But here on “Twilight” Tuesday, the Cullens always get the final word. So it is with great pleasure that we turn this week’s spotlight on Peter Facinelli , the affable actor who recently revisited the “Twilight” universe to put the finishing touches on his portrayal of the family’s patriarch.
In this excusive interview, the actor from such shows as “Six Feet Under” and “Damages” (and real-life loving husband to “90210” star Jennie Garth) revealed the Babe Ruth ad lib that might make it into the movie, his alliance to Team Edward, and the hilarious practical joke he played on co-star Jackson Rathbone.
MTV: First off, give us your take on Carlisle.
Peter Facinelli: Carlisle Cullen is about 348 years old, but he doesn’t look a day over 200. He’s the father of the Cullen family, which is a small little vampire family in this town of Forks, Washington. He’s started this little coven and tries to fit in with the humans instead of living the natural vampire world of feeding on humans. He’s a vegetarian with his family, and they feed on animals.
MTV: And he’s very philanthropic for a vampire. He’s turned a lot of people over the years, but for good reasons.
Facinelli: Yeah, all the people he’s ever turned into vampires have been either sick or dying, so I thought I was doing them a favor by giving them the gift of immortality. It’s not like he’s a bad guy at all.
MTV: Had you read the books before you got the gig?
Facinelli: I read [“Twilight”] right before I met with Catherine Hardwicke. I read the book in one day; I couldn’t put it down. It was fantastic.
MTV: You had your own little cram session?
Facinelli: Yeah, they didn’t have the script available; they just had some audition pages, and I was like, “I don’t know what this is about.” So I read the book, and I really enjoyed it.
MTV: Were you into vampires anyway?
Facinelli: Well, here’s an interesting story: About four weeks before the audition process, I was reading a book about vampires in Hollywood through all the ages. Like 50 years of vampires! It was in an office. I was flipping through it, and I thought, “Wow!” I was never a big fan of vampire movies, until I flipped through that book and saw how beautiful they were and the mystery of it all. It’s turned into a lot of gore and guts nowadays in a lot of vampire movies, [but] when I read “Twilight,” it reminded me of the old movies when vampires were mysterious and had sexual undertones, and it was more of a beautiful vampire tale instead of the horror genre, which I liked.
MTV: What’s it like playing father to people who are only a few years younger than you?
Facinelli: Oh, you’re too kind. I’ve actually got about a decade on all these kids. And I have kids myself, so it’s not hard paying the father role. We’ve all bonded, and they all call me Dad.
MTV: Have you tried to go off the script a bit and sneak in references to Carlisle’s 350-year-long history? Maybe tell a story about the time you were hanging out with Abe Lincoln?
Facinelli: Well, I don’t know if it will make it in the movie, but I made reference to a time when I met Babe Ruth during the baseball scene.
MTV: A lot of the actors had to undergo some intense stunt training. Did you?
Facinelli: You know, I didn’t have that much wirework. But I had doctor training! I can do operations now. So if you ever need anything … like a spleen checked or your liver removed, I’m here.
MTV: That will come in handy if my appendicitis acts up! So if the “Twilight” sequels get made, what’s the one scene from the other books that you can’t wait to shoot?
Facinelli: I would say I’m looking forward to the scene where the werewolves and the vampires team up to fight some bad vampires. That would be a fun sequence to shoot.
MTV: Are you Team Edward, Team Jacob or Team Switzerland?
Facinelli: [Laughs.] Well, I’d have to go Team Edward. But [my character is] so biased. I mean, as a fan of the book, I’m Team Switzerland. But sitting here playing Dr. Carlisle? I have to go Team Edward.
MTV: If there were such a thing as vampires, would you want to be changed?
Facinelli: Wow. I like the idea of immortality, but that is a tough question. Someone asked me what age I’d like to be changed at, and that is a tough one. I kept changing my answer: “18. No, 23. No, 26. No, 30. Ahh.” It was like, “Anywhere between 18 and 40, I think.” I like the idea of immortality, but I don’t like the idea of drinking other people’s blood or living off of animal’s blood. That’s kind of nasty.
MTV: If you were a vampire, would you want to go vegetarian, or would you go old-school?
Facinelli: Again, you’re catching me on a day when I’m all in-character, so I have to say vegetarian. The thought of eating someone else’s blood is gross to me. But animal blood? Warm animal blood? That’s not so great either. I guess I’d have to go with the animal blood.
MTV: Who is the biggest prankster among the “Twilight” stars?
Facinelli: Edi Gathegi [who plays Laurent] was the big jokester. … He does all these voices, so he would call me [on the phone] and pretend like he was different people. Like, he called my room and said he was some girl named Suzie, and I was like, “Who is this?” This is a funny story: One day I told him to call Jackson Rathbone and do Suzie for him and say he was Suzie from the production office. So he called and said, “Hey, this is Suzie from the production office. We just want to tell you that we’re dying your hair back to brown, because we don’t like the blond hair.”
MTV: That’s hilarious, because Jackson was already going through hell trying to find the right hairdo.
Facinelli: Yeah, and this was early in the production. [Jackson] was like, “Oh, OK.” And he was actually on the phone with his manager, so he clicked over and was like, “Oh, yeah, they just called me. They’re dying my hair back.” And his manager goes, “Oh, thank God. I hated you with blond hair!” And then [Edi] called them back and was like, “It’s just me.” And [Jackson] had to call his manager back to say it’s not real. And the manager was totally backpedaling! Jackson said it was funny.
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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