SANTA MONICA, California — When last we saw
"It was a tiny little independent film — did moderately well in the box office," Gathegi laughed when he stopped by the MTV News studios for an exclusive interview to discuss "New Moon" and his latest movie, "My Bloody Valentine 3-D." Asked how his life has changed in the seven weeks since the vampire flick's record-breaking opening weekend, he grinned and said: "I've gotten a lot of MySpace requests."
Gathegi has also been spending a lot of time on YouTube and is particularly fond of a fan-made video that uses footage from various movies to continue Laurent's journey. "Yeah, I saw that," Gathegi said. "These fans are so passionate that they will spend time in their homes, editing splices together, because they're so in love with the story."
And, speaking of love, any good Twilighter knows that in "New Moon," Laurent meets Irina, a Denali sister whose actions will impact the future movies. That YouTube video casts "Tristan + Isolde" beauty Sophia Myles as Irina — a choice that would greatly please Gathegi.
"She's a good choice. I could be happy with that," he said of the 28-year-old Brit. "I like her work. ... Now I'm not going to be able to get her out of my mind for that character."
Of the soon-to-be-cast role, Gathegi said Irina should be "extremely vulnerable, as I think that's what leads her to make the choices that she makes. She should also be hard-headed. Vulnerable and hard-headed. But I think those are things that a good actress can do, so type-wise, I don't even know. I don't even think people saw me as Laurent for a while. So just let the best actress win, I say."
Speaking about his castmates, with whom he'll soon be reuniting, Gathegi said, "It's a 'Twilight' family. We were together for press junkets and tours, and this has been eight months together, ever since we shot in March. We've just been with each other constantly. And then we're going to go into the next one, and then they're going to do [parts] three and four, God willing. These are, like, lifelong friends at this point."
Just moments before the interview, Gathegi's phone went off. When the actor started laughing and showed us the caller ID, we saw that it was the one-and-only Taylor Lautner on the other end. "Taylor and I are going to his parents' place for dinner tonight — and then go to the gym," he said, adding that the duo were getting together to celebrate Lautner's recent re-signing as Jacob Black. "We're going to celebrate tonight. ... You should see this kid! He's jacked. He's taking it seriously.
"We've worked out in every city on our tour," Edi said of his 16-year-old spotter. "If you see him, you'll know immediately. This kid is so strong right now, it is unreal. He has achieved with his body what people with steroids cannot achieve. The only way I can describe it is that God has given him this time for this growth spurt and this body right now."
As for the rest of Laurent's "New Moon" arc, Gathegi said he's looking forward to "being fully bad. Not just halfway bad. I like the transition from being conscious and compassionate, to ['New Moon' when Laurent realizes] that's too difficult. I've got to be a vampire."
Commenting on the directorial musical chairs, Gathegi said he has yet to meet the new man in charge of the series, Chris Weitz. "Catherine [Hardwicke] was a doll. I loved that woman. I think she made the decisions she made for her reasons," he said. "Now I'm looking forward to the future. I'm looking forward to working with Chris. I think he's very capable. He's got that experience with huge pictures, with 'The Golden Compass.' He's going to make it beautiful. I loved 'American Pie,' so his track record is very promising for me. And I heard he's great with actors. I think 'New Moon' is going to be really good. ... He's up to his neck in things to do, so he's not concerned with [meeting with the returning actors yet]. We'll meet on set."
As for the moment, Gathegi said only half-jokingly, he's just trying to get a script to read. "I'm going to fire someone, because Robert [Pattinson] read it. He's like a supporting role in the freakin' film!" the actor smiled, threatening to call Mr. Pattinson on his cell phone. "Nah, he's in London now. I don't want to make any long-distance calls. I'm cheap."
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