The actor who portrays Dr. Carlisle Cullen talks about the ever-popular film, the enormous fan response and the forthcoming sequel
Peter Facinelli is part of the hottest vampire brood in town with his role as the Cullen patriarch, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, in the box-office hit, Twilight, which has taken in over $123 million at the box office in its 13-day run so far, which spawned Summit Entertainment's announcement of the sequel, New Moon, just a day after the first film had opened. I had the chance to speak with Facinelli over the phone about the success of the first film, and the impending sequel as well. Here's what Facinelli had to say.
I read that Robert Pattinson hadn't even really heard of the books before he signed on. Were you aware of the books or the phenomena it had before signing on to the movie?
Peter Facinelli: No. I wasn't aware of it either. I read the books the day before I had met with (director) Catherine Hardwicke. The first I heard of it was my agent called and said, 'Do you want to be in a vampire movie?' and I said 'No.' (Laughs). I thought it was like a zombie, blood-and-guts, vampire movie. I didn't know what it was. They said, 'No, Catherine Hardwicke is directing it and it's based off a really good book.' So I went out and bought the book and I read it in a day. It's a good read. I met with Catherine and I went off to do it.
I heard you had a pretty rigorous makeup process to go through in the film. Can you explain a bit about that?
Peter Facinelli: They were these little, compact, battery-operated ionizers, makeup ionizers. They were like airbrushes. They touched you while they were putting makeup on you and you got zapped, like a static charge. You'd come in in the morning and put your contact lenses in and they'd put your makeup on. I tried to stay out of the sun, because the more color you had, the more makeup you had to wear, to cover your color.
It also had to be a little odd to portray Robert Pattinson's father and you only have 13 years between you. How did that dynamic work out and how did you like working with Robert on the film?
Peter Facinelli: You know, I really enjoyed the whole cast. We really became a family. Everybody fell into their place when we got there and we didn't really know each other so we just kind of knew each other from the characters we were playing. I became like the father figure of the group. It was a little awkward at first, because I have to make sure there is a difference between my character and the rest of these kids, and if it's not in how I look, it has to be in how this character is played. I was conscious of making sure that he was played as not one of the kids, in his movements. He should be from a different time period, and the way he talks, we should feel that there's 350 years of experience under this guy's skin. So that's what I kind of worked on with this character.
I was at the Comic-Con panel and it was pretty insane. It seemed the cast was pretty shell-shocked. I didn't see you on the panel, so what was the first thing that you heard of from someone who was on that panel when they got back?
Peter Facinelli: I heard it was really crazy, in a good way. I don't think I fully understood until I was at the premiere, how insane it was. I mean, the premiere was just awesome, meeting fans. It was really surreal.
I've read the sequel, New Moon, is being prepped now. Is there a script completed right now, that you know of?
Peter Facinelli: I know that it was in the works, but I haven't seen one yet. Right now, I'm working on a series called Nurse Jackie, a Showtime series with Edie Falco. I'm working on this until February and then I'm just waiting for New Moon.
So have you gone ahead and read the rest of the books since then as well?
Peter Facinelli: I had the first three read before I started shooting. I wanted to soak up as much information as possible. The first three were available, the fourth one hadn't come out yet. Now that the fourth one is out, I'm about halfway through it, but I've been working to finish it up.
Kristen Stewart was interviewed recently and she said they're looking to start New Moon this March in Italy. Is that where they're planning on shooting this movie?
Peter Facinelli: I don't know. I know that in the book, there are scenes in Italy. Whether they use Vancouver as Italy (Laughs), the way Hollywood picks a place and says, 'That's Italy,' who knows. Maybe we're going to Italy. I don't know.
For people who might not be that familiar with the books, what kinds of things can we expect from your character in the sequel?
Peter Facinelli: I can tell you, in the next book, the Cullen's kind of leave for a little while because we're afraid to harm Bella. She starts to think, 'Was the whole thing a dream?' Then we end up coming back. It's hard, because I don't want to give away stuff for people who haven't read the book. I don't want to spoil anything. Maybe the less I say, the better.
There has been sort of a trend lately, for book series like this that are adapted into films, to be shot back-to-back. Has that process been kicked around at all?
Peter Facinelli: You know, there were talks of maybe shooting the second and third back-to-back. I don't think there's a script for the third, one, which is the problem. I think if they get a script for the third one ready, it would probably be a good thing to do because it's always easier to shoot back-to-back because everyone's just there for that duration. But, I don't know. I think right know, Summit is kind of taking it all in, to plan their next step. The only thing that I know is that New Moon is going to be filming starting next spring.
With the first one, it wasn't under the radar necessarily, but I don't know if anyone anticipated how huge of a hit this would be. Do you think it will be a little bit different on the set this time around, with the kind of expectations and pressure that come with such a big hit as the first one?
Peter Facinelli: There was a lot of expectations and pressure on the first one, because the fanbase is pretty big, when we were shooting the movie. I think the whole cast was aware of the responsibility we had to tell Stephanie's (Meyer) story, to try to get it right and take our work seriously. I don't see the expectations dissipating at all, but I think it will be about the same. I think more people might be looking out for it, but we were always there to shoot this film, and while we were there we were always trying to make sure we met most of the expectations of the fans, and I think we'll continue to do that on the second one.
Finally, is there anything you'd like to say to the huge Twilight fanbase that's been supporting your film so far?
Peter Facinelli: Yeah. Thanks for all the support on this movie. We're all overwhelmed and humbled by the support that you've shown and how everyone's turned out. We're glad that people like it and we're looking forward to more.
Great. Thank you so much for your time today, Peter.
Peter Facinelli: Thank you.
You can catch the phenomena of Twilight in theaters nationwide and we'll surely keep you posted on any news or developments on the Twilight sequel, New Moon.
Twilight was released November 21st, 2008 and stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Gigandet, Ashley Greene, Christian Serratos. The film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon was released November 20th, 2009 and stars Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Christian Serratos, Michael Welch. The film is directed by Chris Weitz.