10/23/2009

New Moon Stars Interview: Meet the Wolves Alex Meraz and Kiowa Gordon

Vanity Fair talks to New Moon wolf cast Alex Meraz and Kiowa Gordon.

Alex Meraz, who, judging from the snarling werewolf he plays in the following clip, is not one to take kindly to pestering questions. Luckily for us, he was up for discussing life on set, bonding with his pack-mates at the gym, and exactly what he thinks about each of his fellow wolves. Little Gold Men caught up with Alex on the road—literally—as he was driving through his home state of Arizona.

Little Gold Men: How did you end up getting cast in New Moon?

Alex Meraz: It was pretty conventional. I got a breakdown for an open casting call—they were looking for Native actors—and I submitted my stuff and luckily I got a role. One of the casting directors was kind of the Native American liaison. I had been cast in another one of her films. I sent her my original casting tape. She liked it, but she thought we could do better. So she brought me in to L.A., I gave it a whirl, and I eventually got the role.

Had you seen the first Twilight movie?

No, I hadn't, but after I got the role, I bought a bootlegged version and watched it while I was on set.

What was your favorite scene to shoot?

The cliff diving scene was the most fun because the whole Wolf Pack was there and we were jumping off these 50-foot scaffolding things onto an air mattress. It was pretty exciting to be able to do our own stunts.

You didn't have stunt doubles at all?

No! They were pushing for it, we were pushing against; we wanted to do our own stuff. We had to train for a good two days, eight hours each day just practicing jumping, making sure we were landing safely. On the day [of shooting], we were actually jumping from a green screen cliff but it was actually taller and a little bit more dangerous because there was foliage and grass on top of it—it was a little slippery. We were fine, and it was really fun.

What was it like having to come together and bond as the Wolf Pack?

We were entirely new, and it was a lot easier. We relied on each other to get through everything. There was so much to learn, but it was organic. We spent a lot of time together at the gym, and that's what helped. As far as the original cast from Twilight, they were really cool. We didn't spend much time with them because all of our scenes were really just with the Wolf Pack. It was easy.

Taylor [Lautner] did have some experience from the first film …

His bigger role was coming in New Moon, so he was new to it, too. We kind of all learned together. Taylor's an amazing person. He really knows how to even everything out for himself—the work, the play, the socializing. He's a really smart guy. I look at him as being a little man.

What did you do during your downtime on the set?

We showed each other exercises. Taylor would show some of his workout, I would show some of mine. We'd practice martial arts tricks … just goof off! We had a great time. That's part of what our characters were like anyway. We're supposed to be frisky, friendly—like brothers. I think everyone on set was affected by it because they were always looking forward to the days when the Wolf Pack would film … everyone was really excited. They knew we were going to bring a different kind of energy.

Did you receive any guidance from any of the other actors on set?

At that point, you've got yourself a job. There's nothing that anyone else is really going to teach you. I didn't have anyone holding my hand when I did the audition. What I did to get the job is what I had to do on film. In terms of everything else that was coming with that, with the fame and all of that stuff, [director] Chris Weitz and Kristen [Stewart] had the best advice to give me.

Can you say what that was?

Not really. It was between me and them.

Fair enough. Well, have you seen the finished film?

Just scenes.

Are you going to see it with the wolves?

At this point, I don't think that's going to happen. That's what they promised us, though. [Laughs]

What was it like filming the third installment, Eclipse?

It was no pressure. The pressure was doing the job on the first one, trying to understand the character. On this one, I felt a little bit more comfortable with what I was doing. I already knew the cast, so it was a lot easier.

Has much changed since you've started filming the Twilight movies?

Well, I've got a lot more family members now! [Laughs] I don't know, people say after the movie opens things are really going to change. I'm getting a lot of meetings with really great directors and producers—people I really admire. It's a really good gig to have. The fans are amazing. They're really the ones that are changing everything for each actor.

You have thousands of Twitter followers …

I know! It's only been like a week and a half since I got my Twitter [account]! It's pretty cool. For the first week, no one believed it was me, so I had to put a picture of me holding my name. It looked like a mug shot! It was pretty ridiculous, but it's really cool knowing you have really enthusiastic fans that want to hear about what you do on a day-to-day basis.

What is it like now having all of this crazy press attention?

I've been doing a lot more interviews. I was a little more intimidated by it all about four months ago when I finished wrapping New Moon, but I've been doing smaller interviews and going to red-carpet premieres and things like that. I've gotten used to it; I call it my new "norm." But a few months ago I was pretty terrified. It was shocking to me. Now it's part of what I have to do. This franchise demands it. I had to do classes—P.R. classes—just recently. That kind of strengthened all that! I just try to have fun and be myself.

Are you up for some wordplay? Please give me one word that describes some of the New Moon actors starting with the Wolf Pack. OK, Bronson Pelletier [who plays “Jared”] …

Aw, man. [Laughs] Jokester!

Kiowa Gordon [aka “Embry Call”].

Bewilderment. [Laughs] He's always thrust in these crazy situations that … he's pretty young. At 19, I didn't have these crazy things. I mean, I'm 24—I consider myself a man. I have a wife, a son, and I've had some practical life experience. This kid just got thrown into it, so it's new to him. To me he always has this bewilderment about him.

Tyson Houseman [“Quil Ateara”].

He'll know what this means. Vespa. Scooter.

Taylor Lautner [“Jacob Black”]

Taylor! Loyal.

Gil Birmingham [“Billy Black”].

One word is really hard. I would say … intuitive.

Chaske Spencer [“Sam Uley”].

Aw man, love him. Wisdom.

Kristen Stewart [“Bella Swan”].

Aw, she's awesome. I would say badass.

Rob Pattinson [“Edward Cullen’].

Patient.

Source


Wolf Day continues. Having posted an interview with Alex Meraz, who plays a lupine Quileute Indian in Twilight: New Moon, earlier today, VF.com brings you an exclusive Q&A with one of the youngest members of the Wolf Pack: Kiowa Gordon. Unlike his cast mates, Kiowa had never acted before this movie. We recently called him at his home of Scotsdale, Arizona—we apologize for waking him up—where he talked about how Twilight author Stephenie Meyer handpicked him for the role, and promised his female fans that it’s O.K. to come closer: he doesn’t bite. (Don’t believe it.)

Little Gold Men: Can you tell us a little bit about your Native American descent?

Kiowa Gordon: Our tribe is called the Hualapai, and we are in Northern Arizona. We sit on top of the Grand Canyon and used to live there [on the reservation] about ten years ago. We take frequent trips back.

New Moon is your first film. What was the casting process like?

They had an open casting call here in Phoenix, and I auditioned. I was going to
church with my mom out in Cave Creek, and Stephenie Meyer goes to church with her. She kind of helped me out on that one.

Did Stephenie suggest you?

Yes, she told production, I think, and got me some sides to do the audition.

So you never acted before this?

No.

Did you want to be an actor?

Definitely.

Did you know anyone in the cast before you started?

No, I just met Alex [Meraz] at the auditions.

How did the wolves come together as a pack?

They got us a personal trainer, and we just went to the workouts and got to know each other. We saw each other’s strengths and pushed each other’s buttons; we really bonded during that time. We’d go out to eat a lot and watch movies …

Which movies?

Anything that we agreed upon! We all like Inglourious Basterds. That was really good.

How would you all get revved up before a scene?

We just took off our robes, put our game faces on, and did what we do best.

So you spent a fair amount of time being topless.

Yeeeeep! It was really freezing when we first got to Vancouver.

What was your favorite scene to shoot?

I call it the “muffin scene.” It’s right after Bella finds out we’re all werewolves, and we take her to Emily’s house while Jacob, Paul, and Sam are off in the woods taking care of some wolf business.

And you eat muffins.

Yeah. A lot.

What kind?

Some weird bran muffins. They didn’t taste so good!

What do you do on set when you have downtime?

I sit and think about what we’re doing that day, think about the scene. I listen to music and try to focus.

What kind of music are you into these days?

This band that Chaske got me into called Phoenix. And also Grizzly Bear.

Did anyone on set take you under their wing or give you any good advice?

Just the Wolf Pack. We all helped each other along and gave each other advice.

Has anyone tried to prepare for what’s coming once the film is out?

They’re trying! They keep telling me that it’s going to be a lot crazier than what I’ve seen. They keep telling me that I can’t go outside of my house. I just think it’s nonsense.

Are people recognizing you already in Arizona?

Sometimes, yeah. They just look away and start laughing and whispering to their friends, but I know what they talk about because I can overhear.

Have you seen the finished film yet?

No. I saw the rough cut with Stephenie a couple of months ago. It was really good. I’m sure it’ll be 100 times better when it comes out.

What’s it been like filming the third installment, Eclipse?

It was a lot more fun being with the guys this time around. We already knew each other, had new stuff to talk about, a new director, and we actually had some scenes with the Cullens [the saga’s main vampire clan].

Do you have any other projects lined up?

In May, I’m going to be filming this new movie called Into the Darkness. It’s a horror thriller.

So, what do you want to say to the fans who are afraid to approach you? The giggling ones.

It’s fine for them to approach me. I’m not going to bite!

Give me one word to describe each actor: Taylor Lautner [“Jacob Black”].

Innocent.

Bronson Pelletier [“Jared”].

[Laughs] Jokester!

Tyson Houseman [“Quil Ateara”].

Smart.

Kristen Stewart [“Bella Swan”].

Edgy.

Gil Birmingham [“Billy Black”].

Papa!

Chaske Spencer [“Sam Uley”].

Leader.

Source

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