Gathered together for a 'bad vampire' press conference in Los Angeles, co-stars Dakota Fanning, Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuel talked about their evil undead characters in Eclipse.
Dakota Fanning, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Xavier Samuel Eclipse Press ConferenceDakota, you are so very evil in this. What is it like?
Dakota Fanning: "This is the first time I’ve gotten to play the same character in a different film. It was really great. I love playing this character; it’s a fun character to get to play, and being a part of all that is Twilight is such an honor and still kind of surreal for me. I feel so lucky to be a part of it."
What do you like about her?
Dakota Fanning: "She’s obviously not the nicest person, but it’s kind of fascinating to be able to play someone that takes pleasure in hurting people. That’s kind of a weird thing to get to do, and obviously something I’ve never done before."
Bryce, how was it coming into this world for just one time?
Bryce Dallas Howard: "I had not only read the books, I actually, one of m friends made this little pack of post-it notes for me with Rob’s face that said ‘live dangerously.’ All of my friends were like, ‘Why are you so obsessed?’ I’m just like, ‘It’s so dangerous. Their love is so dangerous.’"
"It was very fast, it was very sudden, and to be honest I was intimidated going into it for a variety of reasons. But I felt so lucky to get to meet this group of people. It’s a group of people that have genuine friendships and are so deeply committed to doing justice to these stories, and always put the character first, always put the story first. Obviously that’s translated and I think that’s why the movies are as beloved as they are."
Bryce, your fight scene with Rob, he said you were being careful with him and he was a bit nervous about pushing you around. How did you put that aside and go for it?
Bryce Dallas Howard: "There was a lot of fight training that happened to prepare for it. Actors are always nervous about not only hurting each other but maybe perhaps hitting each other’s face and ending one’s career. So there was a lot of preparation that made us feel more comfortable, certainly. I just knew that if I rustled his hair perhaps millions of young women would want to kill me, so I was quite cautious for that reason. It was fun. There’s a point at which you’re wrestling for six consecutive hours that it just becomes absurd. You can’t help yourself but laugh. It ultimately was great, yeah, it was a really good job."
All of your characters are more fully fleshed out in Stephenie’s new book, The Second Life of Bree Tanner. Did you all read that and if so did it influence what you did?
Bryce Dallas Howard: "You got a copy."
Xavier Samuel: "Yeah, I was given a secret copy that was handed to me by David Slade himself. I kind of felt like I had been given this really valuable document. It was amazing because, like you say, it really fleshes out those characters and gives an insight into, particularly, the Riley/Victoria relationship that’s not necessarily present in the Twilight saga. I just kind of treated it like some secret information. It really kind of informed a lot of the choices as well, and it’s kind of exciting to read."
Bryce Dallas Howard: "Because it wasn’t given to me I didn’t feel entitled to necessarily take it from Xavier’s room. But I was like, ‘Can you read some of it out loud to me?' and he did. He read all the Victoria parts. Did you get a copy of it?"
Dakota Fanning: "I did not. Left out of that one."
When you entered into the Twilight franchise, did your family and friends who are big Twilight fans grill you about what happened on set: "What’s so-and-so like? Are these two together?" Do you have to figure out what you can tell people close to you?
Bryce Dallas Howard: "I want to know what your experience is like because you’re in high school."
Dakota Fanning: "You get the normal questions but I think that people that are close to me, especially in school, are kind of used to it by now so it’s not such a big deal. They kind of forget that I’m even in the movies, so I haven’t really had to deal with a lot of that. No."
Bryce Dallas Howard: "Since I was sort of the resident Twi-hard in my group, kind of what I was talking about before, I was ridiculed for it. And now it’s like, ‘Ha!’ Now they fully need to embrace it and support it."
Xavier Samuel: "My mother has made it her personal mission to monitor all the information about me on the Internet."
Bryce Dallas Howard: "She really has."
Xavier Samuel: "But I’ve had a few strange requests, like, 'If you could bring back a plastic cup that Rob sipped on or maybe if you could sneak up to him quickly and take a lock of his hair…' But, no, other than those odd requests."
Xavier, you’re new to the franchise. Who was the most welcoming and how were you welcomed? Was there a hazing ritual?
Xavier Samuel: "I guess playing a bad guy and kind of an outsider and a foreigner in an already established family you’re a bit intimidated, but I’m so grateful to be accepted so warmly into the whole family. Everyone’s extremely down to earth. And also Bryce, who I’ve become very good friends with, we kind of locked eyes at the airport and you go, ‘Okay, there’s someone here that, you know…' But no stunts, no initiation or anything like that. Just a lot of fun and great to hang out with those guys."
Bryce, did you dye your hair red or have to get extensions? Any damage to your hair? What's the hair story?
Bryce Dallas Howard: "I’ll tell you all about it. Actually quite ironically, I think I flew out on a Monday or a Tuesday to do the role and that Friday I had dyed my hair really dark. My natural hair color is an orange-red, which is what is depicted in the book. That Friday I dyed my hair really dark and that Monday learned about it and flew out the next day and showed up and they were like, ‘This is not the girl we hired.’ Shooting had to start pretty quickly so I wore a wig, which I was really happy about because it was really important to have continuity with the character. And even though my hair color was perhaps right, I felt that the texture and everything needed to be as exact as possible."