Tell us about your role in the film Twilight.
I am James. I am one of three of the bad vampires. I am a bad, bad vampire. Well, so everyone else thinks. I think I’m just misunderstood! My sole goal is to basically kill Bella, I guess, and revel in Edward’s pain as he watches it. It’s definitely related to Edward. I see what Edward has with her. He has love. He is everything that I am not and [has everything I] do not have, and Bella is directly related to that. And Bella, alone, even has something I don’t understand. It’s something that draws everyone to her. She has that something, so being that I don’t understand it, I want to squash it.
So, you’re a jealous vampire?
Jealous? In a way, yeah.
Jealous or obsessed?
I think obsessed is actually a better word. You know, it’s something that he doesn’t have and doesn’t understand, and once he makes that commitment to do what he sets out to do, it is an obsession.
Is it fun being bad? Being the villain?
Yeah, you know, I have done it a few times, now. I kind of love it.
You are always the bad-ass.
I kind of am.
Why do you love it so much? Why are you always cast that way?
I don’t know why, really. It’s not like I’m a terrible person. I might be. I don’t know. It’s something that… I don’t know… It just kind of connects. I understand where they could be coming from. Not that I personally make the choices that they make, but you know, if you break it down a little further, they are all good guys/bad guys. They’re still having the same issues; it’s just how they deal with them. I think breaking a bad guy down to, “He had his heart broken,” he can deal with it one of two ways, and [sometimes] he just goes the other way.
What makes it still a vampire, physically, since these are not conventional vampires?
I was going to say that they are all stunning-looking, but that is mostly with regards to the Cullen family, the good family of vampires. They are all stunning… They walk into a room and everyone stops and stares, but, aside from that, the trackers — the bad ones — they look like bums. But there isn’t that noticeable [of a] difference. They are all very pale. They don’t really go out into the sun, although they can be in the daylight. It’s kind of just how they move and how they walk, and they have extra strength and they are super fast and suck blood instead of salads, I guess.
Did you work on your physicality?
Yeah, once we got there, we actually watched numerous cat videos, like tigers and lions and all sorts of things, because they move with such a grace and speed and power and make it look so easy. Not that we’re running around like cats, but there’s that movement. It’s very fluid, so we worked on that as much as we possibly could. And we even worked with a dance choreographer to get in touch with our bodies.
Had you read the books?
Yeah, actually, last summer I was away filming and my girlfriend at the time actually got the book from someone on the airplane when she was coming to visit, and she read it and said, “You’ve got to read this book. It should be a movie.” So I read it and said, “Let’s get all the information we can. We’re going to make it ourselves.” Then, two months later, I found out that it was being made by the same people who were producing the movie I was actually in [Never Back Down]. It was pretty wild.
Was it difficult doing the stunts?
It was very difficult. What added to the difficulty was that, for scheduling reasons, we had to put our biggest fight, the one in the ballet studio, in the very first week of shooting, and that was our major stunt that we had and there was no CGI. It was all wire work and tons of choreography, but the biggest thing was the amount of wire work. Having two vampires who have super speed and extra strength… Some of the things, like the one where he goes into the wood floor, that was a little too much for me and I opted not to do it, but I did as much as I thought I could do without not dying.
Did you get bruises along the way?
Yeah, I got some bruises. Nothing too bad. Just bumps and bruises.
What are you doing next?
Next, I am doing a movie called Pandorum. It shoots in Berlin [and also stars] Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster.
Who do you play?
I actually play… I can’t tell you. Well, I play… This is how I’ve been explaining it to everyone else… I’m actually a soldier on a spaceship.
Are you a good guy or a bad guy?
So, you do get to play a good guy.
In The Unborn, which comes out after Twilight, I’m actually a good guy as well.
What about the movie you are supposed to do with Oliver Stone [Pinkville]?
We were supposed to leave on the 31st of November and it got postponed four days before we were supposed to leave, which was a bummer. I mean, we were in rehearsals.
Why did it get postponed?
I think because of the strike and everything.