An Insider’s Look in “Twilight Saga: New Moon”

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Bailey Cross writes, On November 20, Twilight Saga: New Moons opens nation-wide in theaters.

On November 20, Twilight Saga: New Moons opens nation-wide in theaters. During their recent visit to Denver, I sat down with two members of the “Wolf Pack,” Alex Meraz and Kiowa Gordon. Both actors walked in and immediately started joking around and having a good time. Alex Meraz, a man used to being in the spotlight, was more than willing to share funny little stories from the set. For new comer Kiowa Gordon (who was hand-picked my Stephanie Meyer herself for the role of Embry Call), sitting back and listening in (and occasionally playing air drums) was more his style. What is it like joining such a widely known and followed series? Is it easier knowing that people already know about them?Alex- There’s more pressure actually, because you know that you’re jumping into a hot skillet. There’s a lot of worry that fan’s are so passionate and that we aren’t going to meet their expectations. I think that Kiowa had more work than I did actually, because he was replacing the old Embry. And there’s a lot of fans that aren’t happy about that. Kiowa- Yeah, the old Embry, they just picked him up off the streets, where I actually auditioned. Did you watch Twilight or read the books before filming? Kiowa- Yeah, I read Twilight and New Moon. When Stephanie [Meyer] had a private screening of Twilight in Arizona at her house I went. Alex- I did not. When I first got the job, I bought a bootleg version and watched it on set. Actually, at that time, when we were filming we were still waiting for it to come out. No one ever supplied me with a copy to watch, so I thought I’d go down to Chinatown and buy a bootleg version for myself then. [Laughs] I watched it, it was really cool. I get why fans like it so much and how they connect with it and I definitely think that New Moon will bring a different kind of audience. There were so many girls and women who dug Twilight, but new Moon is going to be different. I think boys will be drawn more to New Moon with all of the action. What was the hardest part about filming? Kiowa- Being half naked in the freezing weather. Alex- Filming New Moon was cold, filming Eclipse was colder. Actually, auditions were a lot harder than filming though. Was acting on the green screen difficult? Alex- No because actually we didn’t do much of it. During the parts where we shape shift into wolves, it was just right there in the woods, the back ground was the same. They had me jump up and then catch myself on all fours and stay there. Then they would put up a big cardboard cutout of a wolf to give them a reference scale of size. And Kirsten [Stewart] was supposed to be freaking out and she was having a hard time doing it because it was a cut out with two big men holding it there. [Laughs] It was actually really easy and I was shocked at the process of it. They would actually take that white cut out and move it on the computers so there was a wolf in it. It was really advanced.What fond memories from the set do you have? Alex- There’s a lot. We had a blast on set and we all really connected well. We goofed around all of the time. This wasn’t from the set, but last night there was this one fan who came up to Kiowa and gave him her glasses. She wanted him to sign them, but he apparently didn’t get that memo and he took them. I think he might have broken the girl’s heart.Kiowa- I thought she gave them to me! Is there any onset rivalry with the wolf pack and the Cullens? No, not really. We just saw each other in passing, so we didn’t really have any scenes together. If we did have scenes together, there might have been, but just for fun and games. All the vampires like the Cullens are more serious, but then again, that’s their demeanor. They’re older where we’re more young and frisky. We’re like kids at a playground. With Kirsten (Stewart) though, she said she was able to be herself around the wolf pack. We brought that out of her. We were always joking around, especially with her, so she didn’t have a choice. Did the movie add or take anything away from the books that fans would be upset or really excited about?Alex- Well it’s a different media, so when you’re reading a book, a novel, there’s so much dialogue, so many descriptions that you can’t put it all in. You have to condense it in a film, but we have to make it exciting for viewers that aren’t Twilight fans or who haven’t read the books. We have to make it exciting, so there are things that have to be added. For instance, for the wolf pack they added a tattoo that wasn’t in the book, but it’s a very cool stylistic choice. Since we’re supposed to be rivals with the vampires and the Cullens have their Cullen crest, it’s like our own crest. The fans will definitely love the additions. Stephanie [Meyer], the writer, was on hand, on set, to make sure that everything was how she wrote it. Fans should trust her. She wrote the book and she approved the whole film, so that says a lot.How are you able to relate to your character? When we first started out, we didn’t have to make our characters anything that we’re not. As you become a more seasoned actor, you get better at transforming your character. But Taylor [Lautner] is Jacob. I mean, he really is a best friend. He’s loyal. That’s who he is. Rob [Pattinson] is very closely related to his character; quiet, eternal, soft-spoken, but you can tell that there’s this power behind him. So I think they’ve done a perfect transition to character. I myself am like Paul. I am very volatile if I don’t have my breakfast. [Laughs] No, I’m just kidding. I’m just a little more rigid in general. You know, I do martial arts all of the time, and that’s very difficult, and that’s the way I express myself. I’m very competitive. Do you like your character?Alex-Well I initially auditioned for Sam Uley, but I got Paul. Kiowa auditioned for Paul and got Embry. We all auditioned for different roles, but when it came down to it, we liked the roles we got. I got scared, because the call that I had gotten was “you didn’t get Sam.” I was crushed but then my manager told me about Paul. Well, I didn’t know about any other character named Paul because I really didn’t know about the wolf pack, because I was too focused on getting my role as Sam. But then I looked into it and I read New Moon, and wasn’t upset because I loved Paul. He has a lot of emotion, he tries to kill Bella, and he’s more my kind of guy. I relate closely to him. I’m more volatile, more of a bad boy, you know.What are the advantages of being a Wolf verses a Vampire? Alex- We get to change form. We’re faster, stronger, but the downside is that we all get to her each other’s thoughts. Can’t get them outta my head! We run at 108 [degrees]. That’s just awesome because who wants a cold dead vampire? Kiowa- You can cook an egg on our back, we’re that hot. How was the event last night at Park Meadows Mall? Alex- Terrifying. [Laughs] Honestly, when we were in the back finishing up signing autographs, they were like “Oh, you’re just going to do a quick Q&A.” The doors open and we walk out and all you can here is screaming. I was so taken aback. I didn’t realize that there were that many fans out there that were that loud and passionate. I had a permanent grin on the whole time. It was pretty awesome. It definitely makes you feel warm. Kiowa- He was wearing a tank top and the fans went wild. Alex- I was scared I was going to get mauled.Kiowa- The fans were pretty crazy. One girl even asked me to marry her… What do you guys think of the “Twilight Moms?” Alex- The Twilight moms! We love the Twilight moms! Especially the ones who send their young children of five or eight, up to us to ask us if we’re single. I’m just excited that different people from different walks of life can keep enjoying the story. I was in a meeting in LA and there was this older security guard who saw me sign in. After the meeting, when I went to sign out, he knew that I was coming in and he brought his copy of New Moon. He came up to me and asked me to sign it. He didn’t say anything like “This is for my granddaughter,” or anything. It was for him. It was really cool because it let me know that there we fans from all walks of life enjoying the story. How are you prepared to handle the mobs of giggling and screaming girls?Kiowa- Be cool as ice. Just do what we do.Alex- We’ve had some encounters, like yesterday, and back at LA and at the Twilight convention that have prepared us for what’s to come, but I’m not too sure what’s going to happen. I’m just scared that the fans won’t know who I am because there have been a lot of people who have been like “That’s Taylor! Oh, wait. No it’s not. Who is it?” Then they’d say something like, “Oh who’s Paul? Is he that one brown guy from the wolf pack?” And I’d say “Yeah. Just wait for the movie to come out; you’ll know who we are.” It’s just one of those things, because everything is based off of what they have seen from Twilight. Unless you’re a diehard Twilight fan who’s read the books, and who goes on all of the websites and follows the entire cast, you’re not going to know who the wolf pack is. So I think when he movie comes out, it will be a whole different ball game, and it makes me nervous because then there’ll be even more screaming fans. But I just get surprised when I’m walking to the book store and some one recognizes me. I still have to remember that yeah, I’m in a big movie.Kiowa, in the book, Embry is Jacob’s best friend and right hand man. So while filming the movie did you and Jacob become really close? Kiowa- We did. Well, all of the wolf pack became like brothers and got close all around. Since in the movie we don’t have many scenes with the Cullens, the wolves hung out all of the time. We messed around together and got to know each other a little bit better.Did you all do your own stunts? Alex- Initially, Chris Weitz didn’t want us doing our own stunts, because he was afraid we’d get hurt. That’s not our job. Our job is to be actors. So they usually have professionals do that. But we pushed to do our own stunts. There was just so much that I felt I could add to my performance that I wouldn’t be able to do. For instance me running around and fighting with Taylor in wolf form. I can’t do that. That’s what they used the computers for. But there are certain things that I do have control over, like jumping off of cliffs. There was this one cliff diving scene where it’s supposed to look like we’re jumping off a 150 foot cliff, but in actuality it’s a sixty foot scaffold. They had us trained to jump off of it and land on a twin bed. Looking at a bed from that height that you’re supposed to land on makes you wonder “Am I going to make it?” It’s pretty terrifying. It lets you know that you’re alive, for sure. We were really glad to do it ourselves because we got that reward, that satisfaction. You both grew up in a warmer climate. Was the cold really new to you?Alex- I lived for five years in the cold in Alberta, Canada. But it’s still different. When you have to take your shirt off, no shoes and torn up shorts, I don’t think anyone is going to get used to it, no matter where they live. Kiowa- Yeah, on my reservation, we got snow, but it was still cold. I’m more about the heat, like 100 degree weather. We’re desert rats. Nothing really prepares you for running around half naked in the cold rain. Do you think that you would ever want to live inside the world of the Twilight Saga? Alex- Oh, no. It’s too melancholy. It’s full of teenage angst. I got over that world about two years ago. I want to live in a happier place. [Laughs]Kiowa- Yeah, I’d like to run around with werewolves and vampires. If you could play any character in the book, vampire or werewolf, who would you want to be? Alex- James. He’s a bad boy! He doesn’t have a prolonged performance. He’s in there, he’s unapologetic, he is who he is. There’s no conflict. He’s a killer. That’s what he’s meant to do. And it leads to his demise. He has a very cool role. I love playing roles like that. My role is the closest I could get to that. Kiowa- I think I’d want to be one of the Voltaire because they’re like the white version of the wolf pack. They don’t take themselves too seriously and know how to have fun. Plus, I’d like to get to knock around Edward.

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