10/03/2009

Charlie Bewley a.k.a. Demetri Interview

Vampire Villain Charlie Bewley who played the role of Demetri talks to Hollywood.com about New Moon and being famous because of Twilight Fame.

Charlie Bewley won’t say how old he is.

He also won’t elaborate on the details of his seemingly scandal-heavy past, which he alludes to frequently, nebulously describing it as “erratic, risky, bread-line. High highs, low lows." In passing, he mentions turbulent romances and family dramas, and says he doesn’t really drink anymore, but keeps mum on the reasons why. He is decidedly mysterious.

“I have to be,” Bewley says.

What’s known is that Bewley is a British expat who worked several snow seasons in ski mecca Whistler after immigrating to Canada several years ago. For a time, he supported himself by driving a cab (“I had the most money out of all my friends”) and later moved to Vancouver, a two-ish-hour drive from Whistler, to pursue his acting career. The choice necessitated another move to Los Angeles in September of this year.

This is, of course, because Bewley plays the Volturi vampire Demetri in the upcoming New Moon, the second installment of the culturally permeating Twilight Saga series.

Last year’s Twilight grossed $383 million worldwide and set just as many hearts, mostly female, into hysterics with its story of forbidden human/vampire romance. The Saga’s trio of teen dream leads, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and especially Robert Pattinson, are suddenly, ridiculously famous, with their faces gracing tabloid covers on an almost weekly basis under headlines like “Rob Risks It All for Kristen.”

The Twilight series is a juggernaut running on the romantic fantasies and babysitting money of its largely teenage audience, a group that literally screams and cries for all things Twilight. The series has spawned dolls, videogames, charm bracelets and (seriously) decorative throws. But it’s the actors, no matter how bit their part, that are the franchise’s most sought after commodity.

Bewley’s role in New Moon is his first professional acting gig, and it thrusts him into the unique position of being at once both fresh to the Hollywood solar system and very, very famous in the alternative universe that is the Twilight subculture. Bewley, however, says he doesn't feel "suddenly famous" and admits he’s long dealt with being well-known, saying, cryptically, that he’s “always been fairly infamous in the circles I travel in.”

Now, he's immensely in demand among the human waves of teen girls who mobbed him while he was shooting New Moon on location in Montepulciano, Italy.

“Italy was a dream. Very surreal,” Bewley says. “I think everyone there, no matter who it was, Rob [Pattinson], Kristen [Stewart], [director] Chris [Weitz] or anyone else would say that it was an experience that they may never go through again. The hospitality of the whole thing, the way they treated us, the whole setting was so magnificent. “

“I was just swamped with 15-year-old girls wherever I went. My inner 14-year-old teenager in my head had a great time.”

While being pursued through the streets of Montepulciano by Twilight fanatics was a magical experience for him, Bewley acquiesces that there is a pressure induced by the immenseness of Twilight‘s popularity that he has yet to experience in the way that the film’s perpetually photographed leads have.

“Rob, I feel sorry for him a little bit,” Bewley says. “I feel for him, because he’s like a paparazzi fugitive right now. He can’t leave his house. He’s the most photographed person in the world.”

Bewley says it’s hard for him to say whether the attention Pattinson receives might make it difficult for the fellow Brit to enjoy his success, but that he, “can’t imagine he would ever say he wishes it didn’t happen, but it is a ridiculous thing to happen to anyone. He’s gone from zero to hero in six months, and his life is just totally turned upside down. I don’t know. I didn’t really speak to him in depth that much about it. But me in that situation, I think I just enjoy the parts of life that he can’t do right now too much.”


Those parts of life include exercising (he’s a diligent runner and also snowboards and plays rugby), not watching TV, enjoying the ability to walk out his front door without being photographed and working on his career.

“I’m not in that kind of like Zac Efron youth zone anymore,” he says, “I’m pushing through … I don’t really have time for anything else while I’m getting where I want to go. And then when I get there, I’ll start enjoying things I used to enjoy.”

The Twilight Saga offers an inevitable surge in visibility, a built-in fan base and an opportunity to work consistently while rounding out the series, making it a new actor's wildest fantasy kind of job -- albeit an intense and somewhat strange world to enter.

Admitting that it’s odd to be adored just by virtue of the (very well-known) character he plays, Bewley says, “It’s ridiculous. Like ‘I love you, I’m your biggest fan.’ How? My mum’s my biggest fan, or my sister or someone like that. They know me. [The fans are] just very not fickle. They look at you like, ‘Wow, he’s attractive.’

He is attractive, and with appearances in all three of the upcoming Twilight Saga films (November’s New Moon and Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, slated for 2010 and 2011, respectively), audiences will have a plethora of opportunities to see so for themselves.

“In Eclipse, you’re not going to see much, but Breaking Dawn is an opportunity for me to really show his power and if they allow me to just let loose. It’s really exciting.”

"He," of course, is Demetri, Bewley’s vampire alter ego. He describes his character as, “vicious, aggressive, dark and efficient. Lethal. But at the same time, he’s not evil; just by our standards, the things he does are evil.”

The way Bewley sees it, Demetri “has a lot of misplaced energy, or a lot of unused energy, and that kind of manifests in his behavior. When I first started thinking about the character, I did the whole animal thing, and I just worked out that he was this killer housecat -- just in the way he is and his attention is fairly ADD. But his attention is always towards something that’s moving or something that’s happening, and he wants to be part of that and he wants to get his hand on it. It’s constant. He just wants to run or chase. But he’s very kind of confined within this sort of mafioso arrangement that the Volturi coven is. He’s contained. And he just wants to go. And this is since Jane and Alec have come on the scene, because they are now the heads, and there’s no more fighting, so he’s kind of bored. He’s looking for action.”

Prior to conjuring up these characteristics (he even ran Demetri’s back story by series author Stephenie Meyer), Bewley had to earn the role. He auditioned twice for Demetri and once for the role of Marcus. He was “elated” to get the part of the Volturi tracker, as he feels he and the vampire share similar qualities.

“It makes it easier, yeah, number one. Number two, I think right now, I think I just have to be, in an acting sense, fairly loyal to the energy I’ve got as a person. And right now, I’ve got a lot of energy, and I want that to be shown in everything I do. Demetri is a character who hasn’t really -- in Eclipse, you’re not going to see much, but Breaking Dawn is an opportunity for me to really show his power, and if they allow me to just let loose … it’s really exciting.”

Eclipse, the Saga’s third installment, is currently being filmed in Vancouver. The film, following the series’ habit of bringing in a new director for each installment, is being directed by David Slade, best known for the dark comedy Hard Candy and another atmospheric vampire flick, 30 Days of Night.

“Eclipse is going to be dark, and it’s going to be dreadful," Bewley says, "It’s going to be gory and brutal.”

If the hype surrounding New Moon is any indication of the success Eclipse will experience, then the third film is going to be huge, and Bewley, huger with it. He attributes the film franchise’s success thus far to one key element.

“They go insane because Rob did a really good job in the first one. That’s why they’re obsessed with vampires … Those two are just brilliant together. They really are. It’s a perfect match. No one has ever really questioned whether they were the right people or not, they’ve always just been perfect. Really well cast."

Of his co-star Kristen Stewart, often criticized in tab-blogs for being standoffish, Bewley says, “I think she could be a lot like Bella. She doesn’t want too much attention, and she picks her friends wisely and she’s someone who just wants to do her work. Not everyone is going to be like Jamie [Campbell Bower] or me or someone who loves this whole attention thing and laps it up and sees it as a life experience. Some people are more reserved, just ‘I just want to keep myself to myself and do my thing and sorry if I can’t give all of my energy to you.’ Maybe it’s because I have so much energy."

Bewley hasn’t yet reached the tabloid-cover level of fame, a la Rob and Kristen, but he has gotten a taste of what his co-stars’ very public lives are like.

“When it first happened, I started getting rounds of phone calls because my number was on my website. When it was first announced, those first few days were kind of weird. It was like, OK ... and you start Googling yourself and there’s more and more and more and more stuff.

I just worry about what’s going to come out because I’ve had a big past and I’ve done a lot of things before and I’m ultra-paranoid someone’s going to come on there and say something. But it doesn’t happen like that. Everyone just watches and smiles and enjoys it for you.”

Considering that Bewley has gone from cab driver to major motion picture vampire royalty in a few short years, it's likely that the characters of his past, whoever they may be, are indeed smiling. What's certain is that his thousands of new fans are too.

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