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Fansites Exclusive Interview: Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser & Nikki Reed chat about wigs and vampire Bella

July 24, 2012
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Continuing with the series of fansite interviews, which took place at Comic Con and started with Mackenzie Foy yesterday, today we are profiling our discussion with Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen), Elizabeth Reaser (Esme Cullen) and Nikki Reed (Rosalie Hale).

Q: How difficult was it for you, as your characters, to work with Kristen as a vampire, as opposed to working with her as a human being?

Elizabeth Reaser: I mean, I think it was a lot of fun. There’s a scene where she almost kills Taylor. And I believed in the moment that she was strong enough. She really was so committed, whether she was a vampire, vampire Bella, which is completely different, and she was scary, she was a real force.

Peter Facinelli: It’s like a whole different person. It was kinda cool. She’s grown to be so mature, and confident and strong. Really, it was like dealing with a different person altogether. Like, Bella is usually weak and frail. Not weak. But frail as far, you know, a vampire looking at her, and we always felt the need to protect her, and I didn’t feel the need to do that. I felt like this was a woman who could hold her own.

Elizabeth: She could kill us.

Peter: She was stronger than us.

Q: But then was it weird for you? Because one day she would be vampire Bella, and then the next day she’d be back to being human Bella. Because you were filming both films simultaneously? Was that odd?

Nikki Reed: Yeah, and not just human Bella; like human Bella falling…

Elizabeth: apart? (everyone laughs)

Q: And then the next day she was beautiful vampire Bella…

Nikki: That was bizarre.

Elizabeth: Yeah it was weird to see her disfigured like that because it looked so real. It came out great.

Nikki: The last one, Part 1 and 2, that was the only time when my character and Bella actually wanted to interact and have some friendliness and a smile here and there…

Q: Fighting for the same cause.

Nikki: Exactly. The dynamic was very different.

Q: Nikki, you made reference earlier in the panel that you’ve kind of grown up together on the set, and we asked Mackenzie this, and I thought it would be fun to ask you, especially with Peter and Elizabeth sitting here. What did you learn growing up (on set) from the other actors that you worked with? I feel like this is something where you benefit from each other, I’m sure.

Nikki: Um, I think it would be impossible to go through every single one (actor) and come with the most genuine answer because there’s so many people, and certainly from working with these guys sitting next to me, and say, Billy Burke, and Michael Sheen. You guys (gestures to Peter and Elizabeth) have a body of work that I really admire. I mean, I remember seeing (Elizabeth’s) “Sweet Land” and saying, “I can’t believe she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar!” So I think getting to work with people like that, you really try to absorb something from it. I look up to these guys, and they also have a great work ethic as well. I think it’s really important when there’s a bunch of us working together to have one person who makes sure that nobody falls off the train, you know what I mean? And keep it together and actually keep each other in line too. It’s been a journey. I mean, it’s been four and a half years, and we’ve all grown a lot. It’s so sad.

Q: And to flip it, is there something that Elizabeth and Peter learned from the younger cast members?

Nikki: I taught her (Elizabeth) how to cook.

Elizabeth: That’s true! I never cooked before in my life, and now I actually make rice and some vegetables.

Nikki: She cooked meals for me.

(Elizabeth shakes her head)

Nikki: You did!

Elizabeth: I was not at the level that you were at, but just even that I would go to the store and buy vegetables and actually bring them home and cook them. None of that ever happened until I met Nikki Reed. But truthfully though, in terms of the work I feel like I was stealing from everyone. I mean, I think Nikki has a commitment when she’s in a scene, and she brings such an energy into the scene, it is unlike anyone else onscreen. And it’s something that is so specific to her. What she did with Rosalie and her creativity, and the way she thinks about the scene and her character, she puts a lot of work into it. And as far as… I’m thinking of the people sitting here, with Peter I’m always listening to the way he talks about these characters, and sort of like stealing his theories, because, again, he’s someone who I really admire, and being in a scene with him, you really can’t half-ass this, you really have to show up and you do the best job that you can, especially because, like Nikki said, we are a team. And you cannot let your team down.

Peter: I think that age doesn’t really matter to me, when you’re working with people that are talented you get inspired. Whether they were younger or older, you do look to the people that you work with and they inspire you in different ways. I totally was inspired by the people in this room, and with the other actors that I work with.

Q: So to take it one step further, have you learned anything from your character that surprised you?

Peter: I always say I put a little bit of myself in every character, but I also take a little bit from the character and I walk away with it after I play it. With Carlisle, I think he taught me a lot of patience.

Elizabeth: That is his superpower.

Peter: No. It’s compassion.

Compassion! There you go.

Peter: That’s (patience) his secondary superpower.

Peter is schooling us in “Twilight” today…

(laughs)

Peter: He has a lot of patience. He has a lot of wisdom, and he thinks things through and I’ve always admired that in him, and even with my own kids, because Carlisle to me is like the perfect father figure. I always looked at him with my kids, and I learned patience with him.

Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli and Elizabeth Reaser at Comic Con 2012

Q: To the fans, your hair from movie to movie to movie, everyone is always really excited to see the changes, and sometimes not so excited to see the changes.

Peter: Why did you look at me? (laughs)

You know the moments the fans get the promo head shots were like “Oh!” Is there a certain movie that made you think “Wow, I look hot?”

Nikki: No.

(everyone laughs)

Nikki:  I had some real moments with Peter about this. I was like, “Just be honest.”

Peter: I think you looked good in “Eclipse.”

Nikki: You did?

Peter: I did.

Nikki: Thanks.

Elizabeth: Yeah, I think that was my favorite wig.

That was the best, when you got to dye. That looked great. (to Nikki about “Twilight”)

Nikki:  I wanted to go with that one (“Eclipse” wig) and someone else came in and said, “No.” I was a little disappointed, but you always put your faith into the other creative directors there and you believe that they are going to do what’s best.  It is really bizarre… I don’t know about you guys (to Peter and Elizabeth) but my process as an actor is that I try not to obsess over what I’m going to look like, I mean I do (laughs) but it’s not the focal point, you know? That was such a priority I feel like for a lot of us in these movies, it was like “What do we look like?” It’s not always what we should look like or what we think we can look like.

Elizabeth:  My approach was to always try to simply it. Less of everything – less hair, less make-up, less lashes, less artifice as much as possible. But it was tricky because I had a wig, then I had to dyed hair, then I had brown hair, then I had really dark hair, then I had some highlights…I  still don’t know what my hair was supposed to be. I would love to hear what Stephenie Meyer thinks about that. But that’s the weird thing about movies, you know? Sometimes it just gets out of control. There’s so many people!

Nikki: So many people!

Elizabeth: And the next thing you know…you got a thing on your head.

Peter:  It’s not your job as an actor… (makes weird hand gestures around his head). There’s a hair person – that is their job (everyone laughs). My job is to bring the character to life; their job is to watch out for your hair. So you’re in constant battles with that person, because you’re, like, “I wanna look good.” They’re trying to make you look a certain way, and I’m like… at a certain point you have to be like, “Ok, that’s their job and you have to let them do their job.” There were times when I looked in the mirror and I looked like a cross between a ‘Ken doll’ and Ronald McDonald.

Nikki: Is that because of what I said that time?

Peter: You might’ve put that in my mind.

Nikki: But you know what? I think it’s fair to say that we switched department heads for hair and make-up for every single film. Which is a really hard thing to do to actors because every time we came in we had a new person with a new vision.

Peter: A new person we had to trust.

Elizabeth: And they had a lot of challenges.

Nikki: Yeah.

Peter:… and they wanted to always fix the one before, you know, or put a new stamp on what they were doing.

Q: Do you have a personal favorite?

Peter: I like the hair in “Twilight” because that was my hair and I dyed it. If I had to choose wigs, which was 2, 3, 4, 5…

Not 4 or 5 (everyone laughs)

Peter: There were moments in 4 and 5…

What moments? (everyone laughs)

Nikki: This is a sensitive subject for Peter and I because we’re the ones that sit down in front of people and had people go like, “God, you guys actually are really good looking!” That’s what people say the most about us.

Peter: In “Eclipse” it wasn’t so bad, I mean it was a little short but if I had to pick I guess I would go with “Eclipse”….I would go with “Twilight.”

As some of you know, Carlisle and Esme are my favorite characters so it was awesome to talk to Peter, Elizabeth and Nikki.  For my fellow Carlisle fans I’m adding this little bonus moment that happened when the three actors entered the room.  It was a small room with several rows of chairs set up for the fansite reps and then a table with three chairs facing us. This was the dialogue as the actors entered and took their seats: 

Nikki: Look at the set up.

Peter: It’s like the Church of Twilight. 

(everyone laughs) 

Nikki: That was really good Fach.

Does that mean you are the minister?

Peter: Yes, I would be. Seeing how my Dad was in the business.

Nikki: AHA!  

Peter: You got that!

Nikki: That one I got.

Peter: That was a Twilight reference. 

Nikki: That was a good one. The earlier one I didn’t get.

Elizabeth: I didn’t get that.

Peter: You didn’t get that? (to Elizabeth)

Elizabeth: No. No. I’m slow apparently. 

It had been a long day and night before for “The Twilight Saga” cast. We’ll forgive Elizabeth for not getting the reference to Carlisle’s minister father, but don’t worry, I got it.  *winks*

Nikki Reed with her cuddling on screen parents, Peter Facinelli and Elizabeth Reaser.



Amy is a lifelong fangirl, who gets most excited over The Twilight Saga, Harry Potter, Disney, Star Trek, superhero movies, and Broadway musicals. She’s Twilight fan fiction writer, Esme Mom Cullen, and her work is (mostly) focused on her favorite ship – Carlisle and Esme. She has the sarcasm and wit of a born and raised Jersey Girl, even though she now makes her home in Southern California. She currently works in the areas of communications and corporate social responsibility.