Published on November 12th, 2009 | by simeon0
Skewed and Reviewed Talks with “New Moon” Volturi
By Amara Dumlao
Today at a roundtable interview I spoke with actors Daniel Cudmore and Charlie Bewley who play Felix and Demetri in the upcoming Twilight saga film: “New Moon”.
Interviewer (Q): What was the whole process like filming this movie after the first movie with all the new hype around New Moon?
Charlie Bewley (CB): It was a very very protected environment filming the movies. You know, in Vancouver, there was constantly people who were in the periphery of the film set who were stopping the paparazzo.To spot people in a building way off and have to call up like cops and shit, it was amazing man. Seriously, like big screens would be erected with black bounce boards to block people taking photos from the buildings around the place.
Daniel Cudmore (DC): Umbrellas just like while you’re walking so people can’t get photos of everything before it comes out.
CB: It is indicative of how big the Twilight thing is. You know people come from far and wide to just be in the city when you’re shooting and obviously they just want to see you. We were subject to mass fan hysteria like 5,000 screaming girls in a place the size of two football pitches (fields) when we are trying to shoot a movie. And it just so happens the place is like this beautiful, rustic city. It was kind of like another world for us shooting there and a real experience, we were very lucky to go there and have that experience.
Q: Were you guys given any tips on how to deal with this huge (Twilight Saga) phenomenon that is happening?
DC: Not really. We’ve had that media training. It was basically go to work and do your job. To survive all of this, I mean, you would hope that you’ve had training from your parents so you know who you are as a person and that this is a job that you’re doing and you know if someone is enthusiastic about you or the character, you know you’ve done a good job on building and working on this character/ his kind of thing doesn’t really come around that often, so y’know, just enjoy the ride.
CB: Soak it up.
Q: When you received your character how much time did you have to prepare for that?
DC: The funny thing is with acting and the audition process, you usually get it the night before the audition and to build the character, you’ve got a short amount of time to really build a lot. And so you want to do the best job you can the night before to build this, to try and land the job. Then you go in, hopefully confident in the amount of work you’ve been able put into it. Sometimes if you’re holding a second job you’ve got hours in the morning just to like hammer it out, you’re half asleep, you’ve had two hours of sleep, you’re running on coffee. But once you’ve kind of built the base of what it is and they give you the go ahead, you’ve got the gig, then we just had…
CB: Too much time.
DC: It was almost too much time.
CB: Ten weeks man. It was way too long.
DC: Like you talked about earlier, building a character also helps when you’re on set because there are a lot of other outside factors. Whether it be the set, whether it be costume, whether it be makeup, these wicked contact lens that we got to wear — they add to and help with everything that you get to do. So it’s a strange sort of beast because you just grind in your head thinking ‘Well, if I can add this and that and add this…’ then all of the sudden now you’re in about a thirty second take and bing! Something else just came to me! ‘Cause you’re in that character, in that mood, and you’re now interacting with another person and something comes, then you’re like lets do it again and again! It is this weird kinda world where you have almost too much time then you’re filming and you almost don’t have enough time. It is a strange kind of thing.
Q: And the beautiful Italian set probably helped a lot too.
CB: That’s exactly what we’re talking about. You read the books and get kind of a good a idea about the what the sets gonna be like but you don’t know. Certainly my interpretation was slightly different. It wasn’t as grandioso as it is going to be and you’ll see from the film. The set was big enough as it was, the sound stage housed this huge like vault, like it was a cylindrical vault. The attention to detail is almost so you can’t tell until you touch it whether it is stone or marble or whatever. On top of that they have this green screen that goes above you, this big circular green screen, which they then, in CGI, they create this huge dome above it. So we don’t even know how big its gonna be until the final thing. But when you do get to the set, obviously you’ve been in your head for ten weeks about how things are gonna go down, this that and the other and then your suddenly there. It’s like OK, do your job. It is like you have nothing else to think about then to be your character. You really don’t because all you’ve been thinking about for ten weeks is…
DC: Is your character.
CB: Is being where you are right now and doing your job right now. That is a huge burden off your mind and suddenly frees you up and you suddenly start discovering so many different little parts of your character you were never in a position to understand before.
Q: Did they give you more exposition about your characters?
DC: The partnership that the two characters have had, Felix and Demetri, has worked like clockwork for so many years. I mean you’ve got the ultimate tracker and a badass character in Demetri who can just, who in his own right do this job. But then you’ve got Felix who has this just raw power, animalistic, sort of aggression…they’re both great.
CB: It’s like the good cop bad-cop thing, that’s why cops go around in twos, right? There is a brilliant relationship that unfolds. Me and Dan knew each other fairly well before we even stepped onto set. Going onto set we were friends, we had the partnership going already and from the books, you understand your part in the relationship. You say my character is this very sinister evil character, maybe he is underneath it all, but he covers very well with this real front, this real kind of pretense of charm. ‘Everything is going to be OK, it’s fine this isn’t such a big deal you know just come with us, etc’. Then suddenly you realize you’re in the shit… When this guy starts…he just puts his hand on your shoulder.
DC: My biggest challenge on set was watching all this action go down and not being able to be part of it. That’s just what Demetri is, he wants to be part of it but he knows his time will come later on in the books. The hardest thing for me as an actor just was to put a lid on all that, to know you have all these powers and just to want to run riot and really express your energy as an actor and as an a character. Yeah, having to put a lid on it was really quite tough.
Q: Daniel, you do have a really strong stunt background, in a couple of the shots there are a lot interesting movements because of the fact that you’re vampires. For example, you don’t see a lot of action around the neck in traditional action films but that is definitely something that exists here. Any specific stunt training you did while working with Robert Pattinson?
DC: Yeah, I was fortunate enough to be able to do some stunts. I’ve sort of gone back and forth with stunt work and acting. Ya know, I don’t really consider myself a stunt man, I consider myself an actor who can do stunts. I’ve got an athletic background so I figure I can do that. They set up a really cool fight scene. Because the problem is where do you go with these characters? They are ultimately fast and ultimately strong and it’s like you don’t want to do what’s been done before in certain films. Robert and I, for a week we just trained and practiced certain parts of the fight scene. There are obviously things that, you know, as the lead actor of this huge franchise, you can’t do. I can’t pick him up six feet off the ground and throw him into the concrete floor, but I do that with a stunt double right? So there was things that we worked with together and he was kind of…he wasn’t sure at first. He’d never done something like this, but then he started to enjoy it and did a great job with it and really started to be like ‘hey this is kinda cool! It is cool doing this kind of stuff!’ At the same time his stunt double, Simon Bernett? That guy took some licks…. He (Bernett) came from a gymnastics background but he is a tough guy, man. ‘Cause I picked him up a couple of times around the neck, like you spoke of, and slammed him into the concrete ground from about six feet flat on his back. There were some seriously hard hits and the one where I go over my head like? That’s a big hit. It’s on wires and it is hard work but at the same time I’m bringing him into the ground. It’s aggressive. Hat’s off to him, man he did a heck of a job. I appreciate that kind of professionalism.
Q: Of all the vampire characteristics that are throughout vampire lore, which one would you prefer to have?
CB: To be honest with you, I never really thought of vampires as particularly cool before this. It never really appealed to me, the whole vampire world. And I think that’s a testament to what Stephanie Meyer has done here, and what a lot of very contemporary pieces, vampire books, like True Blood, is doing right now which is…making them accessible to people. Particularly this younger generation of teenagers. I think it has a lot to do with the aesthetic and the emotional writing within of vampires who, before, might been thought to be impassive and devoid of emotion. Suddenly these monsters suddenly have emotions! You have to wonder why Twilight is so big, and I think those two reasons are key in that. But certainly, when I got the audition to play Demetri, I had heard a lot about “Twilight” and this Edward guy, the guy who was playing him, this English guy…. I want to do something like that (Edward). And what’s my character? My character is Demetri. He is essentially a more elite vampire and that suddenly became massively appealing to me. To be bestowed with those powers and strengths, and then to be suddenly playing/representing this character that is so well celebrated in these books. It was a huge honor when I got the call. I am not unaware of how huge this film is…this is a real trip and I am so lucky to play this character!
Q: Have you guys run into Volturi fanatics? Because there is a ton of them out there.
CB: Yeah I mean we have a real following don’t we?
DC: I guess so…. They are pretty cool characters to play. As an actor that is really what you want to do — play interesting complex characters. You’re thrust into this huge world that is Twilight and then you get to play really kind of cool characters who have a lot of history and a lot of things going on. Man, it is kind of like a dream come true to get to do something like this. We will see. I think the fandom might grow even more, after this film comes out, with how big it is going to be.
CB: I don’t think anyone realizes how big it is going to be. No one realizes how big it’s gonna be! I think a lot of guys out there are going to be like ‘I’ll let my girlfriend go and watch it yada yada…’ but as soon as the first week is over your gonna start see guys fill up those very few empty seats there will be by that time because this is more of a guys film than a girls film. No one really realizes that yet. This is an action film; this is a primal aggressive film with stuff in there that’s going to freak some little chicks out!
DC: It’s sad, you still have the love story, now you’ve got the love triangle, obviously right? Which is great. But you’ve got the wolf pack which was cast so well and the guys are so cool and did such a great job and you’ve got the Volturi with such great actors….
CB: Thanks man!
DC: Then you’ve got these fight scenes and you’ve got this action, you’ve got this intensity and then you’ve got this love triangle. I mean it is a pretty cool movie…
CB: Its gonna be such a cool movie… Like really really cool. I can’t wait, I haven’t seen it yet. It will be my first time on Monday… biggest premiere of all time.
Q: What did you guys learn about yourselves in your characters?
DC: With my character because of that aggression, as a society you’ve have always been taught to push that away, push that down. That’s not how we run, it’s not how we live as human beings because it just doesn’t work that way. But it’s fun to know that you have that there. It’s kinda cool to think about back in the day why you have that, to learn about yourself, that you can kind of enjoy that but you can control it.
CB: I’m on exactly the same page as that as well. I have this side of me that is a very European flamboyant, I won’t say queenie, but it’s borderline — could be perceived as homosexual. But that came out in my character and I embraced it. And a lot of people looked on and said are you a dancer or something, because you look like a dancer. And I’m like ‘I’ve never danced in my life, man! It is just coming out on set’. And I was just swanning like an idiot and more and more people were saying I really like what you’re doing with your character. People like Elizabeth Reaser (Esme) were like ‘I really like what you did and I know you haven’t got the biggest part in the world, but what you were doing with your character? I really appreciated that’. It wasn’t just indicative of my character, but it was indicative of me as a person, you know these things that came out, that I am suddenly allowed to do. I think with acting, since I became an actor…I, as a person, have become more confident and I have really come out of my shell somewhat…and back to myself, you know.
DC: And just enjoying. I was back and forth with acting for a while, and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do it. And I think maybe because I had lost the fact that it was so much fun. It’s cool to play and work these characters. I got this, and I started building this character, and started working on set and you kind of remember how much fun it is to do this as a job. You don’t get to do that in everyday life where you get to lose yourself and play make believe. You sort of lose that as a child and it’s too bad sometimes, that as a society, they say ‘grow up, grow up, grow up’ and why should you? Y’know what I mean? It’s great to use your imagination and I kinda got to the point where I say, ‘You know what? I’m enjoying it and this is what I want to do and I just like what I’m doing.’ And now I’ve got more confidence in what I want to do.