The Cullen Family Interview TWILIGHT – Read or Listen Here

     November 15, 2008

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

It’s Saturday night as I type these words. In less than a week “Twilight” will finally be in theaters. In less than a week, everyone will know whether or not Summit Entertainment has a franchise on their hands…or if the Twilight phenomenon was just a passing fling.

I’m of the opinion this is the first film of many.

And the reason I think that way… all of you.

Last weekend I posted some behind the scenes clips and a few interviews with the cast and filmmakers. To say the articles were popular would be a huge understatement. In fact, they were some of the biggest stories I’ve ever posted on Collider.

And that’s not all. Last weekend the videos were so popular that I burned through all the bandwidth I normally use in a month in just a few days. And I didn’t just use a few gigabytes. I’m used terabytes. And make sure you notice it’s plural.

So while I debated taking the time to transcribe the press conference I attended with Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, and Kellen Lutz (also known as The Cullens), with how popular everything Twilight is….I decided it would be worth it.

So if you’ve interested in reading or listening to a wild press conference, you’re in the right place. Let’s just say what you’re about to read is all over the place…but if you’re a fan of the series and looking forward to the movie, I think you’ll really enjoy this as they tell some great behind the scenes stories.

And while I never say the words you’re about to read when posting an interview… I actually suggest not reading the transcript. Instead, I advise you to click here and listen to/download the audio of the press conference.

The reason I advise listening is… a lot of the time people were talking over one another and reading the transcript won’t convey what it was like to be there.

Finally, if you’re just finding Collider for the first time, or you missed all my previous Twilight coverage….here are some links:

  • A 4 minute sizzle reel and the 15 minutes of behind the scenes footage from Twilight

  • Robert Pattinson Interview

  • Kristen Stewart Interview

  • Stephanie Meyer Interview

  • Director Catherine Hardwicke says there are 12 deleted scenes on the Twilight DVD and a lot more

  • Studio provided interviews with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Peter Facinelli, Cam Gigandet, Taylor Lautner and author Stephenie Meyer

  • Q. Peter can you talk about your look in this movie…the physical transformation.

    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 and it was like 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 the those things were you had to be very careful but, then again, it was early in the morning so if you did get shocked, it kind of woke you up a little bit. The makeup was part of the transformation. For me it was blonde in a bottle. That took a good day at the salon.

    Nikki Reed: You’re lucky.

    Peter 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 maintenance, 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: Were there any bloopers?

    Nikki Reed: Ashley hit a cameraman with a baseball.

    Ashley Greene: I did.

    Nikki 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.

    Peter Facinelli: We didn’t have time for bloopers, it was a very fast-paced shoot; we were weather dependent so whenever we had clouds we had to go.

    Q: No food fights in the cafeteria?

    Nikki: That was not allowed. Hair and make-up 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.

    Ashley Greene: We had to prepare for like four days at once for when we had weather cover. If it was raining, everyone was running for this, and there are some times, because it’s Portland, it would rain and then the sun would come out and then it would start hailing and the whole crew was always running around.

    Peter Facinelli. Yeah, we’d go through four seasons in one day.

    Nikki 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, 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 blonde, that was just half of my head.

    Q: Any embarrassing moments?

    Peter Facinelli: You’ll have to ask Rob about embarrassing moments. His baseball stuff was embarrassing. He had never played baseball so the baseball so it was very awkward for him to squat so 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, what, a week to learn to play the game.

    Q: You mentioned the contacts, were those painful?

    Peter Facinelli: If you notice [Kellen] has very small eyes and they gave him contacts that were like this (he holds up a three-inch round Voss water bottle top) so you wanna stick this in your eye?

    Kellen Lutz: And I’d never worn glasses or contacts but my whole family has and they told me ‘Oh, it’ll be easy. It was really tough. I wasn’t able to do it myself (put the contacts in).

    Peter Facinelli: We had two people tying him down in a chair.

    Kellen Lutz: Prying my eyes open, saying ‘think happy thoughts’. I don’t know what they did but they got them in.

    Peter: With a crowbar.

    Q: Can you talk about the wire work? Was it challenging?

    Ashley Greene: Wire work was amazing. Super fun. It’s not that difficult to take to. We rehearsed it twenty times…

    Kellen Lutz: It’s tough for guys.

    Ashley Greene: I got lucky on that part.

    Nikki Reed: It was painful for me.

    Ashley Greene: Really? Oh yeah…I guess that’s true.

    Nikki Reed: Yes. Well, you’re putting on this suit that’s like 15 pounds and then it’s like a girdle, you’re being strapped into this thing and then you’re hooked up to like 40 cables and then they go ‘Okay, ready? 1, 2, 3” and then they lift you into the air and they’re like ‘Camera’s not ready’ and you’re just chillin’ in the air, dangling all of your weight.

    Ashley: I think the first couple of takes were kind of embarrassing actually.

    Peter Facinelli: I didn’t do harnesses stuff on this but I’ve done harnesses in other things and I think the hard thing would be, or has been for me, trying to look eloquent as you’re like going through the air and meanwhile you’re kind of flailing around. So, you’re trying to make it look right.

    Nikki Reed: Yeah, I just felt retarded. I felt like I needed to have a conversation with each one of my legs.

    Ashley: You actually had to run in it too and jump on a balcony.

    Nikki Reed: I have some behind-the-scenes footage that’s kind of funny. I felt a little silly. Rob and I had quite a few laughs.

    Jackson Rathbone: I thought it was kind of like getting paid to go to the amusement park, fun.

    Q: What movie or TV show did you all think of before you did Twilight when thinking about vampires?

    Jackson Rathbone: The Lost Boys.

    Kellen Lutz: Yeah.

    Peter Facinelli: Underworld.

    Ashley Greene: Interview with the Vampire.

    Nikki Reed: “True Blood”.

    Peter 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, beautiful images and sensuality and mystique which was what I liked about it.

    Q. Did you guys see the fan’s responses to your casting and do you read blogs about yourself?

    Nikki Reed: (laughing) I can’t look. I know you hear a lot of people say that but I actually can’t look. Now I am Rosalie and now there’s posters and people who haven’t read the books can read them and put my face to that character but I think we all experienced a little bit of this. You know when you’ve got 20 million people reading a book and each one of them has their own (idea). It’s not like when you’re playing a real person, like you’re impersonating somebody and so they had characteristics and mannerisms that you can imitate. When you’re playing a character in a book, everybody has their own idea of that person and every single one is different. So you just have to come to terms with it. You’re not going to be that for everybody but now, we are that.

    Ashley Greene: They did a fantastic job in transforming all of us.

    Nikki Reed: Yeah. I had the biggest transformation out of everybody. I actually dyed my hair blonde and bleached my skin. Everything of mine that I associate with myself like my mole; that was all gone. So I had to look in the mirror and see a different person every day. Oh, your question was about blogs…

    Peter Facinelli: I think we all peeked at the blogs because I remember talking about it and I was like ‘Wow, they hate all of us…except for Ashley Greene.’ Ashley Greene they loved from the get-go.

    Ashley Greene: Aw. Except I was too tall.

    Peter Facinelli: But even with Ashley they would nit-pick and there was always something and, like Nikki said, everyone has their idea of these characters. There are actors that they had in their heads that they wanted to play it so and all of a sudden they had this cast thrown upon them and they were like ‘What?’ To Catherine’s credit, she didn’t just say ‘This guy’s blonde, he can play Dr, Carlisle.’ If you had blonde hair, you dyed it brown. If you had brown hair, you dyed it blonde. Catherine had a vision; these are the actors that have the qualities of these characters that I’m looking for and I can make them look like the characters in the book, and she did that. And people, once they saw the transformations, then they came on board. But, at first, because none of us looked like our characters, they were against all of us.

    Nikki Reed: Now, I think all the fans are pretty happy.

    Q: Had any of you read any of the books before you were cast and when did you realize you were part of such a phenomenon?

    Ashley: I actually read the first one before my first meeting. I wasn’t aware of them before that but my management told me this is a really great opportunity. It has the potential to be big but they didn’t send the script out so I read the book in a day and a half and fell in love with it and read the second and third, just because I wanted to so I get why people are so in love with it so yeah, when I finally got cast in the part, I was ecstatic and cried. I didn’t realize it was going to be such a huge deal until we were filming in Portland and my mom was like “Do you have a fan site?” and I’m like “People don’t know who I am” so this is a pleasant surprise.

    Q: How did you guys bond to form the family dynamic?

    Ashley Greene: Peter’s the daaaad.

    Peter Facinelli: I’m the father. I’m the daddy. We spent a lot of time together in rehearsals , a lot of time helping each other out. I think there’s a bond there because we all respected each other as actors and we all respected each other as people but we all really enjoy each other’s company. I mean, when I see them, they put a smile on my face. I have a profound love, like a family love for all of the Cullens and for Bella and for Jacob. When I see this cast, it makes me happy. I just want to go over and give them a hug (the girls all go “awwwwww”) and I felt like that’s how it was when we were shooting. I enjoy them. I truly enjoy them.

    Nikki: We have poker night!

    Peter: Yeah. Sometimes they come over and play poker.

    Jackson Rathbone: We had a lot of time to bond before.

    Peter Facinelli: Yeah, we had a couple weeks to bond before.

    Nikki Reed: You know what, for baseball you taught me how to slide.

    Peter: Yeah, and Edward (Rob).

    Nikki: That was our bonding moment. I had a really hard time learning how to slide and it was Peter. He acquired bruises all over his legs teaching me how to slide.

    Peter Facinelli: It was kind of fun because I always thought Carlisle taught the family how to play baseball, brought that to them. And some of the actors didn’t know how to play and I was able to teach them so it sort of felt like Carlisle teaching his children for the first time with Rob and Nikki and you (Ashley) were pitching. She had her own professional pitching guy.

    continued on page 2 ———>


    Q: Elizabeth, can you talk about getting into the mindset of being a mother when you’re clearly not old enough to be their mom?

    Elizabeth Reaser: I think the backstory with me 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 (Peter laughs). I have three nephews and I just thought about them a lot. It was kind of fun to have Nikki call me “mom”.

    Q. Have you had any rabid fan encounters?

    Peter Facinelli: I think they came to Kellen’s room.

    Jackson: I think Kellen actually got a gift basket at his hotel.

    Kellen Lutz: It’s definitely great being Emmett and being a part of this amazing experience of Twilight and having the fans, when we were in Oregon, somehow find our hotel rooms, especially mine and knock. I thought it was my castmates because I thought we were all going to rendezvous, get some dinner or something so I wasn’t fully prepared to answer the door and I just got out of the shower so I was kind of in a towel. Thank god I didn’t just open the door like I usually do.

    Peter Facinelli: He was expecting me. (laughter)

    Kellen Lutz: I heard a voice that I didn’t know and I asked who it was and they were like ‘Emmett, we’re your fans’ and they were like shaking. I could just hear them shaking and I was like ‘Oh God, hold on. Yeah, one second’ I threw some clothes on as fast as I could, opened the door and it was two lovely ladies holding a giant basket full of goodies for all of us.

    Ashley Greene: Ladies. Not, not little girls.

    Q: So how many nights did they stay there?

    Kellen Lutz: They were staying in the room right across from me and I stopped by to say ‘thank you’.

    Peter: In the towel?

    Kellen: (laughing) No! I think they were there for three nights.

    Q: Has anyone else had fan encounters?

    Nikki Reed: I had a woman ask me if I could hold her baby for a little while because she really wanted Rosalie to hold her baby.

    Peter Facinelli: Yeah, that was weird.

    Nikki Reed: Yeah, I realized later in the third book, I think it’s chapter seven in the third book, it talks about how Rosalie really wanted to be a mom and have a very simple life. She never had the choice to become a vampire. I don’t know if I’m reading into it too much but this woman came up to me and was like ‘You can hold my baby’ and I was like ‘Okay’ and I’m carrying around this six month old child for like thirty minutes.

    Peter Facinelli: You were carrying it for a while. I was like ‘Nikki You have to give the baby back’.

    Nikki: I didn’t know where the mother went.

    Peter: So we still have the baby. If you’re out there, please come get the baby (laughter). I was in Hawaii, floating on this deck. You could swim out to this deck and just kind of lay in the sun. I had my two-year-old daughter just napping on my shoulder and some girl swam out there and said ‘Are you Dr. Carlisle Cullen?’ in the middle of nowhere in Hawaii and I said ‘yeah.’ It was really funny.

    Q. Peter, what did your family think of your transformation into Carlisle. Did you frighten them?

    Peter Facinelli: No. They kind of like it. Except, when I first dyed my blonde hair, they didn’t even notice. I came into the house, I had my blonde hair and I said ‘What do you think?’ and they were like ‘What?’ It did nothing.

    Q: Can you talk about how the look of your characters?

    Elizabeth: It’s so specific the way these characters are written. I feel that Stephenie did all the work for us.

    Jackson: It’s more realistic in a lot of ways, not having normal vampire teeth and all that.

    Peter: No. It was banned from the start I thought.

    Nikki: There was a time when it was just discussed.

    Peter: All right, (he makes hissing cat noise) Okay, Rosalie.

    Nikki Reed: I got excited about that idea like what is separating us from the kids at school? You read the book and there are certain descriptions about the dark purple under their eyes and their intimidating beauty and you get there and you think, ‘How are we actually going to do this? How are we going to put purple under their eyes and not have us look like a bunch of freaks at school and how can we incorporate old clothing from the ’30’s and ’40’s. (To Ashley) you and I dealt with this a lot. We really wanted to bring that element to it. But we just stood out too much. In the books, it works but when you actually put it together visually, it was almost too much. We stood out too much.

    Ashley Greene: Their fair skin. We’re supposed to be these exquisite people but we’re also supposed to be these people trying to fit in.

    Nikki Reed: We’d lighten all our features up and then go and put make-up on top of it to make it look like we’re trying to fit in and then was that too much?

    Q: Have you guys signed on for 4 movies?

    Nikki Reed: Three. We’re signed for three. The fourth book wasn’t out so it’s three.

    Peter Facinelli: Going back to what he said, the interesting thing for me about the movie was less exploring the vampire world and more about vampires trying to explore humanity. Them trying to act human, so there’s a lot of humanity that gets explored in the movie. Whereas, in other vampire movies, it’s all about vampires and sucking blood and teeth and that’s not this movie at all. What’s so nice to see, being an old guy, in the younger generation is, the actors I worked with here they really came on board to do their part and they were dedicated and were passionate about it and that’s nice because sometimes you get young actors together and they’re like ‘Whoopie, we get to go out and party and have a good time and, look, they’re throwing money at us’ but for this I felt like everybody was there to work as hard as they can to be truthful to the books. Rob and Kristen were so dedicated and focused, they would meet after hours to talk about the next day’s next scenes. It was really wonderful to see.

    Q: Did any of your get any alone time with Stephenie to talk about your characters?

    Kellan: I think we all did. She was always there for us. Hey, what can I say. She found my hotel room.

    Peter: She knocked on his door (laughing).

    Kellen: She was there for all of us and, for me, I had a lot of questions for Emmett. There was a passage she wrote that I was looking at called ‘Emmett and the bear’ and it really said a lot about Emmett and Edward’s relationship and how close they really are and for me to read that and it’s not in “Twilight”, it really helped me distinguish that relationship between them. Rob and I when we’re acting, I really feel like we’re brothers and, without that, I don’t think I’d have that connection. And, just talking to her, she just gave me so much info.

    Q: If any of you could have a special power like Edward or Alice does, what would it be? And, what was it like working with Rob and Kristen?

    Jackson: I enjoyed my special ability. It was the ability to manipulate emotions, calm a room of very hungry vampires like all of us. And working with Rob and Kristen was just amazing. They really ignite the screen when they were together. It was just beautiful.

    Ashley: On the powers, I got to have Alice‘s power (seeing the future) so I was pretty happy with that.

    Nikki: I think I just wanted to be Alice.

    Peter: You get to be really bitchy. That’s your power. Rosalie, that’s her power.

    Ashley: Wasn’t it whatever you were in your human life was enhanced?

    Nikki: So what did I have?

    Peter: You were feisty and beautiful.

    Q: Can you talk about more upcoming projects?

    Ashley: I’m going back and forth to Louisiana working on this film called Skateland and it’s the fun ’80’s so I get to have all the hair and make-up for that. It’s a coming of age type film.

    Jackson: I just flew back in from London filming a little movie called Dread, a psychological thriller. Sean Evans is another cast member 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. Didn’t get to go into London much but picked up a few terms here and there.

    Peter: 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. Now I only play doctors. It’s quite a different doctor than Dr. Cullen. It’s exciting and it’s a dramady. It’s different in that Dr. Carlisle is this calm presence, very knowledgeable and the patriarch of a family and Dr. Cooper is just a nervous wreck; a guy who exudes confidence on the outside but, on the inside, he has no idea what he’s doing.

    Q: Why does everybody think that vampires are so intriguing?

    Jackson: 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.

    Peter: I think it’s the immortality, the sensuality, the hidden sexuality of it all, that makes it intriguing……for me and hopefully, for you.

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