Soon, everyone in the world will know their names and faces, but as of right now, Taylor Lautner, Rachelle Lefevre and Edi Gathegi are experiencing the serenity of the calm before the storm. Taylor Lautner, probably the most soon-to-be-famous of them all, plays Jacob Black, Bella Swan’s (Kristen Stewart) best friend in the Twilight series. There are still thousands of teen girls who will remain on Team Jacob despite the recent mania over Robert Pattinson, who plays Bella’s romantic interest Edward Cullen. Rachelle Lefevre and Edi Gathegi will have a slightly more difficult job winning over audiences, as they play the villains Victoria and Laurent who will threaten the livelihood of our central couple.
BuddyTV recently sat down to talk to the three actors about their experience with Twilight. In part 1 of our interview, they discuss the cast dynamics, working with Catherine Hardwicke, their experiences with the books and they even give all the guys out there some dating advice. You can listen to the interview or just read the transcript below. I recommend listening – there were way too many funny moments with these three who are all clearly charming and talented.
The age of the cast is so varied. Did you guys find yourselves migrating to people your own age or was it very much like an ensemble?
Rachelle Lefevre: No, it was really ensemble
Edi Gathegi: For the most part we’re all sort of the same age.
Rachelle Lefevre: Give or take a few years.
Edi Gathegi: I mean, you’ve got him (points to Taylor), who’s two times eight but he’s so impressive that I would hang out with him and I wouldn’t feel like I was hanging out with a kid
Rachelle Lefevre: Peter, who plays the dad, is like 30-something. I mean, like really young. We were all just able to hang out together. We didn’t feel so much of an age difference.
Taylor Lautner: I was kinda nervous about it at first. When I was on the plane flying out there, I was like “How’s this going to be?” But it was great. Everybody was so fun to work with.
You were nervous being young?
Taylor Lautner: I was a little nervous being young, but it turned out awesome. The cast is so nice and fun.
Edi Gathegi: I don’t know how you did it. When I was 16… so much pressure.
Rachelle Lefevre: Dude, I totally couldn’t have done a movie like this when I was 16. Oh my God.
It seemed interesting because when they cast you, Taylor in particular, there’s an expectation of what you’re going to turn into in subsequent books, assuming they film the next ones. Was that part of the audition process? Did you guys talk about that?
Taylor Lautner: The only thing is that they needed sides for me to read, so they used the beach scene from the movie, from the script, and then I had two other scenes and they literally just pulled quotes from New Moon and Eclipse and made them sides. So I actually got to do a couple scenes from New Moon and Eclipse with Kristen. It was kind of fun. It was a little taste.
How are you going to grow a couple feet? Jacob is supposed to be very very tall.
Rachelle Lefevre: He going to stand on a lot of apple boxes.
Taylor Lautner: I wish we had Catherine Hardwicke here to explain that one to you. But we’ll see. I’m doing the best I can.
Rachelle Lefevre: We feed him 8 times a day.
Taylor Lautner: Peter Facinelli said that I was going to use Tom Cruise’s stilts. We’ll see what Catherine has under her sleeves. She’s usually very creative.
How was it working with Catherine Hardwicke? She has such a distinct style. How was watching that come to life?
Edi Gathegi: Well, for my part, I knew that this was a director I wanted to work with in my audition because she sort of had this energy, this eagerness to get work done, very enthusiastic and optimistic and that’s something you want your director to have. It’s that sort of energy that brings great performances out of young actors who are operating on a more energetic level. She actually has that energetic level so she works well with young people and you know that from her previous work like Lords of Dogtown and Thirteen. She has a great history with younger actors. I think that’s one of the unique things she brings as well as her design background. She has a great eye. An eye for space and action. She’s talented.
A question for all three of you regarding the phenomenon that is Twilight: It’s so huge with the book series and whatnot so I wondered how many of you, prior to being cast, were fanatics or followers of the series? Were you big fans prior to being cast?
Taylor Lautner: I actually had no idea what Twilight was. I heard that it was a book series. I’d never seen a book.
Like any book?
Rachelle Lefevre: I was going to say something but then I was like “Do I let that slide?” We take care of each other and so I was thinking “I’ll just let it go maybe.”
Taylor Lautner: That too.
Rachelle Lefevre: He can read and write people.
Taylor Lautner: Sorry, I was referring to the Twilight series. I’d never seen a Twilight series book before, in my life. As soon as I was cast, that was when I found out how big this was and what the potential was. I was so excited to be a part of it. I was like “wow.” Originally I was just excited to work with Catherine Hardwicke and I did a chemistry read with Kristen Stewart and so I was excited to work with them. But then when I found out how much of a phenomenon this was, it was crazy for me.
It’s probably better too because casting has been everything with the fans of this book and if you had gone in think “they’re going to hate me,” I can imagine that would have been a little bit more petrifying
Taylor Lautner: Yeah, it would have been a little bit stressful.
What about Rachelle and Edi, were you fans of the series prior to being involved in the movie or was it like Taylor?
Rachelle Lefevre: I read Twilight right before my audition. So I had heard of the books but hadn’t read them. As soon as I read Twilight, I went into the audition – I didn’t have the pressure of thinking everybody’s expecting something so I have to be what they are imagining. I already had a vampire thing and I was already into the genre. Having read Twilight, I went in with a certain amount of “I really want this job” and then after the audition I read the other two books. I knew I was going to read them whether I got the role or not. I was just hooked. I read them and then as soon as Breaking Dawn came out, I read the forth. So yeah, I’m definitely a fan.
Edi Gathegi: I think for me, I would have been in trouble if I had read the books before auditioning and realizing how big it was. Especially because when I was cast, there was backlash from the fans because they didn’t really see Laurent as being African American because he’s described as being “olive-toned.” So I decided to address the issue head on. I did an interview where I addressed it and I said ,“Well, there are many different types of olives. Black olives, anyone?” And instantly, all naysayers became believers because they were like A. As far as I’m concerned, black olives are the only olives that exist in my world and B. The interview had some substance in it and they could tell that I was a genuine fan of Stephenie Meyer’s novel and that I was going to do my best to bring this character to life.
Rachelle Lefevre: And that you’d thought about it…
Edi Gathegi: And that I thought about specific things about this world and I was invested. When they saw that this was not an actor who will butcher out baby, we want him to play the part. Now we’re supportive of him.
Edi, you’ve actually called yourself sort of a Twi-Hard before…
Edi Gathegi: Twiguy now is the thing. It’s the new phrase.
Haha, okay. So what advice would you for other guys who might not think they would enjoy this stereotypically girl movie?
Edi Gathegi: Easy.
Rachelle Lefevre: This is the best answer ever.
Edi Gathegi: Easy. If you have a girlfriend, you take her to this movie and you get points. If you’re single and you go to a Twilight event, there will be nothing but girls. Guys, this is a goldmine that you need to tap into.
Rachelle Lefevre: And I actually added my two cents in there from the female perspective – I’m sorry ladies, I know that I’m betraying you by giving away our secrets – but, if you’re girlfriend goes “Hey, I really want to go see Twilight” and as a guy, you just go “Okay. I know you really want to see it so alright,” you don’t get any points for that.
Edi Gathegi: No points.
Rachelle Lefevre: But if you’re a guy and you say to your girlfriend “Hey, I know you really like this Twilight, baby, Saturday night, why don’t we go see Twilight? Come on, I’ll take you,” then for me, that’s like perfect. It’s got to be the guy’s idea. Points. Score.
Edi Gathegi: That’s your get out of jail free card right there. Twilight.
Rachelle Lefevre: You can’t just get dragged.
What about the people that go into the movie cold? They heard all the build up and they’ve heard about how popular the books are but they’ve never cracked open the books. They go, “Okay, I’ll take a chance on this just because I’ve heard so much about it.” Kind of like the Tolkien non-fan who goes to Lord of the Rings just because of the enthusiasm and hype surrounding it. You’ve talked about Catherine Hardwicke and her eye and her style and her mark on the movie, what do you think, seeing the visual interpretation of the story, without reading the book, what do you think they’ll take away from the movie?
Edi Gathegi: Well, it’s actually a very lovely story at its very core. It’s a story about this human girl who falls in love with a vampire and at its essence; it’s a romance novel and a romance movie. I think that the movie, itself, independent of the book, which you don’t really because of the book, but for those who haven’t read the book, it stands on its own. It’s a great film in that way and there’s a lot of action in it halfway through the film. This is what Taylor loves. Halfway through the film it gets amped up and it’s non-stop, go, go, go, which is thrilling and exciting and you really feel like you’ve enjoyed a movie going experience with this film.
Taylor Lautner: I know that all my guy friends would totally love the film. I tend to like romance films but this one is not just a romance. It’s got action. It’s got this little twist of horror in it. I personally love the film and I think that anybody that goes to see it will love it as well.
From the trailer, it seems like there are more action scenes than there are in the book, particularly with your characters, Rachelle and Edi. Can you talk about more of what’s not in the book that is going to be in the movie?
Rachelle Lefevre: I don’t think there really is anything that is in the movie that’s not in the book. There might be a couple of things that are either a way to link two scenes or two story points because they had to condense the story or it might be something like – because it’s Bella’s point of view, there are things that happen where Bella doesn’t have the exact viewpoint so she misses a lot of the action because it moves too quickly for her and her human eyes. There’s a lot of action in the movie that is in the book but it’s just that we’ve actually shown it to you rather than Bella going “I got hit in the head, I woke up, I heard there was a fight.” We actually show you the fight. So in that sense, I think there’s a lot more action in it. The other thing that I would say is that I think it’s actually a faster pace because it has to be. Because the book is 600 pages and the movie script was like 100 pages and that’s just what happens in an adaptation but I think that we were really really true to the book.
Also Check out:
True Blood vs. Twilight: Who’s the Better Vampire Boyfriend?
-Interview conducted by Kim Wetter
(image courtesy of Summit Entertainment)