The latest installment, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, sees Bella and Charlie sharing some highly memorable, touching and funny father-daughter moments, which the actor said he really enjoyed filming. In this exclusive interview with Collider, Billy Burke talked about working with the talented Kristen Stewart, how he could never choose between Team Edward and Team Jacob, his thoughts on the baby in Breaking Dawn and how he’s looking forward to working with Bill Condon.

He also talked about his role in the upcoming 3-D action thriller Drive Angry, starring Nicolas Cage, in which he plays an over-the-top villain, who is the leader of a cult.
Question: What made you want to get involved with the Twilight films? Was there something about the story or the character that appealed to you?

Billy: I had no idea what Twilight was, at all. Catherine Hardwicke had seen a movie that I did a number of years ago, called Dill Scallion, and she requested to have me in. So, I came in and we talked a little bit about it, and we read a couple of scenes. In the movie sense, we both fell in love, at that moment. But, I just thought it was a really nice love story. I didn’t really pay attention to the whole vampire aspect, actually. It was a really nice love story, and a really great relationship between a father and his daughter. I didn’t really have a clue that the movie would have that much success, but I had an idea that it would do something.

At what point did you realize that it had become a huge phenomenon?

Billy: It started building when we were on the set in Portland, making the first film, and we were getting media attention and fans were hanging out. You never get fans hanging out on movie sets. It just never happens. So, I started realizing that something was bubbling up. And then, the first physical contact I had with it was at the first Twilight premiere, which was absolutely nuts. And then, it went on to make an astronomical opening weekend and, at that point, we all knew that it was something.

What do you think when you find out that people slept for days in tents, just to see you walk the red carpet at the premiere of the latest film?

Billy: God bless them! I’ve never been a fan of anything that would make me want to do that. But, it’s great. They’ve got a real passion and a real devotion to these stories and the characters, and that’s cool.

Since you hadn’t been familiar with what the Twilight saga was when you auditioned, was there a point that you read the books to get the background on your character, or did you just go with what was in the script?

Billy: It’s pretty wildly known by now, with all the interviews that I’ve done, that I’ve never cracked one of the books. I am not a big reader, to begin with. When I read the script, I realized how oblivious Charlie was to everything else that was going on around him. Everything that I really need to know is in the scripts. Everything else is information that I don’t want to bog myself down with. That way, the movies are fresh to me. When I see them for the first time, I’m getting entertained and I’m getting a surprise. I didn’t see Eclipse until everyone else did, at the premiere.

How has it been to work with Kristen Stewart? How has your relationship changed, since the first film?

Billy: It hasn’t changed very much at all, actually. We don’t hang out together in our personal lives, but whenever we get back up there on the set, it’s very comfortable. It’s like coming back to work on a TV show. Everybody knows each other and it’s very comfortable. I love working with Kristen. She’s extremely talented and she has the same work ethic that I do. She doesn’t carry a lot of baggage around with her to the set. She doesn’t do a lot of unnecessary and extraneous
preparation. We bring our ideas to the set and throw them out there and, so far, it’s worked really well.

One of the things that stands out about these films is the very real relationship between Bella and her father. Do you have a favorite scene between the two of you?

Billy: I remember working on the kitchen scene, where Charlie inadvertently tries to talk to her about sex and protection. That was actually quite fun. We had a good time with that.

Do you think that Charlie is more Team Jacob than Team Edward, when it comes to Bella, or do you think his feelings toward Edward are gradually changing, over the course of the films?

Billy: First of all, Charlie would never play that game. He would never play the team game, nor would I. I have no interest in that. But, he’s obviously got a bent towards Jacob. Jacob is the son of his best friend and he looks at him as a good kid who’s a clean, strong influence. He still doesn’t know that much about Edward, but obviously there’s something weird about him. Charlie would always bend towards Jacob.

Charlie seems to get a little upset, though, when he finds out that Jacob kissed Bella.

Billy: That would be with any kid kissing your daughter. That’s just the way it goes. My daughter is only two years old right now and I don’t look forward to those moments.

Billy_Burke_imageYou have some very funny moments in the films. Were you surprised at the humor in them? Is that something that’s developed out of the characters’ relationships?


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