Interview with the Vampire

Canadian actress Rachelle Lefevre really sinks her teeth into her role in Twilight

By Bonnie Laufer-Krebs

The hype on this movie is unbelievable. What do you think it is about the Stephenie Meyer's books that have caught on with people?
Lefevre: I'm always a little skeptical when I hear people promoting a film and they say it has something for everyone, but now I'm one of those people. It is action packed because it has all this amazing suspense and fight scenes and the whole rivalry between the vegetarian do-gooder vampires and the nomadic evil vampires and at the centre of it all is this incredible romance between Bella and Edward.

When you found out this was going to be cast were you chomping at the bit, no pun intended, to get at it?
Lefevre: I was. I had heard about it kind of through the grapevine and I stalked my manager who then said, 'I'm all over it. I'm already working on it.' She got me an audition and I ran out and bought the book and read it in two and half days and then I had the audition. I wanted to go in having read the book and I took it seriously that it was Catherine Hardwick directing, and I don't want to show up and say I didn't read it. Once I read the book I sort of went to the audition wanting it even more. I didn't know what to expect because I thought it was a book that had a younger audience and then I realized it had a built-in fan base that actually ran the gamut age wise. I didn't know what to expect and what I found was that I loved it and found out my friends who are in their twenties were reading it. I went in to the audition really wanting it and fought hard for the role and wrote Catherine a letter. I already had a fascination with vampires.

Why did you want this role so badly?
Lefevre: The reason I wanted to play Victoria so badly was because I just jumped at the chance to play someone who is totally uninhibited. She is either described in the book as feline and agile and pure instinct and it is a style contrary to how we are in our everyday lives. A lot of our lives are about being polite. She just doesn't care. What makes it really sinister is how much pleasure you have having that power. It is the absolute power corrupt.

These are not regular vampires because they don't have fangs. Did you feel a little ripped off you weren't going to get fangs?
Lefevre: I did at first. My first thought was 'what do you mean?' I was so excited that I was going to get fitted for teeth and then obviously I realized I never read in the book anything about fangs but then if you stop and think about it, the image I think you get is how hard you have to tear into a person without fangs to draw blood and that thought is awesome because it is so much more hard core and gory and hungry and aggressive. In a way by taking out something that is the symbol in fear in a vampire Meyer actually made it scarier.

Working with Cam Gigandet (who plays James) must have been awesome.
Lefevre: Actually it was incredible because I saw Never Back Down and what I liked about his performance in it was that he put vulnerability behind it. The bully always comes from somewhere so there was something really nice in that, and then in Twilight he just took it next level and shed that completely so that all the vulnerability was gone and it was just pure menace.

What was it like working with Nikki Reed who plays Rosalie, one of your biggest adversaries in the film?
Lefevre: Nikki and I had a really funny scene during the baseball scene, which is where we meet for the first time. Nikki and I have a face off, and we were opposite one another and the scene was totally James discovering Bella and Edward for the first time. But Nikki and I totally went off to the side just started toying with each other. It just escalated to the point that Catherine was just enjoying it for a bit so she sort of egged us on and then it got to a point where it was totally distracting because two of us were just smacking each other and growling at one another and finally Catherine had to come and say 'come on girls, easy now.' We totally had a really great time getting into it.

Tell me about the stunts you did and about the CGI process?
Lefevre: The thing that I loved the most was the stunts, because the stunts combined with what they can do in CGI is unbelievable. They put you in a harness and you do wire work that makes you look like you are flying through the air. When you are doing it you are on such an adrenaline rush and then when you imagine what it is going to look like. I had all these childish moments where I was like “omg we are going to look so cool.” It is very athletic too. It was kind of like working out everyday, particularly for cam and Robert who had such amazing fight scenes.

I heard you rode something called a magic carpet. What is that?
Lefevre: That is an effect that they wanted to get right for the film. Stephenie Meyer writes in the book that vampires move at an incredible speed and so they wanted to be able to capture that in some way without doing it in CGI. They would film us in one place and then film us in another location and then make it look like we moved faster. They wanted an effect that would have us be walking incredibly fast. The way they achieved that was with this thing called the magic carpet which is a basically a 30-foot long piece of plexiglass, which is attached to a giant crane and you stand on it and they pull it against the ground really quickly. It's really weird because it is gravity defying and it's really bizarre. They pull it intensely fast along the ground and you walk at a normal speed while the ground moves underneath you and it looks like you are walking at 30 miles per hour. We had so much practice with that. We started off starting on our knees and then they would pull it and then we learned how to stand up and walk and then you start standing holding a rope and then they start and you walk and then you do it without the rope.

How do you even prepare yourself for when the big stardom hits?
Lafevre: I don't think you can really. I can't even imagine that. The idea of somebody being a fan of something I can totally understand. The idea of being followed around by cameras or people taking pictures of you eating a hamburger, I kind of have trouble even imaging it. So I don't know how you prepare. I imagine there is a part of that that is really terrifying.

Any last words to Twilight fans?
Lefevre: Yeah, definitely. I would probably say this to them individually which is to give us the benefit of the doubt because it is not just something you love that we are doing, it is that we love it too and we care about getting it right as much as you do. That's the thing I want to say most.