PORTLAND, Oregon — When it comes to “Twilight” Tuesday here at MTV, we try to operate on one simple motto: Ask, and ye shall receive.
In virtually every article we’ve written covering the upcoming “Twilight” movie, there’s one comment we can count on receiving: “Give us more Kellan Lutz!” And although the 23-year-old actor isn’t a household name, a quick search of sites like Kellmett Happens and the Twilight Lexicon Forum show the type of love that has had Twilighters sending gift baskets to Lutz ever since he landed the role of burly teddy bear Emmett Cullen. (Lutz expresses his genuine appreciation of enthusiastic “Twilight” fans in the MTV Movies blog.)
As you’ll see from this on-set interview with MTV, Lutz (who’s also on the new “90210″ this fall ) is an endearingly normal guy who nevertheless takes his acting — and Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series — very seriously. As he reveals a love for “Bill & Ted,” the missing “Twilight” moment he’s eager to shoot and the circumstances that nearly made him miss the gig, something tells us the Twilighters will suck this up like fresh blood.
MTV: Give us your take on Emmett.
Kellan Lutz: All right, Emmett is the coolest guy of them all, that’s pretty much it. [Laughs.] No, he’s the protector; he’s like the doorman for the family. He’s really just there to protect and lighten everything up that Rosalie throws at the family. She’s the emotional letdown; she really brings everyone down. Carlisle will be like, “Emmett, take care of her.” He’s really just the protector, the goofball. He’s there to make them laugh, and he’s there to have a good time.
MTV: And at the same time, you seem to have an animal ferocity, especially in that garage scene we watched you shoot.
Lutz: Yeah, in the garage scene, that’s really just to kick some butt. Jasper and myself, we’re the fighters. He was a general in his day, and Emmett is a fighter, so it’s really a thrill to go hunting these vampires. He’s really excited; he’s one to just go tear something apart.
MTV: What’s the one scene you shot that you’re most eager to see up on the big screen?
Lutz: Well, I did the stunt work in the baseball scene, where they pulled me up pretty high on a harness and had me freefall, catch a ball and throw it back in. We did that, gosh, 20 times. I’m in these crappy shoes, and my ankles are killing me, but it was a cool shot, so it was worth it to get.
MTV: Has director Catherine Hardwicke taken on a “den mother” persona with all you guys?
Lutz: Catherine is extremely cool. She’s so laid-back, and I think that’s one of the cool things we all enjoy. She gives us a lot of freedom. Yes, she tells us where to go and end up. But she really allows us [to develop ourselves]. She tells me, “All right, go be crazy. Go have fun, go put energy in the scene.” She lets us do our thing and just be our characters.
MTV: Which scene from the sequels are you dying to shoot?
Lutz: The third book, where we get to annihilate everyone — that’s what I can’t wait to do. Hopefully, we get to a third movie, where Jasper and I kick everyone’s butt. … I focus mainly on the Emmett stuff.
MTV: So in each movie, you have a favorite Emmett scene?
Lutz: Yeah. [Laughs.] That’s pretty much how it is; the three coolest scenes with Emmett are the coolest for me. … I wish I was in every scene, to be part of every moment.
MTV: What’s the scene in “New Moon” you’re most eager to shoot?
Lutz: The one in the second book is when Bella hurts herself, and I make fun of her. That will be awesome to do.
MTV: But otherwise, you’re big on the carnage, huh?
Lutz: Yes. I mean, that’s all Emmett is really there for. In a way, he’s an important character in the book, and without him, it wouldn’t tie the family in as much as he does. If you left anyone out, [the Cullens] wouldn’t be complete, in a way. … But Emmett is there to crack jokes and beat someone up.
MTV: What will the special effects look like in these big action scenes?
Lutz: There are no special effects, they hire me to do everything. [Laughs.] No, I wish. The special effects are going to be cool. We wear contacts, which bug the hell out of me. I’ve never worn contacts, but they’re saving a lot of time and effort, in that they won’t have to special-effect [our vampire eyes]. But as far as all the other stuff, the flying and the fight sequence stuff? It’s going to be cool, but it’s PG-13, so not so much blood and gore.
MTV: The other day I interviewed Keanu Reeves, and people are still asking him about “Bill & Ted,” 20 years later. If “Twilight” is as big a hit as some people think it’s going to be, are you prepared for such long-term fanaticism?
Lutz: That’s brilliance! “Bill & Ted” I love. To be honest, I have no idea what’s going to come of this. If it’s going to be a cult-like following, where we all have to move to Hawaii or something, that’s cool. I’m up for it. It’s not going to change me in any way. Bring it on. It’s going to be cool to see.
MTV: Is there anything that you are into, pop-culture-wise?
Lutz: I love “Battlestar Galactica.” I’m obsessed with that show; it’s brilliant. I just love everything about space. But I’m not really hard-core into “Star Wars” or “Star Trek,” just “Battlestar Galactica.” That’s my show.
MTV: What has been the hardest part about shooting the movie?
Lutz: Probably working six-day shoots, waking up at 4, wrapping at 10 and waking up at 4 again. I don’t sleep much. But to come home and not have more than three hours of sleep, because I just can’t sleep after being on the set, that’s tough. As far as shooting on set, it’s the weather. … Some days, it will hail out of the blue, and then snow, and then hail and then rain, and we’re like, “Continuity! The girls can’t get their hair wet!” So then we’ve got to stop and shoot the next day.
MTV: Are you the type of actor who keeps a copy of the book with you on set, or just the script?
Lutz: What we’re doing is the script, and a lot of the stuff is somewhat different than the book. … I have the book at home, but I bring the script to set.
MTV: Cutting a 500-page book into a 120-page script is tough, and inevitably some things have to be cut. Is there any chopped-out scene or line involving Emmett that you’re like: “Damn, I loved that part.”
Lutz: Stephenie Meyer had an outtake that she took out of the book, and it’s labeled “Emmett and the Bear,” which I read on her Web site. I thought it was brilliant, and I really wish it were in the book. It’s about the relationship development between Edward and Emmett, and I really wish we could have shown that on camera.
MTV: When you auditioned, were you always going out for the part of Emmett?
Lutz: The audition for this was actually a pretty funny story. I was away in Africa, shooting a miniseries for HBO called “Generation Kill.” We were there for seven months, and I believe the script came out in October, while I was over there, and I didn’t finish [in Africa] until December. I remember my team sending me out for Edward, because, obviously, he’s the lead. Which is funny, because Emmett I could book in a heartbeat.
MTV: Why do you think so?
Lutz: That’s me, day in and day out. I love life, and yet I love beating people up. [Laughs.] I missed that [Emmett] audition while I was over there. It’s tough putting yourself on tape while your head is shaved. So, I was bummed [because] I really loved Emmett, and when I came back, the role of Emmett was already cast. But just my luck, the guy for Emmett fell through, and they opened it up one day on a Monday. I went in on Tuesday and auditioned with, like, 10 other guys, and Catherine wanted to see me! So she flew me out to Oregon the next day, I auditioned for her, and she gave it to me. I’m very lucky.
MTV: Wow! Now you’ve become one of these great Lou Gehrig-subbing-for-Wally-Pipp-like stories.
Lutz: I know, right? Exactly.
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.