In the best-selling book “Twilight,” tormented teen Isabella Swan learns the dark secrets of charismatic vampire Edward Cullen mere moments after he looks deep into her eyes and asks: “Do I dazzle you?” Now, the film version has landed several dazzling new names of its own.
MTV News has confirmed that Nikki Reed (“Thirteen”), Rachelle Lefevre (“What About Brian”), Cam Gigandet (“The O.C.”) and Michael Welch (“Joan of Arcadia”) have been cast in the soon-to-shoot flick based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestseller. They join the previously cast Justin Chon, Anna Kendrick, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart — who revealed to us recently that the film will aim to launch a franchise based on the series’ novels.
The biggest of these new names is Reed, who will be reuniting with “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke after working with her on “Lords of Dogtown” and the film that launched both of their careers, 2003′s “Thirteen.” The 19-year-old actress will be playing Rosalie Hale, a 90-year-old vampire with the perpetual appearance of an 18-year-old. A close friend of Edward’s (Pattinson), Rosalie rolls into Forks High School in the family’s silver Volvo, sits with the Cullen clan in the cafeteria and shares a complicated love story with Emmett and Edward Cullen.
Although Lefevre is an acting veteran with nearly 40 TV and film credits in the U.S. and her native Canada, the highly anticipated “Twilight” will likely become the biggest role of her young career. Following appearances on everything from “Brian” to “CSI: NY” to “How I Met Your Mother,” she’ll appear in the flick as Victoria, one of the ruthless vampire villains of the series. Lefevre’s red hair would seem to be spot-on for the flame-headed, catlike vampire who assists James in an attack on Bella that will make her thirst for a bloody revenge of her own in the sequels.
Speaking of James, the tracker vampire who insists on human blood rather than the animals many vampires use to suppress their hunger, the pivotal role has been assigned to Gigandet (pronounced gee-gone-DAY). A hunky 25-year-old born in the novel’s setting of Washington state, Gigandet portrayed surfer Kevin Volchok on “The O.C.” and was most recently seen in the flick “Who’s Your Caddy?” In the “Twilight” universe, joining the ranks of the undead does wonders for your looks — accordingly, James is described as an unremarkable human transformed into an average-looking vampire.
Welch, meanwhile, will play Mike Newton, one of several Forks High students who find themselves competing for Bella’s attention when she moves to the rain-soaked town. Described as having a baby face, the human asks Bella to the big school dance, then resorts to copying Edward’s style in order to win her heart. His story is also expected to continue into the “Twilight” film sequels.
In the next few weeks, several of the film’s key characters are expected to be cast, including Jasper Hale, Billy Black, Jacob Black and Charlie Swan. The mysterious Cullen family, meanwhile, is expected to be revealed next week.
“Twilight” is currently beginning production in the Portland, Oregon, area and is targeting a late 2008/ early 2009 release.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Twilight.”
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.