Friday, July 17, 2009

interview with the volturi

three interviews with michael sheen, jamie campbell bower, and charlie bewley after the jump!

Michael Sheen on going from Lycan to Vampire in 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon'
Yes, it's true. It's entirely possible Michael Sheen hasn't given every secret about his role as Aro in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" away on Twitter.

Well, maybe.

During our visit to the Vancouver set of "New Moon" last May, Sheen took a brief break to talk to the small cadre of journalists peeping around the soundstage including this intrepid writer. Last seen in a double bill of the Oscar-nominated "Frost/Nixon" and the genre flick "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans," Frost was in full Volturi regalia in what we discovered was only his second day of shooting. Saying it was great to be "thrown in the deep end" by arriving during the middle of production, Sheen had already shot a number of key scenes.

"The first day of filming we did the 18th century stuff and then one of the modern scenes," Sheen says. "It was a lot to deal with; the wig, and contact lenses all day and the make-up, but it was fantastic. These sets are amazing. And the look of everyone is so strong so it was great to just kind of get right into it straight away. "

Other actors purposely don't read the original source material for their big screen creations because they don't want to veer from the direction the screenwriter and director have laid out. I asked Sheen where he stood on the issue.

"Oh no, if I’m doing something that’s based on a book, then I’ll definitely read the book," Sheen says. "I look for anything that will give a little clue or something, a little help, a little hint… just things like that. Like one word that Stephenie uses in the book will kind of tee off my imagination."

Sheen has a much different approach to playing Aro than the human-friendly Cullens and credits the author for his inspiration.

"I love the thing in the books that Stephenie [Meyer] wrote about how these vampires are all – well, the Cullen family – really beautiful, and that’s what lures people into their web," Sheen admits. "And yet, Aro is not like that. She describes Aro as being not the same sort of thing. I like the idea that it’s his voice that lulls people in or his sort of demeanor rather than the way he looks, because he looks quite weird and scary. But yes, I’ve tried to go down that route [to]make him very mesmerizing to people, that his voice is gentle and soft. And yet, there’s something kind of unhinged about him."

On this day, Sheen is in the middle of a dramatic scene where he meets Bella (Kristen Stewart) for the first time. He says Stephenie told him she loved writing this moment in the book and he's personally read the passage over and over again because of the detail she provides about Aro within it.

"She describes his voice as being quite feathery – that’s what gave me the idea of making it very soft, and light. I think she describes it as being like a sigh, his voice," Sheen says. "And that he’s a bit like a concerned grandfather at times, with Edward. I like the idea of him being, even though he’s this kind of deadly, really dangerous character, there’s something quite sentimental about him, quite soft, and yet the next moment he could eat you."

Sheen is no stranger to genre pictures having made some nice bank appearing in all three "Underworld" pictures, but not as a vampire, but as a, ahem, werewolf (Lycan, whatever).

"It’s nice – now I can, you know, bring out the other side of me. The vampiric side, rather than the werewolf side. I feel a bit like a traitor, that I’ve swapped sides," Sheen jokes. "No, it’s nice. I’m glad. The vampires get to wear much cooler clothes, in 'Underworld' and in this, so now I get to have a nice bit of tailoring instead of, you know, raggedy leather. The best thing about playing a werewolf is, you don’t have to worry about getting dirty; if it’s lunchtime, I can have a lie down and it doesn’t matter, because you know, I’m supposed to look rough. But as for this, I’m supposed to look perfectly tailored and groomed and clean all the time, so I can’t sit down or do anything, because I’ve got all this white make-up on. I’m wearing black clothes. So, I’ve got to be really careful that I don’t get covered in stuff."

And with that, it was time to start shooting again and Sheen was whisked back to the set.

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" opens nationwide on Nov. 20.

A Totally Cool Chit-Chat With Jamie Campbell Bower
Your character, Caius, wants Bella dead the most. How much of that will we see in the film?
Jamie Campbell Bower: As in the book, the Volturri play a small but necessary part in this film. They come much more into play in the fourth film. I’m playing Caius very angry and agitated with the world, I suppose. Just glaring looks. You’ll see as much as you read in the books.

Do you think Caius is agitated because he’s the only vampire of the three who doesn’t have a power?
JCB: He doesn’t have a power! He’s just pissed off about that! He’s so angry! He doesn’t like Bella because he can’t eat her. He’s not happy about that. Why is she there if he can’t eat her? What’s the point?

What power would you give him, if you could?
JCB: I’d give him the power of love.

Doesn’t Caius have a wife?
JCB: He does have a wife, yeah, but she doesn’t seem to be around. I don’t know where she is.

What went into your research? Did you read the books? Did you get to talk Stephenie?
JCB: I haven’t had a long discussion with Stephenie. My plan is to have a long discussion with her at some point today. Maybe it won’t be a long discussion, maybe it will be like five minutes.

Yeah, I read the books and I did a lot of online research, because it’s good to know what people who’ve read the books think about the characters as well. Because the books alone have such a huge fan base. You’ve got to stay true to what people want to see, I think. So I did that and talked to lots of people. And my friends gave me their ideas as well.

Did they make you audition for the role?
JCB: They did! They did make me audition. Disgraceful, isn’t it. Shocking!

Did you read the books before you auditioned?
JCB: No, I didn’t read the books before I auditioned, no. I went off the sides. Once I got the role, I obviously read the books. My 15-year-old brother kind of sat me down and insisted. I went back to my mum, and she was like, "You’re going to read this, and you’re going to read it now!’ I was like, "OK, that’s cool."

What went into your audition? Was there more than one?
JCB: It was one day. I originally auditioned for the role of Demetri. I went in, did a taping. Chris wasn’t there. Then they called me back at like 2:00. Chris turned up; I met Chris. A week later I get a call like, "So, you’re not going to get Demetri, but we’re going to offer you Caius." I was like, "That’s cool!" I’m just psyched to be a part of it. It’s awesome.

Are you going to Italy?
JCB: I’m not going to Italy. No, I have to go back to London to go and do Harry Potter, which’ll be nice. I’m playing Grindelwald, Dumbledore’s old friend, possible lover, who knows.

Do you know?
JCB: It’s not in the script -- hardcore love scenes -- but that’s the rumor anyways. I don’t know who’s playing the young Dumbledore. I’ve only gone in for my fittings and stuff.

Did anything in Sweeney Todd prepare you for this?
JCB: I don’t think so because my role in Sweeney, he was kind of soppy. And he was nice; effectively, he was a nice guy. And Caius is, I don’t want to say not nice, but he’s a little bit more brooding and dark.

Swooning British-Accented Banter With Charlie Bewley
New Moon is your first screen credit. Can you tell us how you got the role?
Charlie Bewley: How I got involved in Twilight is that I just auditioned. And you know what? I went on to, and I asked them about my character … for the first audition stage. They gave me some insight into who he was and everything, I read the book really quickly to find out about the character, and I just realized that a lot of him is about me.

He’s this tracker. He obviously does a lot of running, and I do loads of running, so I just worked out of it. It was very easy for me to play the character, as opposed to building the character from the bottom up … it’s a lot easier when you’re acting, to do that. So I just made the character myself, and when I got called back for the second audition, it was in front of Chris [Weitz] and it was in front of Wyck [Godfrey], and I was just myself. [Laughs] I was just, you know, charming and smiles and everything. I wasn’t typically vampiric, in that sense. And I think Chris liked it; he started laughing.

In Stephenie Meyer’s book, Demetri is described as polite …
CB: Very polite, yeah. And I’m just a nice English guy. I’ve had my trouble, and it’s gone. I’m just a nice guy who doesn’t want any trouble. [Laughs] I think Demetri is someone who ... seeks out trouble and adventure. He’s getting very bored, having been alive for thousands of years. I think he’s interested in trouble -- nonspecific -- or adventure -- nonspecific -- or any kind of action. I think being a vampire, or being alive for 3000 years, just makes you very bored. Look at Marcus’ character; he’s very apathetic, and he just sat there … he just wants to die.

Do you actually know Demetri’s backstory, based on what’s in the book?
CB: I made it up.

Tell us!
CB: Demetri was obviously Italian. And at a young age, he was orphaned. He was living in the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius -- the big, volcanic mountain -- and in 900 A.D., it erupts. Lava starts pouring down, and his parents get caught in it. Their house gets taken apart. I outrun the lava, into the foothills, where I found a place where I was safe, essentially. But I couldn’t provide for myself, so I was thrown into slavery. I went through various masters but they couldn’t pin me down, because I was so nonchalant and arrogant and just ran away from everyone; it was really frustrating. I kept getting sold on to the next guy -- the next master, for the best price they could get -- and I was too nice for someone just to kill me.

So eventually I got sold to a merchant trader in Rome, who dealt specifically in fighters, and I found myself in front of the Coliseum with these baying, bloodthirsty Romans, desperate for gladiatorial combat. I didn’t have any fighting skills, so I just ran around for three hours and no one could catch me -- until somebody shot me with an arrow. I was lying on the floor, I was about to die, I was waiting for Commodus’ verdict of thumbs up or thumbs down, and he’s about to give it a down when Aro comes in and whispers in his ear and says, “Don’t kill him, I’ll take him.” Aro converts me in the depths of the Coliseum himself, and I’ve been working loyally for him ever since.

Did you think of sharing this with Stephenie?
CB: [Glances at Stephenie nearby] Oh, yes, Stephenie’s there! I actually asked Stephenie …

Are you going with the crew to Italy?
CB: Yeah, we leave on the 24th. I can’t wait.

How many weeks will you be there?
CB: Just five days, I think.

For those who haven’t read the books, does your character come back?
CB: He does. I recur until right at the end, when I get killed off.

What power would you give Demetri if you could give him another power?
CB: That’s a good question. [Pauses to think] I think he’s a little bit pissed off that Jane has taken over the head of the Volturi; he hates that. Ergo, I think he would take a psychological power …

2:15PM Charlie has to go back to set, but he promises me that he’ll figure out the power he’d give Demetri and report back when he decides.

2:30PM Mr. Bewley motions me over as we watch filming. Seems he really has been pondering the question. Love it.

In an English-accented whisper, Charlie reveals that he’d give Demetri: “the power to change people’s minds.”

“For example," he says, "in the scene where Demetri is first introduced to the fray, Edward refuses to come with Bella. He says, "Bella, you go off and enjoy the festival. I’ll go with Demetri and Felix." If Demetri had the power to switch Edward’s mind and change his mind, he wouldn’t need Jane to come in and clear up the air, how slow they’re being. Jane’s brutally efficient because she’s so dangerous. This is why she’s head guard, and I hate that, as Demetri, because I used to be God. So that’s what I’d do.”

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