. Case in point, on the set, Chris Weitz, who is normally very calm – we were doing a take and some extras were talking behind the set. Chris lost it. When the nicest guy in the room loses it, you know he’s angry. Off set, there’s some great characters. It was really nice meeting all the Cullens and putting personalities to faces. There’s some nice people, but I wouldn’t say there’s a guy running around pulling people’s pants down.
MT: What’s the craziest or coolest thing a fan has done so far?
DC: Wow. Last night this little girl was crying. It was the most terrible moment of her life mixed with the most emotionally charged, happy moment. It was such a strange feeling. I looked up and…
CB: Yeah, she could have gone any way (laughs)
DC: She like almost fainted, but I touched her hand and she wobbled away. It was the strangest thing, but it was really, really cool.
CB: It’s really hard to understand. We must be like the gods were to the Greek peasants back in the day (laughs).
DC: (laughs) I don’t see myself like that!
CB: (laughs) I’m trying to fathom it in my head, the power status there is between fans and movie stars that could justify the extreme female behavior. Something I can’t get my head around.
DC: And then you go back home and your buddies tear you apart. (laughs) They instantly put you back in your place. It’s hugely flattering, especially when they haven’t seen what you’ve done. It’s also great to have your friends and family knock the pegs right out from underneath you.
CS: Last year Taylor [Lautner] was sitting where you are now. Before that, no one knew who he was. Now he’s on the cover of US Weekly. What’s it like to go from 0 – 100 mph in six months? Are you prepared to be in the same situation with the attention?
CB: I don’t know the answer to that.
DC: I very briefly got to meet and chat with him, but the kid is smart and he’s got a good head on his shoulders. It’s just part of the business and I think he’s done a great job with it. Are you ever ready for this kind of thing? I don’t think so, but if you know who you are, then you’re fine. You’re the product and you promote it like anything else.
MT: Who would win in a fight: Felix or Colossus?
DC: (laughs) Oh man. I think it would… I don’t want to upset anybody. I think it would go on for a very long time and it would be a very cool fight scene. And it would cost a lot of money if they wanted to do that in a movie.
MT: Are you getting your own Twilight action figures, and if so, will you own them?
CB: Damn right! That’s immortalization! This is stage one on my way to my statue! (laughs) We did a publicity day, which we missed for New Moon – which is why you’re not seeing us on all the paraphernalia going around – but we got to go to Italy. We went up on this mini stage and there was some technological setup that took our front, side, profile. And someone was like, “this is for your action figure.” And at that point I was like… Wicked! Sweet! (laughs)
DC: I got one for Colossus, but I didn’t get one. Those guys didn’t send me one, and I’m upset. I want you guys to get this out here and have whoever made those things to send me one.
CB: Just go buy one!
DC: I’m not going to buy one. It’s bull!
CB: I’m going to go to a store and pick one up off the shelf and walk to the cashier and say, “that’s me! That is me.”
DC: Why couldn’t they have just sent me one so I could have it!
MT: Have you guys seen the final cut of the movie?
DC: No. Monday’s the premiere. I’m really excited. It’s going to be huge. Sometimes I don’t want to see it before the premiere.
CB: I’m on the other side – I wish I’d seen it. I’ve got like three agents coming with me and they’re going to be watching me. That’s pressure. I know I’ve made some pretty weird choices in the film. I don’t know if they’re caught on camera or not. Here’s actor naïveté for you: It’s when we rip apart the vampire and Aro’s got the head and we had to film the bit where we have an arm each. We’ve just ripped his arm off and I played the scene in my head and I said “This is one of those slow motion scenes, massively dramatic.” So I thought, “I’ve got to play it in slow motion.” (Charlie acts out ripping apart a vampire in super slow-mo). And I forgot you do everything in real time and they slow it down afterwards. (laughs) So I’m in the car at night with Dan and I’m like, “Shit. I did that scene in slow motion! Was I supposed to? NO!”
DC: I was looking over thinking, “Is he in slow motion? What did he have for lunch?” (laughs)
MT: Well hopefully they can speed it up to put it back into real time.
CB: I can picture someone up at 2:00 in the morning correcting my screw-up. (laughs)
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