BEVERLY HILLS, California — In Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling “Twilight” novels, the beautiful and mysterious Cullen family prefers to keep a low profile, an unfortunate byproduct of being a band of bloodthirsty, immortal vampires. In real life, however, the red-hot actors whose film finally opens this weekend have had their schedules jam-packed the past few weeks with TV-show tapings , public appearances and Monday night’s premiere .
One of our favorite recent, public moments occurred this past weekend at the “TwilightLive” fan conference, where Peter Facinelli, Jackson Rathbone and others appeared before 500 screaming fans. Another happened a few days earlier at a press conference, when the actors got together to talk about Robert Pattinson’s awkward baseball skills, 36-hour hair-dyeing sessions and where their careers go from here. Check it out!
Q: So, guys, tell us about the physical transformations you went through in the film.
Peter Facinelli: We did, like, a week of testing all the different kinds of makeup. The makeup team was phenomenal, and the actors were very patient. We worked it out. But they had some kind of gadget from Japan — it was an ionizer, and it was weird because, as they put the makeup on you, if they touched you, you would get shocked. It was one of those things where you had to be very careful but, then again, it was early in the morning, so if you did get shocked, it woke you up a little bit. The makeup was part of the transformation. For me, it was “blond in a bottle.” That took a good day at the salon.
Nikki Reed: You’re lucky.
Facinelli: Yeah, some of us had to go back to the salon more than others. With the touch-ups, with the roots, it was a lot of high maintenance, but it was a fun transformation. It was fun to see myself looking so differently with the contact lenses, with the light skin. I remember getting washed up at the end of the night and someone had seen me, and they didn’t know I had just played Dr. Cullen all day long, and they were like, “That was you?” So that was fun.
Q: Any bloopers you can tell us about?
Reed: Ashley hit a cameraman with a baseball.
Ashley Greene: [Laughs.] I did.
Reed: I had to fly on the cables while I was running, and it wasn’t until I was up in the air that I realized that my arms and legs aren’t coordinated. Like, I don’t know which arm goes with which leg when I’m in the air.
Q: Any food fights in the cafeteria?
Reed: That was not allowed. Hair and makeup would have killed us!
Jackson Rathbone: We had the “Cloud Dance,” though. We were fighting the weather, and we can’t be in direct sunlight because of certain vampire tendencies.
Greene: We had to prepare [to shoot] four days at once when we had weather cover.
Reed: There was a lot of hanging out, a lot of contacts being stuck in eyeballs. We had to pull contacts out of eyes. I was at the hair salon [forever]. I don’t know if any of you have seen a photo of me as Rosalie, but, yeah, it took 36 hours for me to become half-blond, and that was just half of my head!
Q: Could you tell us about any embarrassing moments?
Facinelli: You’ll have to ask Rob [Pattinson] about embarrassing moments. His baseball stuff was embarrassing. [Laughs.] He had never played baseball, so it was very awkward for him to squat. It was basically fun yet painful to watch him go through that. But he finally got it, and he looked great at it. To his credit, he had a week to learn to play the game.
Q: Were the contact lenses painful?
Facinelli: [Kellan Lutz] has very small eyes, and they gave him contacts that were, like, [tiny].
Kellan Lutz: And I’d never worn glasses or contacts, but my whole family has, and they told me, “Oh, it’ll be easy.” But it was really tough. I wasn’t able to [put them in] myself.
Facinelli: We had two people tying him down in a chair.
Lutz: They were prying my eyes open, saying, “Think happy thoughts!” I don’t know what they did, but they got them in.
Q: When someone would say the word “vampire” to you before “Twilight,” what movies or TV shows came to mind?
Rathbone: “The Lost Boys.”
Greene: “Interview with the Vampire.”
Facinelli: I say “Underworld,” because that was my idea of a vampire movie before “Twilight.” It was all fangs and gore and guts. When I read “Twilight,” it was more of a throwback to the Bela Lugosi [films] — beautiful images and sensuality and mystique — which was what I liked about it.
Q: Elizabeth, was it hard getting into the mind-set of being their mother when you’re only 33 years old?
Elizabeth Reaser: I think the backstory with [Esme] was pretty specific in the book — although I have not read the fourth book yet — of her tragic life and Carlisle saving her. She’s a really loving and warm character, which is easy to conjure up with all of these cute little nuggets [playing my kids]. I have three nephews, and I just thought about them a lot. It was kind of fun to have Nikki call me “mom.”
Q: Are the Cullens signed on for all four movies?
Reed: Three. We’re signed for three. The fourth book wasn’t out [when we signed our contracts], so it’s three.
Q: What can you tell us about your upcoming films?
Greene: I’m going back and forth to Louisiana, working on this film called “Skateland.” It’s a fun ’80s [movie], so I get to have all the hair and makeup for that. It’s a coming-of-age-type film.
Rathbone: I just flew back in from London filming a little movie called “Dread,” a psychological thriller. Shaun Evans is another castmember, from “Boy A” and “Being Julia.” It was actually a first-time director and writer, and it was incredible. I got taken around the English countryside. I didn’t get to go into London much, but I picked up a few terms here and there.
Facinelli: I’m doing a new Showtime series called “Nurse Jackie” with Edie Falco. I play Dr. Cooper, another doctor. I’ve graduated from cop roles, and now I only play doctors. It’s quite a different doctor than Dr. Cullen. [The show] is exciting, and it’s a dramedy, and it’s different in that Dr. Carlisle is this calm presence, very knowledgeable and the patriarch of a family, but Dr. Cooper is just a nervous wreck. [He’s] a guy who exudes confidence on the outside, but on the inside, he has no idea what he’s doing.
Q: Why do we find vampires so intriguing?
Rathbone: There’s a danger in that. If you can live forever, maybe you don’t appreciate the life that you have. What the Cullen family has come to realize is that with their immortality, they’ve lost their humanity, the ability to fulfill their lives.
Facinelli: [People are attracted to] the immortality, the sensuality, the hidden sexuality of it all. That makes it intriguing — for me and, hopefully, for you.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Twilight.”
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