As an aboriginal actor, Bronson Pelletier has struggled for years to be seen as more than his race. Despite his best efforts, he would often get passed over for roles because casting agents couldn’t imagine an aboriginal in the part; often, the young Plains Cree could only get parts that specifically called for an aboriginal character. And, unsurprisingly, those kinds of roles are few and far between.
But Pelletier’s troubles could change with the release of New Moon, the next installment of the Twilight series. The Canadian actor plays Jared, a member of the aggressive werewolf gang The Wolf Pack -- and it seems that Hollywood is paying attention.
Pelletier spoke with Dose.ca when he was in Toronto, and shared his thoughts on how New Moon has opened doors for aboriginal actors, how he prepared to be a werewolf and whether he’s on Team Edward or Team Jacob (spoiler: he loves his werewolf brothers).
Only a few days to go before New Moon comes out. How do you feel?
I’m excited! I can’t wait to see it; I haven’t seen it yet. I’m really looking forward to it.
Are you getting sick of living and breathing Twilight all day?
You know, I watched the first movie for the second time on the plane on the way here and it got better this time. It’s different after being a part of it. When I’m part of this amazing project, the second time, I was like, “Yeah! Go, Edward!”
Oh, so you’re on Team Edward even though you’re a werewolf in New Moon?
Oh, I’m Team Wolf Pack all the way in New Moon, but in Twilight, I was like, “Yeah! Get those guys!”
But when New Moon comes out, you’ll say, “Shut up, Edward?”
You’re putting words in my mouth, but… yeah. Team Wolf Pack!
Not only are the Twilight books a pop culture phenomenon, but the first movie was obviously a huge hit. Did you feel any added pressure joining the cast for New Moon?
Not so much. I feel it now, because we’re immortalized on screen. I’m just anxious and I want people to like it. I’m hoping that it’s going to be great, but we haven’t heard from the critics or the fans yet.
You probably aren’t going to get any trouble from the fans.
Clearly, there’s a lot of work going into promoting New Moon. Are you feeling run down at all?
I’m jet-lagged like you wouldn’t believe. It hit me in Los Angeles -- I had two wisdom teeth taken out, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I hadn’t been in my own bed in a month and I did 40 interviews in a day, and that night I slept like a baby. I had 12 hours of sleep. The next day we did 76 interviews, but I was finally comfortable because I’d had so much sleep, finally.
The Twilight films are unique in that there are several prominent aboriginal actors; Hollywood often overlooks them.
It’s really opened a lot of doors for aboriginal actors. Before this, every role I’ve ever gotten was for an aboriginal character. I’d go for roles that would say “for all ethnicities,” but what they’re pretty much saying is, “We want a Caucasian guy or a black guy.” One or the other. Now that we actually finished this movie, it’s opened up a lot of doors for aboriginal actors. There aren’t a lot of us out there, let’s be honest.
Yeah, there’s Adam Beach and Graham Greene and…
Adam Beach and Graham Greene and Adam Beach and Graham Greene. So this has been really good for us. I’m getting offered roles that aren’t designed for aboriginal people; they’re designed for anybody. It’s pretty surreal and mind-blowing.
Are you allowed to talk about any of your future roles?
I’m reading a script right now. I don’t want to say what script it is or anything, but these producers came in from Los Angeles and showed me the script and asked what I thought of it. We’ll see what happens with it.
So how did you prepare to be a werewolf with Chaske Spencer, Alex Meraz and Kiowa Gordon?
Pretty much, what we do is work out. We work out, we work out and we work out. We work out together; that’s what strengthened our camaraderie and turned us into the pack. It only took an hour or an hour and a half for one of us to break the ice -- it was probably me. We’d just rag on each other. I tend to be the guy who likes to goof around and make fun and joke, so it didn’t take long for that to happen. I’d worked on other stuff before, so you know you have to have chemistry with somebody or it seems forced. But with these guys, it’s organic and natural; it’s real. We’re not putting on a charade. I plan on knowing these guys for the rest of my life. They’re great guys and real people. I call them up every now and then when we’re not working, just to see how they’re doing or if we have problems. If I had a problem, I’ll call these guys up and they’ll help me out.
Was there any competition between you during your training?
For fun, we’d do little stuff here and there. But we do a lot more supporting. There’s no, “I can do this many reps; how many can you do?” It’s more like, “Yeah, push it out! You can do it!” Stuff like that. A lot of support. A lot of love.
The Twilight fans are among the most rabid fans in the world. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have received the worst of it, but how have the fans affected you?
The movie hasn’t even come out yet, but it’s pretty wild. I know that Kristen, Robert and Taylor, they were telling me crazy stories about how fans are really dedicated. They told me that once the movies come out, it’s going to be life-changing. I don’t know; it’s going to be wild. I’m just taking it one day at a time.
Have you had any bizarre experiences so far?
I’ve had some crazy fan experiences, yeah. Crying girls, screaming girls, a lot of butt-grabbing.
They grab your butt? What do you do when that happens?
What am I supposed to do? What do I say to something like that? I just take it and I’m like, “Uh, OK, squeeze away?” I know that the bodyguards would grab them and tell them they can’t do that, but the girls lining up for photos will see that and they’ll still grab my butt anyway. They’ll be like, “I know I’m going to get in trouble, but… squeeze!” It’s pretty funny. It is what it is.
The Twilight films are very serious in tone. Is it difficult to find levity in between takes?
Oh, it’s all very, very serious. [Laughs] No, of course we take our work seriously, but we joke around all day long. We’re just messing around, tossing around the football, cracking jokes and having a good time with it.
Well, conversely, is it difficult to find the right serious tone during takes when you’re having so much fun otherwise?
We always like to work out right before the camera rolls. And then we’re just jacked. Ready to be the Wolf Pack, you know?
Have you been keeping up with the intense workout regimen since then?
I’m not going to lie, I fell off the wagon a bit over the last month. But this last week, I’ve been getting back on it again, so we’ll see what happens. My six pack was fading away and I was like, “Oh! Gotta get back in the gym.”
It seems like it would be very expensive to be a werewolf, since you’re always ripping your clothes when you transform.
That’s why we only wear shorts! It’s not that bad in shorts. We’re lucky we’re not fashionistas; shorts are good enough for us!
How is being a wolf better than being a vampire?
Because we have that [animalism] to us. We’re wild; we’re one with nature. It’s great. We can be in human form one second and boom! Become a wolf, just like that. If the mood strikes! There’s a quote from the movie: “Yeah? But we’re faster.”
Thanks to Dose.Ca