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Exclusive Interview: Peter Facinelli on 'Twilight'

Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, and Rob Pattinson in Twilight
Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, and Rob Pattinson in Twilight
Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

Have you read the rest of the series?
I read the first three because I wanted to get a good sense of Carlisle Cullen. But now Jennie's got Breaking Dawn and she's not giving it up. She's halfway done now. But now I'm reading Stephenie Meyer's The Host. And my daughter Luca is 11, and she's read the first book. I haven't let her read the others yet because she's a little young for the content in those. But I also wanted her to be able to watch Twilight the movie as a story in and of itself. When you start reading the others, you get the bigger picture, but you lose sight of the first one on its own.

What did Luca think of it?
She's really, really excited. And it's exciting for me because most of my film and TV work is aimed at adults, so she hasn't been able to see any of it. This is the first movie that I can actually have my kid see, and that's exciting to me. Usually Luca and my other two daughters [Lola and Fiona] can see their mom Jen's work, but they wonder what I do. So this is new for me. I'm excited about it. It's good to be able to have something that my kids can be a part of.

How was shooting in Portland, Oregon? As rainy as it seems?
No, you know, we thought there would be a lot of overcast skies — that's why we went there. I don't know if it was global warming or what, but we ended up getting a lot of sunny days. Usually on a film set, sun is good. But with this one, it was the exact opposite. We were hoping for cloud coverage. And we'd want rain but we'd get sun.

Did you guys have to use a lot of SPF 50 to stay pale, or was it a lot of make-up?
It was a little bit of both. As soon as we got the parts, we were told, "Do NOT go in the sun." It was in the contract! So I tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible. There was make-up involved, but the more tan you already were, the more make-up you'd need — and you don't want that really thick, cakey make-up on your face. So the paler you were, the easier it was in the make-up chair. So I'd be walking around L.A. pre-shoot, taking the kids to school in a hat and glasses and a hood. I looked like the Unabomber. And my wife would tell me I looked so pale I looked sickly. And then there were the contacts lenses.

How did those go over?
I had to wear contacts for this movie I did called Supernova, so I've sort of gotten used to them. But when I first did that film, two technicians had to literally tie me to the chair and pop them in, I had such trouble. So some of the kids really had trouble with them on Twilight. But they did a lot better than I did on my first contact-lenses gig. We did the golden color because the Cullens have those golden eyes. And then, when we're hungry, we have to pop the red ones in. Those were pretty freaky. I definitely look very different in this film, between the blonde hair, the ghostly skin, and those contacts. It's different than anything else I've done before, which I loved.

They added a lot more action to the film version. Was it live-action or was there a lot of green screen?
We had a lot of rehearsals. And these rehearsals were like cat classes to teach us that graceful, cat-like movement. We had to go in big with and then tone it down and down and down till it was very subtle. And we had a lot of action training sequences. But the biggest stunts were for the baseball scene — the scene with the thunder, where we're moving at super-speed. But we didn't do a lot of green screen, actually. What I love about this film is that it's kind of the anti-Harry Potter. They're big on green screen and studio perfection. This film is more raw, more character-driven. It's kind of like an art house film with a very commercial story. Catherine [Hardwicke] shoots almost documentary-style on this. There's a lot of hand-held with Twilight. It's very different than other films.

Are you aware the Twilighters and Twi-Hards, as they call themselves, who have been following the film's production?
There's too much to follow! The fans starting showing up to the set before we really even started. They're so excited and it's exciting for us to be making something that people really want to see. I think if people are talking about it at all, it's a good thing. Whether they're what they're saying is positive or negative, it will get people to the theaters — and I think they'll be surprised.

Do you think the adaptation stays true to the book?
Well, it's hard when you're doing a movie based on a book, because everyone already sees their own version in their head. So you can't ever match someone's interpretation of it. So this is Catherine's interpretation and our interpretations of the characters. But people going to the theater will be bringing their interpretations with them.

There's already talk about a New Moon adaptation.
I'm on board for any and all Twilight Saga adaptations they want to make. I'm a huge fan. It's fun doing a movie that you'd really want to see. I have people come up and tell me they're crazy Twilight fans, and my response is, "So am I." I'd love to see more movies made.

So are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Well, I'm completely biased but I have to say Team Edward. He's my family. And my wife is totally Team Edward. But it depends on which book she's reading. At one point, she was on New Moon, and she was like, "I'm Team Jacob, how could Edward do that?" But now she's dedicated to Edward.

Kristen Stewart
Cam Gigandet
Rob Pattinson and Rachelle Lefevre
Catherine Hardwicke and Stephenie Meyer
Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg

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