What was the casting process like?
I was on another world filming Advetureland in Pittsburgh. It’s funny how I didn’t know anything about the book before being offered the role. To me, Twilight was just another script that came to my hands. I auditioned without knowing it was a highly coveted role.
What made you say “I have to play this part” after you read the book?
I have two favorite scenes, but the one that really stands out for me is when Edward reveals himself to Bella in the meadow under the sunlight. It’s when Bella takes control of everything.
How do you see the character of Bella?
She’s a very strong girl. If you look a it superficially she’s a character full of clichés: she’s the damsel in distress. But what’s amazing about her is that it’s her strength that moves the story. Edward does it too, but Bella is brave in a very scary situation. She’s very confident too.
You get a lot of scripts. How do you choose from them?
It’s not easy to be specific about it, because you choose every job differently. Mostly, you have to have that feeling that this is something you have to do. If I didn’t feel this was something I had to do, I’m sure the outcome would be horrible.
How did you choose the role of Into the Wild? Your performance in it is amazing.
Thank you! I think it’s one of my favorite movies, and not just because I’m in it. I was so lucky to get that role. Sean Penn actually called me on my cellphone. He’s very bold and secretive. Plus, I know he’s sure of the effect that one phone call of him can do to a person. He told me who he was and said: “Hey, I’m working on this movie that I love. I care about it more than anything and I’m reaching a point in which I don’t know what to do”. He asked me to read the script for him with the other actors. I read for the sister’s part, who narrates the whole story. Two days later he called me and said “I don’t know how you’ll fit into all of this, but I really want you to do this movie with me, and I’ll find you your perfect role”. And there were two roles, the role for the main character’s sister, and Tracy the singer. And he chose Tracy for me. That moment was amazing. That’s the reason why I chose acting, to get to work with people like Sean Penn.
How did you begin to act?
I was in a school performance, it wasn’t even a play and we had to sing a song. It was an LA story because there was an agent in the audience and he talked to my parents and asked them if I could audition for him. I don’t remember saying “yes”, but I thought it was something I could definitely do. My parents work in the industry (my dad is a producer and my mouther is a screen writer) and they told me “This is not something you want to get into. It’s very likely that nothing will happen and you will get ripped off”. But somehow, everything worked out okay.
I read somewhere that you want to go to college and study English literature.
During all my years in High school I was getting ready to go to college. But last year I dropped all of my clases. I have a future in academics, just not in a very conventional way. I can’t go to school right now. Everybody is like “You’re 18. Are you going to college?” but I’m not going, and what’s funny is that all my life I said I was going. But right now I have too many demands in my life. And I’ve had them since I was 9 years old and I began to act. I’ll probably study literature, just maybe not in a college. And not right now.
We know you’re a fan of John Steinbeck and Led Zeppelin. How did you find them? People your age don’t listen to that music or read about them.
I love Led Zeppelin. Kids who are really into music, listen to Led. They love old bands. And that music is much better. There’s more texture, it’s more versatile, it’s more dynamic than a lot of the things that are produced right now. And the same happens with books. There’s not a lot of good stuff, there’s a lot of books about shopping! (laughs). If you go to the best sellers stands, that’s all you’ll see. I love to read Albert Camus, or John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac. I prefer classics.
In the 60’s and 70’s people were more involved in politics and in society. Do you get the feeling that your generation is more apathetic?
Kids my age are intimidated by politics. They think there’s a lot of things they should already know. They don’t want to have an opinion because they think they’re not well informed. That’s the difference that I notice with people like my parents, who were causing a revolution and protested against bad things in society. It’s okay to disagree, it’s okay to not know the names of some politics and what they do. But if you study a little bit, you will. It’s so easy to know what’s going on in America: things have not being going well. And as a young person it’s okay to say that things are not okay. It’s not bad to be clear in the things you say, you don’t need anything elaborate to speak your mind. That’s why people don’t speak up.