Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Interview with a Vampire....and a Werewolf

By Brittany Hackett

SLmag sat down with The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's Julia Jones (Leah Clearwater, the only female werewolf) and Charlie Bewley (Demetri, member of the Volturi).

Not a Twi-hard but a determined intern, I decided to do some research. Ya know, appear knowledgeable, searched the Web for info on their home town, birthdays, hobbies and anything else I could find. I also listened to previous interviews with the actors to get a feel for their personalities.

I was totally prepared, but it finally hit me at the Grand America Hotel (where I met the actors) on Saturday, “This is my first real interview. Me, the intern. It has to be good.” Waiting in the lobby, I wondered what it would be like to meet an actor from such a high profile film. I met the Osmonds, once. I even got an autographed picture of Melissa Joan Hart and glimpsed various Disney Channel actors, filming Going to the Mat at Northridge High School. But I never really sat an had a one-on-one with any of them. I had 20 minutes with the actors and nearly two pages of questions to guide me.

Bewley, Jones and I exchanged introductions. Then Bewley commented on my hair and noted it was the same color as Victoria's. He wondered if I dyed it to look like her, but I told him I just liked the color. Apparently, fans are always trying to look like the characters, and he just wanted to check.

He is a chill guy and Jones is really nice. I decided to begin the interview with her.

SLM: "Let's start with Julia. How do you think your fans will respond to your depiction of Leah Clearwater?"

JJ: “I don't know”, she sighs and gives a nervous laugh. “I really, really don't know. I realized when I watched the film for the first time, a couple weeks ago, that that's gonna happen, that there's gonna be some kinda reaction, that there's gonna be feedback. There's such a big deal made about being cast and about filming and then there's all these phases you go through, and then, actually the most important thing, in some way the only thing that matters is how your character is received."

She told me how nauseous she was after first seeing it. She put off thinking about how the audience would react. “Now I've recently been like oh my God it's gonna come out, that day is coming. I really hope it jives with the fans and other's ideas of the character. Everything I tried to do was from this book, and it was my interpretation”

SLM: "Is it hard to depict a character from a well-read book?"

JJ: “Process wise, it's just different. It's really about doing an interpretation of source material versus creating and imagining. It is harder in a lot of ways, because there is kind of a right and a wrong. Or there's a more right. The material is there, and you're trying to get as close to, as true to, this character that's so believable and so dimensional as you possibly can, and you're not gonna get there 100 percent.”

CB: “The difficult thing is that the books are like 15,000 times bigger than the script. And you have character developments in the book that just do not exist in the script. So, you can have the character based on what is outlined in the books, and then you're given the script to actually portray that character. You can do your best, but it's like film is so restricting in a many ways. You have marks to hit. It's very hard to play that character so organically with what you have in your head given when you're given the script, which is like four lines and then some tricky camera angles.”

He adjusted in his seat and leaned in closer.

JJ: “One of the most daunting parts about it for me was I had never worked on a set the size of the Twilight sets.” Julia related to Charlie. “The crew is huge, the cast is huge and there are all these added elements like paparazzi and fans, and all of a sudden, whatever experience I had before as an actor on the set went out the window. You have to figure out how to do your job in-spite of all these different variables that are brand new. Coming in, my character was new and every actor I interacted with had been playing their character for at least one other film, and I was trying to keep up. Yeah, I was on my toes quite a bit.”

CB: “But you did a really good job! Really you did.”

JJ: “Thanks Charlie,” she laughs.

CB: “I mean she's smokin' hot in the movie. A great character. She plays her (Leah) with real edge, really moody.”

JJ: “I went for it,” Julia says with unsure laughter. “The thing that lets you a little off the hook when you think about the daunting part of it is that you know that the people that are behind this—Summit, the studio, Stephenie Meyer, the directors. It's such a well oiled machine. They're so smart, they know what they're doing and you trust them. So, really it's just the belief that they believed in you or they picked you to do it. That calmed me much more than anything in my power… Just, you know, I have faith in it.”

SLM: "Are there any scenes you're particularly proud of or that you want the audience to watch for?"

CB: “Well from a Volturi point of view, this is a very cameo role for us. I don't want to beef it up any bigger than it is. We just have this fleeting presence. We're just there to check on how things are going.

CB to JJ. “Did you fight in the fight scene?”

JJ: “It's CGI.”

CB: Getting back to the interview, “Volturi are very cool wherever they go. We have these outfits, and we try to fly a little, but the stunt didn't come off so we only used a little slip of it. I'm just looking forward to Breaking Dawn, really. This is a great movie, but from my characters point of view, Breaking Dawn is where my character in particular, could have a very prominent role in it—very, very prominent role.

If they ask me, I'll be all ears and just sit down and tell them 'this is what my character would do this is how he'd do it. This is how he would fly, because he will fly, and this is how he's gonna track and this is the way he looks when he does it opposed to them going, 'Hey Charlie, uh Stephenie thinks this, this and this.' I'll listen to it, but I know this guy so intently now. I know him better than Stephenie knows him.”

JJ: "Yeah, but that's the thing that's different about playing a character that's in a book, too. Normally, when you approach a character it's yours; you own it, and nobody know it as well as you do. It's your creation, and in this case, I remember it hitting me early on I'm playing a character that belongs to the fans and the audience as much or more as she belongs to me.”

CB: shakes his head.

JJ: “You don't think so?”

CB: “No, you take it off them. That's the thing. You take it off them. That's the interesting thing. With Rob, there was that identity thing. He looks so much like his character that there was no separation. They didn't see them as two separate people, they saw them as one person and gradually, gradually, gradually you become Demetri, you become Leah, you become that person and whatever you do is gospel, really.”

JJ: “Cause the reality is that I definitely know her better than any individual fan. I mean, I don't think anyone on the planet has spent more time studying Leah Clearwater…”

CB: Interupts, “Than it's yours.” He smiles.

JJ: laughs and continues, “…than me maybe besides Stephenie Meyer. But my voice is so small compared to the millions of people who are constantly voicing their opinions, their feelings and their passion for the characters.”

SLM: Do you think you'll be influenced by what fans think?

JJ: “Maybe. I don't know how to incorporate that into my process as an actor...so, I doubt that.” She thinks for a moment. “Maybe, subconsciously.”

CB: “Yeah, you're your harshest critic really. Whatever you do on that screen is not going to be as magnified by them as much it is by yourself. So, if there is any criticism to come out of anything, it'd be coming out of your own head directed right at yourself. And further more, if you weren't accurately playing the character I don't think you'd make the cut. I just don't think it works.”

JJ to CB: “But they can't cut you out. That's the thing, like for better or for worse, it's not like you're like 'oh, they didn't cut me out, so I did an okay job.' It's like under no circumstances can they cut anything.”

CB: “I just know the director would not have let it slip through, and plus Stephenie Meyer sits there…”

JJ: interrupts, “You're right, I completely agree with that.”

CB: continues, “… sits there in Studio City every day. I can imagine her just coming out one day and going, 'Look pal, you're going in the wrong direction on this one; I just gotta tell you that.' But we were cast, and she had a hand in casting us all and she's, I'm pretty sure right now, just relinquished all control to the story that she set out and the characters that she assembled within that are now us. We are the characters. They are not these things in her head, and that's the same with the fans, like I was talking about, they had an idea of what they were, but unfortunately, you can't have everything you want.”

SLM: "So what do you think about the whole imprinting thing? It heavily defines Leah."

(For those who don't know, imprinting is where the werewolves in Twilight find their soul mate. That person is their one and only and they don't get have a choice. Sometimes it can get creepy, like when a werewolf imprints on a young child. They basically wait around until the kid is old enough to marry. Weird stuff huh?)

JJ: “Totally. It's funny. I think it's like the best thing and the worst thing. I mean, for what it is if you're on the right side of imprinting— it's what could be better. There is absolutely no question that the person that you're with is the person you're supposed to be with...period. At the same time, if you're on the wrong side of imprinting, like Leah is, it is literally unfathomable and you combine that with the wolf packs' ability to mind read. I mean the love of her life imprinted on her cousin, and she has to hear his thoughts of pity towards her and his thoughts of love towards her cousin and the rest of the wolf packs' thoughts of just anger and madness at her, because she's so mad and they have to listen to her thoughts. It's just so bad.” She pauses then excitedly says, “I would like to imprint. I would like to be the imprinter.”

CB: “Don't you imprint?”

JJ: “I don't get to imprint. It's so depressing; it's like the most heartbreaking part about poor Leah. She's like one of the only wolves that doesn't imprint as far as the books go, and she's like totally on her own.”

CB: “Who would you imprint? I read some fan fiction right that you imprinted Demetri, like seriously, I don't know how it works. Just check it out! Leah imprinted Demetri. Yes!” He claps his hands together in triumph, “And there's a youtube about it. It's Demetri and Leah dead serious.”

SLM: "Did you make this up? I'm sure you wrote it."

CB: “I'm serious. Dead serious.” He pulls out his iPOD.

JJ: “I've just been doing press with the wolves. I'm very gullible, and they are jokesters and pranksters, and every day every for five minutes there is some story or some crazy thing that I completely believe and low and behold it's,” she laughs, “totally not true. So maybe Charlies' not…”

We both look at Charlie, he turns the iPOD to show us.

CB: “Leah and Demetri bring me to life I told you look.”

We all laugh and he apologized for taking the interview off track. I didn't mind, I thought it was pretty funny. I like random.

SLM: "Please describe some similarities and differences between you and your character."

CB: “Very fine, actually. I'm very much like my character. He allows me to be everything I want to be really. If I was kind of in that capacity, if I was head guard of something huge, that's how I'd...I'd be the nice guy. I would be the smiling guy, I wouldn't be like the tough guy and especially if I knew I had power behind me, I'd be very arrogant about it as well like Demetri is.”

JJ: “ I think always, or most of the time, with acting there's an element of it where it's you in the circumstances or the character. I mean, it's all kind of coming from you and what you're made of, and it's sort of like alchemy in a way. The biggest difference and one of the hardest things for me to latch on to with Leah was the anger 'cause I don't really express anger the same, so outwardly, so clearly. And I wasn't comfortable with it, and I had to really push myself to find anger and to express anger, and that was something that I feel like David Slade [the director] really helped me do."

CB: “How did David make you angry? “

JJ: “He'd didn't make me angry.”

CB: “Call you names?”

JJ: “No, he doesn't do that.”

CB: “Tell you you're fired? Ah, just joking. You're fired! Ah, I'm joking.”

JJ: “That's not David.”

CB: “No it's not David. David's the guy that tells you the most disgusting joke you've ever heard in your life after two minutes of meeting you, that's David.”

JJ: “David's awesome. I'm really sad I didn't see him either; I didn't see so many people at the premier because it was just so massive.

CB: “I'm so glad that my instincts on David were true in that he's really taken a strip of Hollywood off this franchise. I just feel that New Moon was quite theatrical kind of like very sort of showy. If you see some of the performances, like Rob's performance, is strangely self deprecating. Kristen's is quieter and less desperate. But at the same time she, has this depth to her, and Taylor's Taylor.” He chuckles.

JJ: “Taylor's so great in this.”

CB: “And the whole thing has this very sort of tight aspect to it. It's not like that's a CGI wolf like it was in the last one. It was flawless. I thought the whole film was flawlessly put together given the fact that you have to follow this book at the same time. He really did make it entertaining for me, who wouldn't generally watch a film of that genre.”

SLM: "Well I'm excited to see it."

CB: “It's going to be amazing.”

I asked Charlie, avid snowboarder/skier/extremes sports extraordinaire, to visit us Utahans on the slopes. He said definitely, so be on the lookout for a tall, good looking Brit this winter.

I took a picture with them, and we said our goodbyes. I walked out of the interview impressed with how nice, fun and personable they both were. And Charlie, he was such a character, which really made the interview.

I want to watch it now to cheer them on and see if the film is truly flawless. I'm not big on CGI or even Twilight as a series thus far, so we shall see. Join me and check out The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opening June 30th .

Thank you Julia and Charlie for being down-to-earth and giving me a great interview!

SOURCE: Salt Lake (the Magazine for Utah) via LovingCharlieB Article Link

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