EVER SINCE TWILIGHT author Stephanie Meyer set her girl-meets-ghoul tale in a tiny logging town on the Olympic Peninsula, audiences have cast a vampire-seeking spotlight on our dark, damp corner of the planet. Fans’ fascination with the region escalated when Bellingham native Billy Burke appeared in the film adaptation and UW alum Mariana Klaveno starred in HBO’s lusty vein-drainer True Blood. This month the hysteria will gush anew with the release of the third Twilight movie, Eclipse (June 30), and the third-season premiere of the HBO series (June 13).
But Seattle’s dance with the undead actually began in the ’90s, when local actor James Marsters landed the role of William the Bloody, aka Spike, in the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since then, we’ve sent several ambassadors to Hollywood to play—or battle—bloodsuckers. Are we uniquely prepared?
“There is a lot of gloom and doom up here,” said Burke, who plays police chief Charlie Swan, the father of Twilight protagonist Bella Swan. “I sort of grew up in the original Goth era, back in the day in Seattle. So when [ Twilight ] came up, I was a little sad that I was too old to be one of the vampires…. I know that I’ve spent my fair share of time brooding and then laughing at myself.”
And while we do have plenty of practice brooding—and love to stay indoors—we can also relate to a bad guy with brains. True Blood’s Klaveno appreciates that vampires retain their personalities in their supernatural life. “To me, that’s what makes them sexy,” she said. “They have all these powers and yet they can still crack a joke or seduce someone with their minds and their language and their thoughts.”