‘Twilight’ Tuesday: Nikki Reed Hopes To Make Us Understand What’s Beneath Rosalie’s Beautiful, Hard Exterior

The 'Thirteen' star talks about her character's backstory and why fan encounters used to scare her.

PORTLAND, Oregon — She’s one of the most beautiful women in the world. She’s struggling with the universal search for unconditional love. She really knows how to rock a pair of baseball pants.

At first glance, Nikki Reed and Rosalie Hale seem to have a lot in common. But when we visited the set of “Twilight” and caught up with the most well-known actor in the up-and-coming cast , the amiable 20-year-old was quick to point out where the bloodsucking stops and the flesh-and-blood begins. In a candid conversation about her fears, love and longtime friendship with “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke, Reed reminded MTV News about the acting talent behind the highly anticipated December flick. (By the way, Twilighters, author Stephenie Meyer has a special request for you over at the MTV Movies Blog.)

MTV: So Nikki, in case you haven’t heard: The “Twilight” fans are really geeked over this movie.

Nikki Reed: I had no idea what I was getting myself into! And I mean that in a positive way, but it’s unreal how many people know about this book. Or all three books; soon to be four.

MTV: Have you been getting more love mail or hate mail?

Reed: Um … I get lots of mail. I like to think that it’s all love. [Laughs.]

MTV: I know many fans have come to the set. Did any come up to you?

Reed: The production is keeping us separate, so we can focus and work. But there was one occasion when I accidently locked myself in a hallway, and I was all by myself, and they were rolling. There was no way to see [when the scene was finished], nobody was with me to tell me when they were cutting, so I didn’t want to walk out and ruin the shot. I was sitting in there for like an hour, with a lot of the “Twilight” fans.

MTV: What happened?

Reed: We had a great time. They were just asking me questions. It took a little while to break the ice, and then everyone just thought it was free reign. It was great.

MTV: So you have no problem talking with the fans?

Reed: No, no, no. Honestly, I just get scared sometimes. I get scared, because my character is described as the most beautiful person in the world — the operative words being “the most.” I get a little bit nervous sometimes, because I expect the first question to be: “Do you think you are the most beautiful person in the world?” I get nervous around the “Twilight” fans. They’re intense.

MTV: Since making your film debut in “Thirteen,” you’ve worked with Catherine Hardwicke several times now.

Reed: I have.

MTV: Does she just call you up and say “OK, now we’re working on ‘Twilight’ “?

Reed: I wish it worked like that. I wish, when you’re making a $40 million movie, that you could just call people and go, “Hey, do you want to be in my movie?” Unfortunately, what a lot of people don’t realize is that when you’re making a film, it’s not just the director. There are producers; there are a lot of people that make these decisions. And as nice as it would be for Catherine to be able to call me and just say, “Hey, can I put you in my film?” It doesn’t exactly work like that.

MTV: So then, how have you guys made three movies together in five years?

Reed: I don’t want to say it’s a coincidence, because we do work well together, and we have a great history. I think we make good work, but it’s more that the people that hire her to direct a film of theirs [have] most likely seen her other work. I happen to be in it, so I think I’m just still in their minds. … It goes both ways. Once, I was attached to a film for a long time, and the director fell out. They called me and said, “How about Catherine Hardwicke?”

MTV: Now, you’ll have a trilogy. How have the two of you evolved over the years, in your opinion?

Reed: I think it’s evolved in a nice way. “Thirteen” was very different from this, and then she did “Lords of Dogtown,” which was her second film, and there was a little bit more action in that, and it was pretty intense. There were some special effects and CGI and things involved. And ["Twilight"] is definitely 10 steps beyond that. We’re all getting used to this; I mean, I was flying on cables three days ago!

MTV: Tell us about some of your favorite special effects.

Reed: Well, not only are we supposed to have superhuman strength, but we’re supposed to be graceful. So, we had, like, three weeks of intense training right before we started shooting. There’s a big baseball scene , and for whatever reason the shot looked better if I was batting left-handed, which came at me last minute, no pun intended.

MTV: Had you ever batted lefty before?

Reed: No, I had to learn from scratch. I guess it was a bit easier because I had never played baseball in my life before. And Ashley Greene, who plays Alice, had to learn how to pitch.

MTV: Was the crew standing around forever, waiting for you to finally hit the ball?

Reed: Not on the day [of shooting], because it’s a CGI ball, and it flies a bagillion miles an hour, and thousands of feet. But while I was practicing, I had to learn how to hit the ball. I went to the batting cages. [Laughs.] I would stay far away from me and a bat and a baseball.

MTV: “Twilight” is very different from your traditional vampire stories. How does it feel to lose the teeth, garlic and mirrors?

Reed: I guess that’s a good thing that we’re trying to stay away from clichés. I mean, the teeth would have been fun. That was a huge debate, because it wasn’t in the book, and … we kind of appear normal. I know I look a little pasty, but for the most part, we all look like normal people. … But it wouldn’t work with the story if we didn’t, because that’s the whole point of the Cullen family.

MTV: Tell us about Rosalie’s backstory.

Reed: Well, Rosalie was raped and beaten by her fiance back about 100 years ago, and she almost died. Carlisle found her, and I guess he couldn’t bear to see her bleeding and dying on the ground. And so he changed her into a vampire, because he wanted Edward to have a soul mate. And he thought that we would be great, but for whatever reason, Edward couldn’t fall in love with Rosalie. Rosalie really just wanted to be normal; that’s what she’s always wanted. Even when she was normal, she didn’t want to be as beautiful as she was. She didn’t want to stand out as much as she does. She just wanted to be like an average young woman who got married and had a family.

MTV: And she’s not the happiest vampire in the world.

Reed: Yeah, I think a lot of the anger that she carries is not necessarily coming from a malicious place; it’s coming from more of a place of envy. She just wants to be normal, so when Bella comes into Edward’s life, it’s like she’s not looking at Bella in a vicious way, it’s kind of like, “I want to be you.”

MTV: Many of the Cullens aren’t too thrilled with the way things worked out.

Reed: Alice is the only one that is living in a bubbly world, because she doesn’t remember what it’s like to be a person. The rest of us are sitting around going, “We didn’t have a choice. We didn’t choose this. Carlisle chose this for us.” And so, [the actors] are all playing that a little bit. There’s an underlying resentment.

MTV: We all know that Rosalie’s story is developed greatly in the sequels. What’s the scene you’re most eager to shoot?

Reed: It’s chapter seven, in book three, I believe.

MTV: Wow! You’re good.

Reed: [Laughs.] It’s the scene where I sit down with Bella and finally just explain to her [my motivations]. I become more of a person, and I explain to her why I don’t want her to want to be one of us so bad. Because she doesn’t understand what she’s getting herself into. I’m really looking forward to that, because I want to humanize her a little bit. … I want to make her a more understandable character.

MTV: Obviously, the key to the whole story is the romance between Edward and Bella.

Reed: Yeah, it’s totally the “Romeo and Juliet” of the vampire-human world.

MTV: There’s a lot of pressure on Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson to pull it off. How have they done?

Reed: Well, first and foremost, we all had to walk into this and let all that go. If we were to think about every [fan] remark that was made, or every comment that was made, it would drive us all mad.

MTV: What themes have they tapped into in the love story?

Reed: Well, it’s a completely unrealistic, yet completely relatable situation. Because that’s what people want in life, is to be loved unconditionally. At the end of the day, that’s our sole purpose and our sole reason for existing, is to love somebody else. … What Bella and Edward have is that, unperfected. With all the flaws they have, it’s completely flawless. With all the obstacles — he being a vampire and she’s a human — it’s like their connection is undeniable. There’s a lot of expectations, and there’s a lot of pressure on Kristen and Rob, but I think they’re doing a fantastic job.

Every Tuesday is “Twilight” Tuesday here at MTV News! Check back here each and every week for the hottest scoop on the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s beloved vampire series, and we’ll still bring you breaking “Twilight” news throughout the rest of the week. And make sure you check out the MTV Movies Blog for our ongoing “Twilight” discussions each and every day.

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