The vampires like my outfit. The interview is only 30 seconds old, and their powers of seduction are already in play. Part of the allure of the Twilight series – now a film franchise, with highly anticipated sequel New Moon due out November 20 – is that the vampires created by author Stephanie Meyer are the Casanovas of the undead. They’re charming, elegant, even thoughtful: they date teenage girls without killing them. Couple that with a cast of hot Hollywood teens and twentysomethings putting faces to names, and it’s no wonder Twilight is a franchise (one that’s also putting tiny Forks, Wash. on the map. Read more here.)
In the latest installment, a group of actual blood-sucking vampires – the Volturi – threaten the lives of heroes Edward and Bella (paparazzi-fodder Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart). But beware: Even the evil ones are charming, according to 28-year-old Daniel Cudmore and “Don’t ask my age” Charlie Bewley, who were in Seattle last Thursday to talk about their roles as Volturi guards Felix and Demetri, and their wild ride on the Twilight machine.
Tell me about your characters.
DC: Felix is part of the Volturi – he’s one of the guards. He works with Demetri – they’re a team – and they’re sent out to take in vampires who have broken the rules. And this teamwork has worked like clockwork for hundreds and hundreds of years. He’s just viciously strong, and primal, and aggressive, and obviously confident because he’s never found a foe he hasn’t been able to tear apart.
CB: I see Demetri as the most elite vampire in the world, as he’s essentially protecting the most elite coven [vampire family]. I played [him] as this very nonchalant, arrogant vampire, charming – very, very charming, according to the books. I uphold the good cop to Felix’s bad cop. We revel and play.
How do you prepare to play a monster? I would imagine Method acting is out.
DC: It was very much Method acting. I haven’t slept.
CB: I went around bullying kids.
DC: I kind of took it from an emotional place. If I was this character, where would I kind of be emotionally…
Do vampires, um, have emotions?
DC: Yeah, I think we do. In the books, it says he’s very mean, and I interpret that as angry about something. What is he angry about? I feel like he has this special power of being strong, but he’s not a tracker, and he doesn’t have the ability to do mind control, or read thoughts [like newcomers Alec and Jane]. … There’s jealousy and anger, and you kind of build from that.
CB: I just didn’t see Demetri as a monster, really, and I think that’s why this set of books is so accessible to a contemporary, young audience. … [Vampires] have been very subculture…but these are the most lifelike re-creation or interpretation of vampires going so far. They take away the fangs, but they have these eyes – they’re a portal to your soul. You have the Cullens [Edward’s family] who are very bright-eyed, yellow, friendly vampires, while we’re dangerous, evil characters [with red eyes].
Speaking of the Cullens: The actors playing those characters have been through this media onslaught once together already. Was it hard breaking into the crowd? Like being a freshman at Vampire College?
CB: There’s no doubt that they’re a tight group and they all get along, this very celebrated batch of Hollywood kids. Walking into that was difficult — it’s human nature for it to be slightly cliquey…
DC: But at the same time, we’re not in high school, right? This is a job and everyone understands that they have a job to do. … They were very receptive, and just enjoyed bringing new people into this whole Twilight beast.
Have you gotten caught in the hype surrounding Twilight yet?
CB: It’s more so the thirst for information from new characters. I went to London, where I had four days free. I called up my publicist and the next day I had a car, a hotel room for the week, and probably 2 dozen interviews lined up. People just want to know about this thing, and they want to feel like they’re on the inside; the demand for this stuff is huge right now and it’s only going to get bigger.
DC: I’m thrilled. I’m just ready to ride this whole wave.
CB: Because right now we’re in the eye of the storm.
Have to ask: Team Edward or Team Jacob?
CB: Team Demetri!
DC: Team Felix.
Saw that one coming.
New Moon opens Friday, November 20. Click here for our review. Find Charlie, Daniel, Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen) and a pack of werewolves at Creation Entertainment’s Official Twilight Convention from January 15-17, 2010, at the Westin Seattle. Tickets are available at the door.