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Nikki Reed Talks Twilight

Just found an Interveiw with Nikki Reed, it's quite a long one, but I thought I would share. Not sure if anyone has seen this before, and I've not seen it posted, but I could be wrong about that though.

Actress Nikki Reed won critical acclaim for her debut film Thirteen, in which she not only starred opposite Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood, but also co-wrote the film, with its director Catherine Hardwicke, at the early age of 14. Now at 20, the Los Angeles native has taken on the role of Rosalie Cullen in Twilight, the most highly anticipated film of the year. Based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight follows the love story of 17-year-old, accident-prone Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), and the disarmingly handsome, yet distant, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), Rosalie’s brother, who also happens to be a vampire.

Amidst the whirlwind of publicity the cast is doing to promote the novel-turned-movie, Reed took time out to talk to MediaBlvd Magazine about being involved with the cultural phenomenon.


MediaBlvd Magazine> You’ve had a unique career, in the sense that acting chose you before you chose it. When did you become serious about acting and decide that you wanted to make a career out of it? At any point along the way, did you decide to get any formal training, or do you just work from instinct?

Nikki Reed> When we finished shooting Thirteen, I went into the 9th grade. I had no intention of being an actor. I just thought that it was a really fun thing that we did. If I look back, in retrospect, I didn’t realize that we were making a real movie. Because I was so close to the project, and because Catherine Hardwicke was always talking about shooting it on DV with her little home camera, by the time we finished filming, I thought, “That was a really fun summer project.” It wasn’t until the first magazine clipping was floating around school, which if I remember correctly was Cosmo Girl, and there was a little picture of me, from Thirteen, and people were going, “Oh, my god, you were in a movie!,” that I was like, “Really? When? What movie was this?” After that, I spent about a year, trying to decide what I wanted to do. I moved out of the house really young, when I was 14.


SOURCE: http://www.mediablvd.com/magazine/the_news/celebrity/nikki_reed__talks_about_%22twilight%22_200811111403.html

MediaBlvd Magazine> You’ve had a unique career, in the sense that acting chose you before you chose it. When did you become serious about acting and decide that you wanted to make a career out of it? At any point along the way, did you decide to get any formal training, or do you just work from instinct?

Nikki Reed> When we finished shooting Thirteen, I went into the 9th grade. I had no intention of being an actor. I just thought that it was a really fun thing that we did. If I look back, in retrospect, I didn’t realize that we were making a real movie. Because I was so close to the project, and because Catherine Hardwicke was always talking about shooting it on DV with her little home camera, by the time we finished filming, I thought, “That was a really fun summer project.” It wasn’t until the first magazine clipping was floating around school, which if I remember correctly was Cosmo Girl, and there was a little picture of me, from Thirteen, and people were going, “Oh, my god, you were in a movie!,” that I was like, “Really? When? What movie was this?” After that, I spent about a year, trying to decide what I wanted to do. I moved out of the house really young, when I was 14. And then, there was a funny little thing, called overhead and bills. I didn’t realize that $4,000 wasn’t going to last a lifetime, so I had to make money. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was trying to finish school. Andrew Magarian, who was Evan Rachel Wood’s acting coach, had a class in North Hollywood, so I started going to class. The next film I did, after Thirteen, was this tiny little movie, called Man of God with Peter Weller, and it was an incredibly challenging role. I was terrified because it was the first time that people were hiring me as an actor, where I really felt like I had to prove myself. It was a really emotional, really artsy little movie, and I would meet with the director to collaborate on the character, the role and the writing. I didn’t write it, but I would sit down and we would try to figure it out together. I just remember being terrified and thinking, “This is a job now. This is not just me, having fun and playing around.” I went to class for a few years, and I had private lessons as well as group classes. That’s the only training I’ve had, aside from being on a set with people, like Alec Baldwin or Kevin Spacey or Jeff Goldblum. I felt like I learned more from that than I could from anything else.

MediaBlvd> How did you become a part of Twilight? Were you made aware of it because of your already existing relationship with Catherine, or was that just a coincidence?

Nikki> There is this misconception floating around that, because I know Catherine, I just get handed roles, and I like to clear things like that up. I get a lot of criticism and a lot of people like to say things like that, and I’m a person, so that hurts my feelings, especially because I have put so much effort and work into what I do. But, of course, I do have a relationship with Catherine. When I was younger, I knew her as more of a mother figure, but now we have a very professional relationship. Of course, that contributes to me getting the roles that I do, when I’m working with her, but there are a lot of directors that work with the same actors, over and over again. I wish I could say that there wasn’t anyone else involved, like a studio and producers and casting directors, that are a part of the final decision. I think a lot of the fans think that Catherine gets to just snap her fingers and go, “Hey, I want Nikki to play this role,” and everybody goes, “Okay!” But, unless you’re Scorsese, it’s really difficult. There’s a process. About eight months before we were shooting Twilight, I got a phone call from my lovely agent, who said that Twilight was going around and that Catherine was going to direct it. So, they sent me the book and I read it. Then, I did get a phone call from Catherine, saying “The producers like you for Rosalie,” and I said, “Are you sure? Have they seen a photo of me? Do they know who I am?” At first glance, I’m not physically right for the role, but it was nice to be given the opportunity to change how I look because it doesn’t happen very often. Since Thirteen, because I do have tan skin and dark features, a lot of people associate that with being a bad girl and exotic and a seductress. It’s been very frustrating for me, over the years, to try to break away from that. You keep telling everybody, “I don’t want to play this role anymore,” but then you get handed a movie, like Mini’s Fist Time, opposite Alec Baldwin with Carrie-Anne Moss playing your mother and Kevin Spacey producing, and it’s really tempting, so you’re like, “Oh, okay, I can do this again.”

MediaBlvd> For those who are still somehow unaware of what Twilight is, can you talk about who Rosalie is and how she fits into the story?

Nikki> Twilight is basically a love story between the vampire world and the human world. Rosalie is one of the Cullens, and they are a family of vampires that has learned how to co-exist in the normal world. They’re friendly, they go to school, they interact with people and they feed on animals, as opposed to humans, so they’re categorized as vegetarian vampires. They’ve all been paired up -- Rosalie and Emmet (Kellan Lutz), and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Alice (Ashley Greene) -- and Edward is the odd man out. He’s never found his soulmate and he is lonely, and he happens to fall in love with a human. Everyone else is excited and happy for Edward, whereas Rosalie is the only family member that is not supportive because she’s looking at the dangerous aspects of their relationship. If it got out, what would happen? She doesn’t trust Bella. There’s also the underlying backstory that Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), their father, made Rosalie a vampire because he originally thought that her and Edward would be soulmates, but Edward just didn’t fall in love with her. She envies the fact that Bella is a human being, and that she has the choice. None of the Cullen kids had the choice to become vampires. They were dying and Carlisle thought that he was doing something great by saving their lives and changing them into these creatures, but a lot of them, very subtlely, are resentful.

MediaBlvd> Rosalie is developed throughout the books. Does she figure more prominently into the film? Did you want to read the other books to get a better understanding of who she was?

Nikki> Yeah, I read the first three. I know there’s a fourth book, but I actually haven’t read Breaking Dawn yet. I read the first book before we started filming, and then, throughout the course of filming, I read the other two. You get to know Rosalie the most in the third book. She decides to open up to Bella, and there’s an entire chapter where Rosalie is speaking and explaining to Bella where she’s coming from. So, we tried to incorporate that into the first film, just because there’s not a lot of time to explain the rest of the family. It’s mostly about Bella and Edward’s relationship developing. There are moments where we tried to make Rosalie a bit more understandable, so she doesn’t come off as so one-dimensional.

MediaBlvd> At what point did you realize what a phenomenon these books had become, and that you were a part of the whole thing now?

Nikki> That’s been so overwhelming! I definitely did not realize that until the middle of shooting. There is this Twilight Moms group, and I don’t know how, but they would find out where we were shooting. They’re all very sweet. It wasn’t scary or creepy. But, they would find out where we were shooting and just stand around, and I realized very quickly that this isn’t just for 10-year-old or 12-year-old girls. Everybody is obsessed! All age groups and both genders. It’s just bizarre. I’ve never seen anything like it. When I was looking at all the Comic-Con stuff, after it had happened, I asked my friends, “Can you think of another example of this, or something that we can compare this to?” The reaction of the fans to Rob Pattinson is almost like it was for boy bands. Even for Leonardo DiCaprio, with Titanic, it wasn’t until after the movie came out that people became obsessed with his character. It’s not even about us, as actors. They’re obsessed with these characters, whether they think that they’re in love with them themselves, or they want to be them, or whatever. I can’t think of anything to compare it to, except maybe ‘NSync, or something. My brain can’t even wrap itself around what’s going on with this.

MediaBlvd> Before anyone had even seen any footage of the film, you already had fans who were devoted to you, just because of your association with it. What’s it like to be in one of the most anticipated films of the year? Does that scare you or excite you?

Nikki> A little bit of both. There’s always the fear that people will be disappointed. All of the actors have had to work really hard to let that go. I’ve never been a part of a novel-turned-screenplay-turned-movie before. Everybody that reads the book has an imagination, and they’ve created these characters in their minds, and they’ve created their own relationship with these characters. There was this fear -- while we were shooting, especially -- when all of us realized what this was, and that we were going to disappoint them or not live up to what they thought it was going to be, and we all had to let that go. But, it’s also really exciting, especially for me. I come from the indie world, and it’s a different group of kids that I’ve now been exposed to, so that’s really exciting. I’ve been trying to break away from that, so I’m really, really grateful.

MediaBlvd> As an actor, when you’re playing a character that’s a vampire, how do you find something to identify with, since you can’t draw from personal experience?

Nikki> What we had to work on the most was making all of these vampires as human as possible. If it was about fangs and sinking teeth into other people and being mass murderers, it would be a different set of cards. But, because these vampires went to school and they were living amongst the normal people, it was more about fitting in, as much as they could. Before we started shooting, Catherine made us take these fun cat classes, where we would learn to move like animals. Because we hunt animals, we were trying to learn how to move like animals, and that was very fun. And, all of the wire work was a lot of fun. But, it was more about finding the other layers of the characters, as subtlely as we possibly could, and adding that into scenes where it wasn’t really relevant. For example, even if Rosalie had one moment when she looked at her brother, where she was supposed to say something that could come off as a bitchy or rebellious line, I tried to add in concern and pain because that’s really where Rosalie is coming from. She’s coming from a place of, “I don’t want to have to move again. I don’t want us to have to pick up our lives and go away and hide again for another 50 years, if Bella spills the secret to everybody. We finally have a groove and we’re living somewhere and it feels normal.” Rosalie is the only one of the Cullens who just wanted to have a very conventional life, get married and have a baby, which is where Breaking Dawn comes from, when Bella has a baby. She just wanted to be a mother and be a normal person, so she’s in a lot of pain.

MediaBlvd> Had you been a fan of the vampire genre prior to this?

Nikki> Honestly, no. Catherine wanted us to stay away from looking at vampire films, just because this world can become very cliche, and the beauty of Twilight is that it’s a very different take on the vampire world. There really isn’t any evil in it. The only time where we had to remember what we were was just when Edward touches Bella. If he touches her, or even holds her hand or grabs her arm, or anything like that, he has to remember how powerful he is. All the normal things that you would naturally want to do in a scene, as an actor, when you’re having a conversation with someone and you pat them on the back, or rub your hand through their hair, you have to remember that it won’t look real, if you can do that naturally. So, there’s always this hesitation of, “Am I going to hurt someone?,” which is why the Cullens isolate themselves in school. I can play around and be rough with Emmett, but I can’t grab somebody else without worrying about whether I’m going to kill them, at all times. Catherine pushed that into our minds. But, in terms of watching other vampire movies, we all know what the vampire world is, with the cliches of fangs and blood and coffins and really pale skin and slicked-back, dark hair. We were trying to make things different.

MediaBlvd> Were you disappointed at all that you didn’t get to wear fangs, or was that part of the attraction to the character?

Nikki> Fangs could have been fun. I remember the discussion, in the beginning. We couldn’t do all of the things that were part of the book. You read something like Twilight and it’s virtually impossible to do all of that. I remember just being speechless, when reading the descriptions of the characters, with the pale skin and the purple, bruised look under their eyes, but they’re so beautiful, it’s painful to look at them. Obviously, there’s nobody in the world you could cast, where they could have dark bruises under their eyes, but yet are still breathtaking. So, with things like that, we had to find a balance between staying true to the book and making the characters look how they were written, but also make them fit in. In the real world, it looked ridiculous when we were doing make-up tests and we all had purple bruises under our eyes, walking into school. We looked like a family of freaks, and there’s no way we would have fit in. And so, we had to find our own way to make them realistic. All the things that we wanted to do, like put the Cullens in clothes from the 20's or 30's, because they’ve lived so much and you want them to have their own look, just didn’t work when we put it all together because we stood out too much. The fangs would have just kicked us over the edge.

MediaBlvd> How do you come to terms with playing a character that’s supposed to be the most beautiful person in the world? Is that horribly intimidating?

Nikki> I should know better because they never pick the right sound bytes for me, but I was doing my behind-the-scenes and, of course, the one little snippet they picked was me saying, “I’m the most beautiful person in the world, and that’s a lot of pressure!” I certainly do not think I’m the most beautiful person in the world. I was terrified! Nobody is going to be that. I had to let go of feeling like I was really miscast, to be honest. I walked into this, and I said to the producers and Catherine about a million times, “Are you sure? Shouldn’t I play Victoria instead?” What was nice was that there was a lot of support, on the other end. I’ve looked the way I look, my entire life, but every single feature of mine has been changed to the polar opposite, for this film. I have pale skin, I have different color eyes, my eyebrows are different, the mole on my face is wiped out and my hair is platinum blonde. In the book, Alice is supposed to be 4 foot 10. She’s this little, petite, fairy-like girl. But, Ashley Greene, who they cast, is actually taller than me, in real life, so they had to put me in these high heels that were about eight inches tall because there had to be a significant height difference between her and I, and you can’t make her shorter unless you dig a ditch. Everything just felt so wrong, while we were shooting. And then, on top of that, there are people that write really mean things on the Internet all the time. There’s been a lot of negativity, and that’s been a challenge. Not that I haven’t seen or read or heard negative things before, but that’s really difficult. At points, I wanted to just crawl into a hole and go, “I’m so sorry! It wasn’t my idea! I’m really sorry!” When there’s a fan base, you think that everybody is going to be super-supportive and excited about the movie, but a lot of times there is the opposite affect, where people are excited, but they want it done their way. Rosalie is not just that girl in high school that everybody wants to be. She’s that girl that everybody in the world wants to be. And, I’m certainly not that. But, then again, I don’t really know who is. That’s terrifying. Every time I meet fans, I just want to get on my knees and say, “I’m so sorry that I’m not that!”


MediaBlvd> What was it like to work in an ensemble with these actors? Did you guys do anything at all to establish your on-screen relationship?

Nikki> When you’re put in a place like Portland, where it’s raining all the time, you can’t really be outdoors. We were all cooped up together, and we were there weeks early for rehearsal. It was just inevitable that we were all going to get really super-close. It started off with massive cast dinners. Every night, one of us would arrange reservations for 16 at a restaurant. And then, as filming went on, we started to pair off and find who we really had a connection with. I don’t even have words to really describe how much Kristen Stewart means to me. It’s bizarre. I’ve never met anybody that has her wisdom and maturity, at such a young age. Because I moved out so young and I was always the youngest in my group, people would say that about me. I’d never really hung out with anybody younger than me before, but she’s just amazing. I’ve learned so much from her, as an actor, and she’s so inspiring and intelligent. She’s like a little, unique ball of creativity and life. I’m really grateful for that. We all just became really good friends. There wasn’t really any drama, ever. Because shooting was so chaotic, at all times, due to the weather -- sometimes, it would hail, rain, snow and be sunny, all in the same hour -- we would all have to go to work, completely prepared for five separate days in one. Even if you thought that you were off that day, God forbid you would step out of your hotel room to explore Portland because you could get a call from an A.D. going, “Okay, we’re picking you up in 20 minutes because it’s sunny now and we have to go indoors to shoot.” We all had to learn how to rely on each other, rehearse outside of work, and take everything very seriously.

MediaBlvd> Are you hoping to be able to continue with this character and film the other books in the series? Have you talked at all about returning to that world?

Nikki> We’re taking this one step at a time. We got back from Portland and everybody just went, “I need a break!” I immediately went to New York to produce and star in this little independent film with my best friend, DJ Qualls. So, I very quickly had to step out of Twilight and go into something else. Twilight was the first film I’ve ever done, where I really felt the need to detox from it, just because we were in a foreign world. We worked so hard. For a film with a budget like it had, it felt very much like shooting an independent because it was very frantic on set, all the time. There were wardrobe changes, and so many extras, and fans, and 50 different days going into one. The entire cast is in L.A., and has been since we finished, and we all came back and went, “Okay, let’s breathe.” But, this is also the first film I’ve done where everybody has kept in contact and everybody has stayed really close. Once a week, we still do group dinners, which is awesome because that never happens. It’s almost traumatizing, as an actor, when you go away and do a movie, and you’re isolated from everything in your own life, and it happens, every single time, which is why you always hear about set romance. You’re in this world with these people, and of course you’re going to think somebody’s your soulmate or best friend because that’s all you’ve got. You’re forced to get to know everybody to their core because you spend 24 hours a day with them. It’s very traumatic, not only as an actor, but as a teenager or young adult, growing up in this business, to realize that not all of it is real. But, this particular film has been great. We all walked away with this fear of, “Oh, God, what if one of us goes away and does another film and we don’t keep in contact,” because we were so close. But, we’ve all remained very close.

MediaBlvd> Can you talk about Last Day of Summer? Who do you play in that, and how did you get involved as the executive producer as well? Is that something you’re hoping to do more of, in the future?

Nikki> Yeah, definitely, it is. I’ve been venturing into that world a little bit, over the past year. I have three scripts -- two that are completed and one that is in the works -- that I’ve been working on. I’m really hoping to direct, at some point soon. So, it just made sense with this movie because it had a very little budget and it’s a very artsy project. It was an intense schedule. DJ plays a man who’s schizophrenic. He has multiple personalities and he has a social disorder, and he thinks that he has a connection with this girl. He meets her briefly, and she’s not too kind. He accidentally hits her and, from there, it all goes downhill. He realizes that, now that he’s hurt her, she could possibly tell the police, and he’s terrified, so he kidnaps her, but he’s not trying to hold her hostage. He just wants her to be his friend. He wants to tell her that he’s sorry, but he doesn’t know how to right the situation. So, they spend an entire day together, basically in this hotel room, where they both find a common ground. You’re never really sure whether she trusts him and likes him, or whether she’s just appeasing him and making him think she feels comfortable, so that he’ll let her go. It was really cool to do a movie with DJ. We did something else about a year and a half ago, called Familiar Strangers, but we didn’t have a lot of scenes together and it was a lighter film. This was painfully exhausting, but it was a good experience. I know that I made it through that, so I can make it through anything.

MediaBlvd> Do you want to direct something that you’ve also written or will act in?

Nikki> I don’t think I could direct myself, no. Maybe I’m speaking too soon. I don’t really know if I can do anything. But, I know that I have this desire and this craving to work with other actors, behind the camera. Maybe I would play a role in something I’ve written, but I don’t think I could direct myself. Absolutely not!

MediaBlvd> As an actor, are there any specific types of projects or genres that you haven’t gotten to do yet, that you’re hoping to do?

Nikki> I wish people could think I was funny. I think I’m funny. In my circle of friends, people would say that I’m the comedian. Maybe it’s just because I get really uncomfortable in large crowds, so I overcompensate by trying to be funny and lighten the mood. But, for some reason, people see me as something very different from what I am, as a person and in my normal life. Maybe I’m just good at playing the little Lolita. I don’t know. It’s weird because my life has been very much about really long-term relationships. I think moving out and having to grow up early, forced me to skip all of the things that I’m playing. If you have to pay bills, and you have to be responsible and be an adult, you don’t really have time to be the party girl, but for some reason, I’ve been categorized as that. It’s bizarre to me. So, at some point, I would like to play something a little bit closer to myself, as opposed to what I’ve been doing. There’s just been really great opportunities to work with the people I’ve worked with. You decide that you’re done with something, or you want to step away from something, but you can’t because someone like Kevin Spacey is involved. I want to do something that’s maybe just a little bit lighter, and Twilight is that. Twilight is light, and it is directed to a younger audience.

MediaBlvd> Did getting to do stunts in Twilight make you want to do an action movie at all?

Nikki> God, no! I would rather hang myself than fly on a cable, ever again. Believe it or not, it’s quite painful.

MediaBlvd> Did you have to do that in the 8-inch heels?

Nikki> No! Luckily, that was in the baseball scene, where I was in my sneakers. They put me in this weird harness that attaches to the sides and the groin, and then they strap you into a girdle that made me feel like I was Kate Winslet in Titanic. And then, they pull the chains, and you just go soaring through the air, and your body has to move like you’re running. I didn’t realize how uncoordinated I was, until the day of shooting that scene, when I said, “Wait! Which way do your arms move when your legs are moving? Is it opposite, or is it the same way?” We all felt slightly handicapped.

MediaBlvd> How has Catherine changed as a director, and how have you changed as an actress, since the first time you worked together?

Nikki> Catherine is very good with focusing on the youth and coming-of-age stories, and interactions between people. That’s her strength. So, to watch her go from Thirteen to Lords of Dogtown, which had a lot of stunts, even though it wasn’t an action film, it was a big mountain to climb. With Twilight, everyone was just really overwhelmed because, with a movie like that, your natural instinct is to really focus on the dynamics between people, especially when you’re dealing with a love story, like Bella and Edward’s. You really want to put all of your attention into the actors and what they’re feeling, but we also had two or three units going and five stunt doubles for every actor. Everybody was really torn between what you’re supposed to focus on, on the day. It’s always a learning experience. As a director or an actor, it’s more about just knowing that, whatever situation you step into, it’s always a learning experience. You have to be open to knowing that you don’t know everything about what you’re doing, and you just have to observe and watch. Twilight is the best example of that. We all felt like we were walking into a character piece because each character was so complex that we wanted to incorporate that into every scene that we possibly could, or every moment where we could possibly show something more than just the obvious. There were so many other things to focus on, at all times, like jumping off a trampoline into a scene, when you’re trying to be in the moment and feel some kind of instinct to be protective or angry or scared or look threatening. Instead, we were like, “Oh, God, when I jump off of the trampoline, am I going to land on the X? Am I going to collide with somebody else? Can I do my own stunt, or should I have someone shoot it for me? What angle are we shooting right now because, if it’s just the back of my head, for the sake of not getting hurt, maybe someone else should do this''

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