Eternal Twilight 4
By Leanne Golightly
(Link to my blog... http://leannegolightly.blogspot.com/ )
(Photos by Melanie Milburn/Leanne Golightly)
Here in the UK, we don’t have a lot in the way of Twilight conventions or opportunities to meet the stars. Massive Events organises such a convention and I was lucky enough to be at “Eternal Twilight 4: A New Dawn” over the weekend of 22-24 October, 2010, held at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham, UK.
The line up had changed quite a lot in the months leading up to the event, but the final guests were announced as Julia Jones, Booboo Stewart, Chaske Spencer, Bronson Pelletier, Leah Gibson, and Kirsten Prout. (Leah Clearwater, Seth Clearwater, Sam Uley, Jared, Nettie, and Lucy respectively.) A lot of people had booked when Peter Facinelli (Carlisle Cullen) had been on the bill, and many were disappointed by the lack of “vampires” attending. However, even though Alex Meraz (Paul) had dropped out, wolf pack fans were guaranteed to be happy.
During the opening ceremony, it was announced that Kirsten Prout had gotten another role at the last minute and she would no longer be able to attend. Imagine everyone’s delight when it was announced that she would be replaced by not one, but two alternative guests: Gil Birmingham (Billy Black) and Charlie Bewley (Demetri.) The replacements were very popular choices—especially with the Team Bewley fans sitting in the audience.
I was really excited to see Julia Jones in real life, as Leah Clearwater is my favourite character in the Twilight Saga. Leah can be portrayed as a two dimensional bitch at times, but in my own mind she is a complicated and intelligent woman, who acts the way she does because she cared too much and got hurt. Julia did an excellent job with her time on screen in Eclipse, portraying Leah exactly as I imagined her in my mind, and I look forward to seeing more of her in Breaking Dawn.
Charlie wasn’t there on the evening of the opening ceremony, but all six guests who were gave a short introduction as they appeared on stage. Julia commented that she had spent time in England before, as her aunt had married a Brit and she’d taken some of her childhood summer vacations here.
Friday evening’s themed party was “Edward and Bella’s Wedding,” complete with a table laid out for the wedding party and wedding cake. A mock up of the gazebo from the prom scene was set up over one of the entrances into the hall, which was very popular for photos, if a little too busy to have a quiet dance a la Edward and Bella.
Within moments of entering the hall, Bronson Pelletier walked right past me, and I saw that Booboo Stewart was surrounded by fans and handing out hugs. Chaske Spencer later had a go on the mechanical surfboard set up in the corner of the room, and did quite well...from what I remember... My memory might be failing me, but I was sure I saw him on the dance floor later, too.
The schedule for signings and photos started pretty early on Saturday and Sunday morning, which was unfortunate for those who had gotten a little worse for wear the previous night *ahem*
As you would expect at one of these events, there was a lot of waiting in lines involved, although it has to be said that queues for photos moved a lot quicker than the queues for signings—which often took twice as long as your schedule allowed.
There wasn’t as much merchandise on sale as I would have thought: lots of photos—framed, signed, and otherwise, fridge magnets etcetera, as well as True Blood merchandise. The most novel items I saw were the hand-painted personalised Twilight footwear. With the themed party for Saturday night being the “Volturi Ball,” it was disappointing to find that a Volturi “V” necklace could not be bought for love or for money at the event.
If possible, even more effort was put into transforming the room into the perfect setting for the “Volturi Ball,” including throne picture opportunities, gargoyles on the dance floor, and bloody cocktails. The DJ was a little jerky at times, but as a whole, the evenings were perfectly put together.
A number of non-Twilight authors were also present at the event: L. A. Weatherly (Angel,) Lauren Kate (Fallen and Torment,) and Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush Hush and Crescendo.) Books and related merchandise were on sale or were given away, and I can imagine it was very good for their publicity. It is worth noting that as part of these authors’ promotions, a half-clothed male hottie with a pair of black angel wings could be seen wandering around the Hilton—much to the delight of the female fans.
Prize draws and auctions for guest encounters were also available, but unfortunately these always took place at the same time as other guests’ panels and, as a result, I missed every panel on the first day. Still...IT WAS FREAKING WORTH IT!
Bronson Pelletier (Jared)
My first guest encounter was with Bronson Pelletier, who plays Jared. Having been mentally trained by the books to think of the wolf pack as muscle-bound giants, I was surprised to find that Bronson was actually shorter than myself (5’ 8” without heels, and I always wear heels.) It also struck me as how much younger he looks in real life.
In the encounter (with eleven other fans and one of the event staff,) Bronson seemed a little shy, and more than a little bemused by the two Italian girls present, who professed their love and told him how beautiful he was on more than one occasion.
When asked about how he got into acting, Bronson regaled a tale about a time when David Duchovny (of X-Files fame) had been filming near his hometown when he was much younger. He had gained access to the catering table, and stuffed three Oreo cookies into his mouth. When he saw David Duchovny and wanted to meet him, Bronson spat the half-chewed cookies into his hand but, to his dismay, David Duchovny started shaking hands with everyone he spoke to. When it was Bronson’s turn, he had to hold out his hand and explain why it was covered in half-chewed cookie, resulting in a bemused look from the actor he had come to see.
Bronson attended an actor’s workshop with Samuel L. Jackson, but was really overwhelmed at the meeting. He did, however, manage to ask Samuel to say one of his lines from Pulp Fiction, which I won’t repeat for language reasons.
Another question was whether he had ever used his status as a Twilight star to some advantage. Bronson said that despite having an ex-girlfriend who had a history of having “don’t you know who I am?” moments, he tries not to behave that way. With some encouragement from his handler, Bronson did say that he had faced a three-month prison sentence for a driving offence (naughty boy!) that would have interfered with his filming schedule for one of the Twilight films, but the judge was a fan of the saga and he got off with a lesser sentence.
Overall impressions were that he is just a young, normal guy, who just happens to have a part in the Twilight movies, and when you can coax a story out of him, he’s really funny.
Leah Gibson (Nettie)
When you think of Twilight stars, Leah Gibson probably wouldn’t be in the first twenty actors that sprung to mind. By the end of the weekend, however, she had gained a number of fans over the course due to her intelligent, witty, and all-round nice personality.
Leah got into acting while in high school, and spent a lot of time concentrating on music, dance and performing. She said that at any high school reunion she might attend, she would probably only recognise twenty-five percent of the people due to the focus had to give to performing during those years. Acting requires a lot of dedication, and Leah says that if that’s what you want to do, you really need to do it because it’s what you love rather than any other reason.
Musicals are Leah’s passion. If she could reprise any role, she would play “Sally Bowles” in Cabaret, as made famous by Liza Minnelli. Her dream leading man would be Mark Lutz, her boyfriend (the Groosalugg from Angel, the TV series, amongst other roles.)
When given a choice of Team Edward or Team Jacob, Leah says “Team Jacob,” but quickly follows that up by saying she’s really more “Team Jasper.”
When filming Eclipse, the Oscar nominated actress Catalina Sandino Moreno, who plays Maria, had recently given birth and was still very much lactating. The scene was digitally altered to look as if it was night, but the filming itself was done in the desert during the day. It was hot, David Slade was getting the actors to jump up and down to “keep the energy going,” and Catalina was leaking breast milk—which is quite the mental image. Catalina is a really great actress and Leah enjoyed working with her.
Leah will soon be seen in A Night for Dying Tigers, a Canadian film, where she plays a new wife of one of the brothers attending a family party for another brother’s last night before going to jail. Over the course of the night, a number of skeletons come out of the closet and Carly, Leah’s character, witnesses the family falling apart.
The personable actress says that people don’t realise how difficult her profession can be, especially when they see the glamour, pretty dresses and red carpets. What people don’t realise is that red carpets are actually terrifying events, especially afterward if you read negative comments about yourself, which can really hurt.
Overall impressions are that Leah Gibson is a talented actress, clever and genuine, and guaranteed to win any Twilight fan over. She is sure to be much more popular with those who attended Eternal Twilight 4.
Charlie Bewley (Demetri)
First things first: those eyes...that body...that voice...unh!
Charlie is a very articulate and intelligent person, with a number of higher ideals and opinions about society as a whole. He has a love for trance music, and said that he can often be found going for a run, while listening to music, with the biggest smile on his face—even when running through slums and the seedier parts of town. For the sake of his career, he has recently moved from Vancouver, the Hollywood of the North, to Los Angeles.
Charlie competes in ironman events in an effort to raise money for Jocelyn Clarke, who was Dakota Fanning’s stunt double, and contracted a form of cancer, which he discussed in more detail during his guest talk with Leah Gibson. He also plans to do more to raise awareness of bullying after being shocked by the trend of videoing physical attacks for entertainment.
In the US/Canada, Charlie has a clothing line due to be launched, and some other undisclosed business projects which will be announced soon. His @alchemission twitter will be phased out and replaced with a new account @charliemmbewley as part of his future plans.
One of his upcoming film projects is Slightly Single in L.A., in which Charlie plays the part of Hayden, a jock who goes on a date with the main female character. He has since had to go back to redo some audio work for the part. For his role, Charlie used an American accent—something that he is still perfecting.
Charlie is unaware when Soldiers of Fortune, which he has filmed since Eclipse, will be released and hasn’t seen much with regard to how it has turned out. Acting-wise, Charlie is now concentrating on the upcoming filming for Breaking Dawn, and is using the opportunity to be selective over which projects he signs himself up for in the future.
After ET4, Charlie will be travelling to Hallowfest in Mexico, and has many other Twilight conventions lined up.
Julia Jones (Leah Clearwater)
Meeting Julia was one of the things I was most looking forward to at ET4, and imagine how delighted I was when I got the chance to have a guest encounter with her.
While I was in the encounter with Bronson, I had unfortunately missed Julia’s panel with Booboo, where she had answered the question I had posed on rumours that her hair would be cut very short for Breaking Dawn. Having her hair chopped for Eclipse had been an emotional experience, and for the forthcoming filming she is being allowed to have more input with that aspect of her character’s appearance.
Like many members of the cast, Julia does work for a number of charities, including the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Los Angeles Mission.
When asked where she sees herself in five years time, Julia says that is a difficult question to answer. Her mother has always leaned towards her career, while her grandmother was very focused on family, so Julia feels pulled in two very different directions, and isn’t sure which path her life might take right now.
A comment made by Booboo during an earlier panel, where he discussed a moment where a fan had asked to make out with him during a photo session, came up. Leah said that kind of approach was unlikely to result in meeting the person who she would later choose to spend her life with.
What really illustrated the power of Twilight to Julia was when, after landing the part of Leah, her mother felt as though she should read the books. Julia’s mother is a very serious and career-orientated woman, and had gone away to complete some work uninterrupted. When she spoke to her mother again, she admitted that she hadn’t started the work because she had been unable to put the Twilight books down. That showed Julia exactly how addictive the stories were.
The subject of Jonah Hex was brought up—a film released earlier in the year, in which Julia was almost completely edited out. Julia said that the film had a lot of potential, with an illustrious cast including Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, and Megan Fox. Julia says that the actors involved gave stellar performances, but the film was changed beyond recognition due to creative differences between those involved in the post-production. The result was that the movie did not fully live up to its early potential. Still, she is glad to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from such excellent actors.
Julia was asked how she gets into character to play Leah, and she says that spending time around the boys who play the wolf pack and watching their horseplay gradually irritates her more and more. Before she knows it, she’s snarling and in the right frame of mind.
There is a very supportive relationship between the cast. Bronson is very much the set clown, and very entertaining. Chaske is the guy who she rings up when she has a problem and wants someone to talk to. One day, Alex Meraz had gotten stranded up a tree (!) after he had been mobbed by fans when his wife hadn’t shown up to pick him up. He called Julia to find out if she could get there quicker than his wife, but unfortunately she was too far away. Alex asked her if she could stay on the phone while he waited for his wife, just to keep him company.
Julia is glad to see that more women have been cast for Breaking Dawn, so she will have more female company on set.
Overall, Julia looks very different in real life to the character she played in Eclipse, but certainly has the feisty attitude, and is a confident, beautiful, and intelligent young woman.
I missed quite a few of the guest talks due to my taking the opportunity to meet some of the actors in the smaller gatherings, but I did manage to sit in the audience for three panels.
Highlights of this talk had to be Chaske’s adorable laugh, (it has to be said, the guy is adorable from head to toe,) and the banter between the three on stage when asked to compare each actor to their on screen characters. Julia said that Chaske is a kind of father figure to those who play the pack members, and Chaske said that Gil has a similar role in that he is the person he would turn to for advice. Gil said that Leah is hot, and Julia is similar to Leah in that she’s hot—resulting in hysterics from Julia and Chaske. Chaske feels like he always ends up playing Gil’s son in films that they do together, and just for once he’d like to play the father.
Leah Gibson did a good job of holding her own during her time on stage with the irrepressible Charlie Bewley. Charlie stated that his set superstition was checking how he measured up in the bathroom, and that he compared well; Leah Gibson responded by saying that Charlie compared well in his own mind. When asked if they had ever stolen anything from the Twilight set, Leah said that she didn’t steal; Charlie said that he’d once tried to take a cravat but it was almost impossible to take anything . He did say, however, that he had once stolen Ashley Greene and taken her back to his room—much to the amusement of the audience. Someone shouted that he had best not tell Joe Jonas, to which he responded by saying that he wasn’t scared of that Disney boy and he could take all three Jonas brothers on.
Just before the closing ceremony, we were treated to all seven guests on stage at the same time. My favourite question being when the actors were asked whether they had a party trick. Booboo listed a number of hidden talents, and Julia, who answered next, said that she’d just bring Booboo along with her. Leah Gibson demonstrated a yoga pose which involved standing on one leg, and curling her other leg up behind her so it met her arms above her head; Charlie Bewley then jumped up and popped his head through the gap.
All in all, the entire weekend was a dream come true, and I have already put my name down for Eternal Twilight 5 in February. So far, the confirmed guests are Daniel Cudmore (Felix,) Alex Meraz (Paul,) Michael Welch (Mike Newton,) and Jodelle Ferland (Bree Tanner,) but due to the changes in line up for the last convention, I won’t say that they will all definitely attend until the day arrives.
If you are in the vicinity of the UK at that time, I highly recommend coming along.