In the film 'Twilight', which opens Friday, there is a special family that lives in the sleepy town of Forks, WA. They are the Cullens, an eclectic group indeed. The patriarch of the family Dr. Carlisle Cullen, played in the film by Peter Facinelli, fostered six children. The family, however, carries a dark secret that no one in the town knows. The Cullens are actually vampires.
Mania sat down with the Cullen clan, consisting of Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Elizabeth Reaser and Peter Facinelli about what it was like to play such a family.
Facinelli told us that if you want to be a vampire, you have to look and feel the part.
"The make-up team is phenomenal. They had some sort of gadget from Japan. As they put the make-up on you if they touched you, you would get shocked," the actor said. You had to be careful, but it was early in the morning so if you got shocked it woke you up. For me it was blonde in a bottle that took a day at the salon.”
Nikki Reed who plays Rosalie Hale Cullen chimed in, “You’re lucky.”
Facinelli laughs, “Yea some of us had to go back to the salon more than others. It was a lot of maintenance, but it was a fun transformation.”
In terms of the transformation everyone had to wear contact lenses, which at times became painful. Kellan Lutz who plays Emmet Cullen had a particularly difficult time with them. "I don’t wear glasses and I never wore contacts, but my family has so they said it would be easy. I wouldn’t be able to put them in myself."
“Yea we had two people tie him to a chair,” says Facinelli.
Lutz continues, “Yea they were holding my eyes open and they got them in.”
“...with a crowbar,” jokes Facinelli.
One thing that you instantly notice with this group is a sense of genuine family and camaraderie. The group became close friends over the course of the shoot.
"There’s a bond there because we all respected each other as actors and respected each other as people. We really all enjoy each other’s company. When I see them, they put a smile on my face. I actually have a profound, family love; I enjoy them. I truly enjoy them,” says Facinelli.
“We play poker,” Reed says.
“We also had a lot of time to bond before shooting,” Rathbone adds.
For both Elizabeth Reaser who plays Esme Cullen, the matriarch of the family and Facinelli who plays the patriarch, there was some challenge in playing parents to teenagers. In real life the two actors are only about ten years older than the teen and early twenty something actors that play their children. How did they prepare for the challenges of parenthood?
Reaser says, “I have three nephews and I thought about them a lot. It’s kind of fun to have Nikki call me mom.”
There are a lot of stunts in the film and the actors had to do a great deal of high wire work that had to be done throughout the film. What was that experience like for the actors?
“Painful…a lot of rubbing,” said Lutz
“Really?” asks Ashley Greene who plays Alice Cullen the member of the family that can see into the future. “I thought it was amazing and super fun.”
“Ugh yea,” laughs Lutz.
“It was painful for me,” chimes in Reed, “You’re putting on this suit that’s like fifteen pounds and it’s like a girdle and then you’re hooked onto like forty cables and then they go, ‘one, two, three’ and they lift you in the air. Then the camera isn’t ready so you’re like chilling in the air and dangling all of your weight.”
Yet the most awkward moment for one actor wasn't about getting into vampire character.
“Where’s Rob? You have to ask Rob about embarrassing moments," Facinelli tells us. "His baseball stuff was embarrassing because he had never played baseball so it was very awkward for him to squat so it was fun yet painful. He finally got it and looked great.”
Vampires have been part of pop culture for some time now. Are there specific films that the cast thought of when thinking about vampires before doing Twilight? Both Lutz and Jackson Rathbone who plays Jasper Hale Cullen shout out, “Lost Boys.”
Facinelli says, “Underworld.”
Reed asks, “Underworld?”
“Well I say Underworld because that was my idea of vampire movies before 'Twilight'. It’s all fangs and gore and guts. When I read 'Twilight' it was more of the Bella Lagosi, beautiful images and sensuality and mystique, which is what I liked about it,” says Facinelli.
The cast is signed on for three of the films and sequels are already under way for the studio. You can check out the Cullen clan and 'Twilight' when it opens in theaters tomorrow.