By Rebecca Pauley
Her long, thick red hair danced in the wind. She walked as gracefully as a ballerina but faster than Bella could have ever thought possible. She was followed by two other people, both as cryptic as her. Their skin glowed like ivory under the moonlight, and their eyes gleamed a crimson red…
Vampires, a recurring phenomenon in movies, television and books for years, is now considered the world’s newest craze! These strong, fast, beautiful, yet deadly creatures are now imagined as walking among us. Stephenie Meyer, the author of the “Twilight” series, grabbed our attention and introduced us to this new generation of vampires.
These vampires, unlike the interpretations of the past, are beautiful, romantic, aggressive beings who live forever, sparkle in the sunlight, and have bizarre and unique capabilities. But the unique feature that sets these vampires apart from the last generations is something terrifying, yet exciting - they are looked upon as humans, just like us.
I got the chance to meet with Charlie Bewley and Daniel Cudmore, the talent portraying the two new vampires, Felix and Demetri, in the latest movie in the Twilight Saga, “New Moon.” I soon found out that these actors are just as gifted as their interesting characters.
“New Moon” continues with the love story of mortal Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson). When Edward leaves her, Bella explains her pain as “a hole in her chest” and becomes depressed. When things turn for the worst and Edward thinks Bella has died, he seeks to end his own immortal life. Bella must save Edward and face the Volturi, the rulers of the vampire world, before it’s too late.
I asked these two actors why they think the “Twilight” movies have become so popular.
Charlie replied, “I think it’s because vampires are starting to get accessible more to young kids and to teenagers…She’s [Stephenie Meyer] gone away from the fangs and given them eyes. The eyes are the very first contact between two people and are very important.
Regarding our current fascination with vampires and the Twilight saga, Daniel further adds, “It’s cool to enjoy these characters and things that don’t really exist. So I think it’s neat to build a fantasy in your head of what you would think vampires were really like…and to lose yourself in the story.”
Charlie further explains that it’s not just that people have developed a newfound fascination for vampires, it is more that, “…they’ve been brought into a contemporary context with “Twilight”” and other more recent shows such as “True Blood.” Its modern-day vampires and they exist amongst society. I think that’s what people are fascinated by. It’s like, “Oh really, are they here? Really? Fantastic!” ”
As fans, we find ourselves relating to the characters and the storyline, too. Daniel said, “I think with any movie everyone relates to each storyline in their own way. We’ve got this great book series that has a great love story. A lot of people really like to fall into that sort of world of everlasting love.”
Most of the plot of this movie took place in Forks, Washington, but the peak of this movie took place in Italy, where we are introduced to two mysterious members of the Volturi, Felix and Demetri.
When I asked what Italy was like, Charlie responded, “Italy was the biggest fantasy land I’ve ever been to. The set was in a small, rustic village (Montepulciano) which probably has about 200 inhabitants. And it’s about a thousand years old. It hasn’t got a commercial footprint. It hasn’t been touched. The Italians are very guarded over that kind of history which is wonderful. You would have to imagine the amount of effort that was put in to accommodate this huge Hollywood blockbuster film coming into town. And then you have 5000 screaming fans. You come in and they breathe life into it.”
Daniel felt the same way, adding, “Strange, you can just be in Italy and you’re at this thousand year old town and then you step back and you see some great architecture that stood the test of time and then you look down and you got 5,000 screaming fans and a big techno crane,” they laugh, and he continues, “and thousands of dollars in cameras…it’s a weird, surreal kind of area.”
In the movie, Bella, Edward, and Alice are taken into the Volturi lair, which, at first sight you would think it would be made of marble and stone, but, as Daniel describes, “most of it is wood and Styrofoam which has been painstakingly hand-painted to make it look very realistic...It is magical.”
Daniel further explains, “It’s great because we don’t have to walk in as an actor and do a green screen and then imagine it. It’s there and you can touch it and you can feel it.”
To my surprise, both of the characters agreed that “a vampire is an easy role to play", especially as a Volturi.
Charlie explains “There’s no conflict there. There are no obstacles, because you are so elite, you’re so powerful. You live in complete luxury…You think about what a vampire is and what he does as opposed to the whole image of a vampire.” He added, “…the standard package is that they are very primal. They are very fast and they are exceptionally strong, and so I though about that above everything else.”
Daniel further added, “Like walking sharks…top of the food chain kind of deal.
Making sure you look the part, however, is no easy job. While wearing beautiful designer clothing was a treat, to really look the part took the skill of great make-up artists.
Per Daniel, “The makeup ladies did such a good job with just making us super pale.” After a chuckle he then adds, “…and then you get to the contact lenses that we got to wear which were these hand painted unbelievably cool contacts that, as soon as you put in, you instantly feel more like the character.”
I questioned him on how “New Moon” differs from “Twilight, and Daniel replied that it is more intense, more aggressive. He further added, “It’s a lot more action. It’s bigger. It’s basically a giant blockbuster film. It’s really gonna blow the last one out of the water.”
Then Charlie further described the setting for us: “Twilight is such a dark film, and then you get to Italy and it’s like “boom!” it’s bright, there’s all these bright colors everywhere.” He added that with the bright sunshine there is also high drama and then, “boom! – straight down into the Volturi chamber.”
This is Bewley’s first movie, but Cudmore has been seen in such movies as “X-Men” and “Are We There Yet”, and even TV shows including “Stargate SG1.”
Daniel relates, “I’ve been acting all my life…playing pretend…bouncing back and forth between sports and drama in high school.” After attending college and returning home to Vancouver, Canada, “I started to really get into it. I really started to enjoy the process, again re-sparking what I was doing in high school.”
When I asked Charlie Bewley how he got into acting he replied, “…I think I tried to be many people throughout my life because I struggled with who I was. Because I was very different from people. I grew up on a farm. I spent a lot of time by myself…I always tried to fit in with someone, always tried to be someone…when I didn’t want to necessarily for myself.
The reason I wanted to become an actor is because I wanted to be so many different things. I think that childhood pattern has spawned this desire to be so many different things. So I sat myself down and I realized the only thing I could possibly do was act. The interesting thing is that since I’ve become an actor and since I’ve allowed myself to be so many different characters, I’ve actually found out who I am…I’m having a lot of fun being me right now. ”
In the Twilight saga, the audience isn’t fully introduced to these two characters until “Breaking Dawn,” but I got a sneak peek on some exciting things to come for these mystifying vampires.
“Right now the most interesting thing about my character is how enigmatic he is,” Charlie says, “I don’t even know what I am capable of yet, you know. Until they say, OK this is your power- you get to fly and track at the same time. It is really exciting for me.”
Daniel said that the most interesting thing about his character is “he is very in touch with his primal, aggressive side and in everyday life we don’t really go to that place; we suppress that.”
“New Moon” is an exciting, suspenseful, and enchanting movie, but there were some very comical moments on the set.
“The funniest thing, I think,” Daniel says, “was just splitting my pants a couple times. While I’m doing a stunt and during my fight scene I threw the stunt double into the stairs and every single time I just split my pants right up.” He laughs, and adds, “I did it like three times. I went through all the rest of my wardrobe pants.”
I was interested to find out if they would prefer to play dark, bad characters or characters that are good.
Charlie said, “I like to play characters with depth. I think it’s almost like characters who are bad seem to have a little bit more depth about them…they’ve gone a longer journey to get to that bad side. But you know I like to think that I got a huge range as an actor and I look forward to exploring that on both sides of the good and bad divide.”
Charlie offered some advice for kids who aspire to be actors. He said, “I think the best thing for acting is to really experience life and understand what life is all about…Don’t pigeonhole yourself so early; go out and experience life because you can bring it to absolutely anything you do, especially acting.”
Hundreds and thousands of people were anxiously awaiting the arrival of “New Moon,” and now that we have seen it we just can’t get enough of these bloodsucking immortals. Posters, magazines, T-shirts, and even Band-Aids, puzzles, and life-size replicas were bought in admiration of this amazing saga.
It was an honor to meet Charlie Bewley and Daniel Cudmore and I look forward to seeing them again in the Twilight Saga and in their future work as mortals.