Best known for the TV show 'Fast Lane' and more recently 'Damages', Peter Facinelli has been working in feature films and television for close to fifteen years. At only thirty-four years old, Facinelli is one of the older members of the cast of his latest feature 'Twilight'. Reporting for Mania.com, I sat down with Peter for a one on one interview where we talked about what it was like to play the patriarch of a family of vampires in the movie and how it was to stay out of the sun.
“I took my kids to Legoland and it was literally me in a baseball hat, with sunglasses and a hood on because I couldn’t get any sun," Facinelli told us, referring to the fact that he and his fellow vampire cast mates were not allowed to go out into the sun during filming so they could be as pale as possible. "It’s ninety degrees outside and I look like the Unabomber, which is funny because Jen [Jennie Garth of '90210' and 'Dancing With the Stars' is married to Facinelli]… had to get a hold of me, but my phone wasn’t working. So they called the park and said can you search the park for Peter Facinelli, but there is no way they could have found me because I am hiding out in a hoody and sunglasses and sun block 100.”
Facinelli read 'Twilight' the night before he met with Director, Catherine Hardwicke. In fact, at first Facinelli wasn’t sure he even wanted to go up for the part of Dr. Carlisle Cullen.
“They called me and said, ‘do you want to go up for a vampire movie?’ I said not really because I thought a vampire movie was some kind of zombie film with lots of blood squirting and I just didn’t want to do that," Facinelli explained. "They told me it was a really good book and I had never heard of it. I loved Catherine Hardwicke so I said they should set up the meeting and I read the book that night, literally in one night. It was that good I couldn’t put it down. I became a fan of the book that night and I said I have to do this movie. I met with Catherine, read the next day and a little while later I had it.”
When Facinelli was cast in the role, he read some of the online blogs about the casting choices from the fans of the book, but tried not to let it get the best of him.
“I remember when we were cast going online and reading about it and the fans hated everybody. Everyone loved Ashley Greene, but everybody else they hated," the actor said. "Then when they saw pictures of how everyone looked, and to Catherine’s credit, she took a risk with a lot of the actors. If you look at us you wouldn’t normally say oh he should play Carlisle or he could play Edward. Catherine knew, ‘I can get them to look like the characters and what I need is an essence and these people have the essence of what I’m looking for,’ which is a great testament to her as a director. A lot of directors would say, ‘If you don’t look like it, you’re not it.’ She took a leap of faith with all of us."
A big selling point for Facinelli for taking the role was Catherine Hardwicke’s passion for the material.
“Catherine is so passionate and lively. A lot of directors they just sit in a chair and they are so formal and they sit there and watch you. Catherine springs to her feet and makes you feel like she’s your best friend. Then she started reading with me, which directors normally don’t read with you, but she wants to be in it. You feel the passion from her and it makes you want to be just as good for her. She’s just so excited.”
Playing the father figure to a family of vampires, Facinelli and the entire Cullen clan developed a deep bond with one another even after filming had ended.
“It is very much like a family. There’s no weirdness there. If you don’t see somebody for three weeks, a month you pick up right where you left off. There’s no formalness. Yesterday I hadn’t seen Nikki [Reed who plays Rosalie], or Kristen [Stewart who plays Bella] or Rob [Pattison who plays Edward]," Facinelli said. "I gave Kristen a big kiss and Rob a big kiss on the lips. I love all of them. They’re like my kids. There is a bond there that’s great. I like them as people and as actor’s I respect them. Sometimes when you work with a big cast there are cliques, but we were there for each other and it feels like that.”
Coming up for Facinelli is a new television series with Edie Falco on Showtime called 'Nurse Jackie'. Filming begins in a week. It’s a half hour dramedy where Facinelli once again plays a doctor, but it’s a far different kind of doctor then the one he plays in 'Twilight'.
'Twilight' opens this Friday! Coming up here on Mania will be more interviews with the cast as well as Director, Catherine Hardwicke.