I made it out of my chat with Charlie Bewley and Daniel Cudmore, veterans of The Twilight Saga pictures as members of the menacing Volturi vampire council, without being either, you know, decapitated or “changed.” They may be diabolically vicious onscreen but luckily neither seems all that threatening sitting on the sofa of a hotel suite at Chicago’s tony Waldorf Astoria.
In the series Charlie is a master tracker and Daniel a 6’6” brawny behemoth, but today they’re just two affable chaps in town to discuss The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the much-anticipated final chapter to the phenomenon that set hearts aflutter with its girl-power immortality and eternal soul mating, brought us KStew and RPatz, not to mention Team Jacob (yeah!) and was throughout a half silly, half sweet triangulation of boys meet girl while vampires, werewolves, Fate and copious CGI intervene.
Their new venture back to the Volturi contains both more action and menace, including an all-out battle to the death, upping the ante for both the Cullens and the picture’s adventure quotient, less this time about love and more about staying alive. Both actors are in supporting roles yet make the most of their screen time, particularly in the film’s visceral second half.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is an epic compared to the prior Twilight movies—there are a lot more characters and a bigger showdown.
Charlie Bewley: Yes, a grander scale for sure. The stakes are so high with Bella becoming a vampire and her untested abilities, which are really put to the test. You have the growth of her baby, Renesmee, and then twenty-five new vampires with special powers and how that all comes together and fits into the confrontation with the Volturi. It’s great for us as members of the Volturi guard because we do get to show more of what we are made of.
I’ve read there is an exciting scene between the two of you in an alley that is actually gravity defying.
Daniel Cudmore: It’s the process of us getting a little more strength as we travel over to the Pacific Northwest to meet up with the Cullens. Without giving too much away, it’s a recruiting trip. Charlie and I got a chance to shoot this really cool scene in downtown New Orleans in this alleyway that used to be this old speakeasy. We got to do some stunts and have fun, which was really cool. It was the first action scene that (director) Bill Condon had ever shot. I think it was fun for him at the same time also.
The Twilight series has covered a lot of ground thematically, from falling in love to making choices to family. What would you say Breaking Dawn Part 2 is about?
DC: This one is about family and that dynamic, and Bella learning how to be a vampire. And then it’s really about the misunderstanding and protection of family and the confrontation that comes at the end.
CB: The way that all of the witnesses come together to stand up against the Volturi certainly shows solidarity amongst people who feel like they have a cause. That is the metaphor you take from the whole thing, I suppose—how people are misunderstood through conjecture. That’s another interesting byproduct of that confrontation. The whole sprawling tale has been very woven with life lessons that I am sure have not been missed on these rabid fans.
You mention the fans. Certainly the series has become a cultural touch point that has resonated. What is it that has hooked us?
DC: It started with the book and that Romeo and Juliet forbidden love that I think women, more than men, were kind of attracted to—being absolutely cherished by another person that you absolutely love back. And I think the way Stephanie Meyer really created a more contemporary, younger, attractive vampire as opposed to that dark, decrepit being that would come out of the shadows to eat people. That isn’t sexy and was not going to work in this context; you wouldn’t have this young girl falling in love with some pale guy with long fingers. So it’s a fantasy of vampires being younger and more attractive.
CB: Once again it’s a metaphor for the girl who is reading the book—about that guy at school who was unattainable, and being in the shoes of someone who is living the dream, whatever he is, like a star quarterback. The unprecedented nature of the storytelling, definitely written for girls, usually a human and a vampire are in conflict. Here we see where that can go.
Is it still true that Twilight is just for girls and women? Do you think there are guys that are Twilight fans, perhaps in secret? There’s certainly action in the movies.
DC: I think with each film they are linking more into that. There is action and more confrontation that grows throughout them. So I think this one will have more for guys to watch.
CB: I think as the Volturi we play our part in that as well. We are representative of the more mature, darker side of this film. You certainly get the feeling in this film that things have taken a step up, and now there is danger involved with the Volturi threatening this family.
But isn’t it also about a lonely and outcast girl, or just person if you will, who finds special abilities in herself, comes into her own and accepts who she is?
CB: Yes, that is exactly right. In this movie, Kristen overcomes all of her fears and becomes untouchable, bringing in all of the people in around her. It’s great to watch. It’s a superb finale.
Charlie, I really appreciated your performance in Like Crazy, one of last year’s best friends. Your proposal scene is very funny, and we can see why your character is a viable option for Felicity Jones.
CB: Thanks, man, Cheers! That was the idea. I approached the character from a place of truth not caricature. I’ve got hundred of friends…
DC: Hundreds of friends?!
CB: Well, dozens of friends. I think it’s actually 837 friends who have gone into finance and are very happy; they have the simplicity in life that I lack. I’m an actor. I want variation. This guy wanted to be settled. He had known Felicity’s character six months yet knew she was the missing piece. I remember watching it at Sundance the first time and that last scene is so awkward! It’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ The truth comes out! It’s funny because this guy is so earnestly infatuated with this girl. It’s one way, and the audience feels that, and it’s a train crash. I love when people ask me about it.
Daniel, you’ve been involved in some very physical performances—I mean, you are 6’6” tall—how does that factor into the future direction of your career?
DC: Yeah, a lot of the roles I have played are geared to the physicality but I’d like to branch out from that and try some comedy; play some characters that you might not think I would play. Charlie says it’s fun to go out and play different things and have challenges. We are in this industry that is extremely tough and sometimes when the work pops up you just go for it and have a blast on it. I’ve been fortunate enough to do some of the work that is more physical, but I would love to just have a broader stroke. Whatever comes.
What is the best part about your job?
DC: I think for me is just using that creativity that I have inside of me and losing myself in things and the differences in things. I could not do the same thing over and over again or I would go crazy. I like fresh, new things.
CB: I think change is like a narcotic of nature. It’s something we are all designed to do. It’s interesting that the more novelty you bring into your life it relates back to having variety to your career, playing different things and new adventures. It helps time expand in your life so you feel like you are living more. It’s part of the allure of this industry. I have been doing the same thing my whole life—being different people and having different adventures—I am just doing it professionally now and living life truthfully and honestly. I think everyone should act. I really do.
The series has really been about the idea of romantic fate—is there such a thing, or is that just a silly construct?
DC: There is very much a romantic element to it that whatever decisions in their lives have brought them to that point.
CB: I like the idea that if she was fated to be with this Edward guy, then it was her true path to move forward on in life. One of the lines in the movie is that she is always meant to be this person. It’s like me when I said, ‘I’m going to be an actor.’ I had never considered it before. When you get to that place and everything snaps into place and you are standing where you are supposed to be, you realize you were just standing all the time before that waiting to get to that point. It’s a big revelation. You float. You become untouchable. I think everyone has that in them.