Check out Peter Facinelli’s message board on IMDb, and one of the first headlines you’ll see is “Mike Dexter cannot play Carlisle!” But, believe it or not, Facinelli is an actor, and he firmly believes that his iconic jerk from “Can’t Hardly Wait” and the sensitive, kind Carlisle Cullen can share the same body.
Now, a decade after he burst onto the scene as a jerky jock in the film that launched the careers of everyone from Seth Green to Jaime Pressly to Jason Segel and Selma Blair, “Can’t Hardly Wait” is back for a 10th-anniversary DVD. Looking back on the role that started it all, and ahead to the “Twilight” movie that will take his career to the next level November 21, the affable actor spoke with us recently about locking himself in a tool shed, buying off the “Twilight” director for 30 bucks, and what would happen if Mike and Carlisle were to meet.
MTV: Most teen movies come and go so fast. Why do people still care about “Can’t Hardly Wait” a decade later?
Peter Facinelli: I think people just identify with the movie. I remember in high school there were the cliques. Every table at lunch had a different group. … I still get people that are going through high school now, and they’re like, “I love ’Can’t Hardly Wait!’ ” And I’m like, “You were 5 when that movie came out!”
MTV: We learn from the bonus features on this new disc that you landed your role after walking into the audition room and … doing push-ups?
Facinelli: [Laughs.] Yeah, when you’re younger, you just want to walk in and be the role. [The casting people] laughed, but I ended up getting the part. So I guess it was a good call.
MTV: Have you ever done something like that, but it didn’t work?
Facinelli: Oh, I’ve done some really crazy things for auditions. There was a movie called “Return to Paradise” that Joaquin Phoenix ended up doing. You’re going to think I’m completely insane, but it was about a guy who was put in prison abroad for selling drugs. … I locked myself up in a shed for three days, and I had my wife come out and feed me. I went straight from the shed to my audition, so I was freaking out because I was paranoid. It was a great audition, but Joaquin ended up getting it.
MTV: You have this classic moment in “Can’t Hardly Wait” where Mike Dexter enters the movie and declares, “It’s like I always say,” and then belches. So can you burp on cue?
Facinelli: No, that was a complete post-production thing!
MTV: So you belched later in a sound booth?
Facinelli: No, that’s literally some foley person — or maybe some kind of electronic burp? I don’t know. I can’t burp on cue.
MTV: Take us through this scenario: Imagine that the plot of “Can’t Hardly Wait 2” has the nerds fatally wounding Mike Dexter. He’s stumbling around in the woods, bloody, and is discovered by Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Would Carlisle turn him?
Facinelli: [Laughs.] No, I don’t think Carlisle would transform Mike Dexter [into a vampire]. I think he’d have to let Mike Dexter go. Carlisle doesn’t have that much compassion.
MTV: If Carlisle took pity and bit him, he’d have to spend all of eternity hanging out with a vampire Mike Dexter.
Facinelli: Exactly! That would not be good. I think Carlisle’s compassion lies in humanity — so he’d have to let Mike Dexter die. It would serve all of humankind. Besides, there’s so much beer in the bloodstream that he’d totally get drunk off Mike Dexter’s blood.
MTV: Did you do anything crazy for your “Twilight” audition?
Facinelli: It wasn’t crazy, but I’ll tell you what I did: I was reading for Carlisle, and I read [“Twilight”] in a day and absolutely loved the book. I went in and read for [director] Catherine [Hardwicke], and I did a good job, and Catherine had a small list of actors that she wanted to play the role. Unfortunately, the role didn’t go to me.
Facinelli: Yeah, when the role went to someone else, I was pretty bummed, but I really liked Catherine. I owned a vampire book that [depicted] 50 years of vampire moviemaking throughout the years in Hollywood. It was an old-school book. I sent it to Catherine just to say, “Hey, maybe this can inspire you while doing the movie,” thinking that the role was done and gone. But the other actor was working on another movie and couldn’t do [“Twilight”], so when it was time to go back to the short list, Catherine was looking at my book. She was like: “What about Peter Facinelli?” As I’ve told Catherine, I bought my way into “Twilight” for $29.90.
MTV: The other actor was Matthew McConaughey, wasn’t it?
Facinelli: [Laughs.] No, but close. It was a name actor, but he was, like, 10 years older than me. Physically, I don’t think he was right for it.
MTV: Everyone is eager for info about the reshoots on “Twilight.” How did they go?
Facinelli: Mine is basically a scene that shows us meeting the Indian tribe on their land and forming a treaty.
MTV: Did you enjoy wearing the 1930s clothes?
Facinelli: Yeah, I had on Old English hunting pants with high boots and an old ’30s cap.
MTV: Is Kellan Lutz wearing a zoot suit?
Facinelli: No. [Laughs.] Kellan pretty much had on the same ’30s vest and collared shirts, and it looked like we were out hunting.
MTV: We’ve heard that the scene will just be a visual, showing us the moment while a voice-over explains the treaty. So did you guys even have lines?
Facinelli: We were saying lines here and there. You never know if they’re going to end up using them or just using a voice-over. … We are at the disposal of the editing room. They put the final cut together. You do a bunch of stuff, and then they pick and choose. We tried different things — I even tried speaking in Indian, because I thought when I met the Indians, it’d be cool if Carlisle spoke a little native tongue.
MTV: Did you just make up words?
Facinelli: No, there were some real Native Americans there that gave me a couple of lines.
MTV: What were you saying?
Facinelli: I said something like, “Wait! We come in peace!” — or something like that.
MTV: Maybe the footage could make it on to the “Twilight” DVD. Have you heard anything about bonus features yet?
Facinelli: I know that they have a ton of footage, because we had a behind-the-scenes videographer there the whole time. … Hopefully, if the fans petition, they’ll come out with a documentary on the behind-the-scenes as a separate little DVD.
MTV: It could be like the documentary on the behind-the-scenes insanity of “Apocalypse Now.”
Facinelli: Yeah, we’ll have our own “Hearts of Darkness” version of “Twilight”!
MTV: Is there any Facinelli footage of you losing it behind the scenes?
Facinelli: No. [Laughs.] I don’t think so. But there might be. You’d have to check with the videographer on that.
MTV: Any Mike Dexter moments where everybody turned against you?
Facinelli: I think someone might have called me a f– [like somebody did to Mike Dexter in “Can’t Hardly Wait”]. I’m looking around and screaming, “Did someone just call Carlisle a f–?”
MTV: You’re like, “Pattinson! I know it’s you!”
Facinelli: Yeah, and then Carlisle screams, “I’ll kick everyone’s ass in this room!”
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