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Speakeasy with Jamie Campbell Bower and Edi Gathegi

New Moon vampires sink their teeth into the Twilight phenomenon

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As the second chapter of the Twilight franchise: New Moon looms on the horizon, die hard fans (or “Twi-hards”) have been lining up across the country to catch a glimpse of the faces behind the stars as they embark on a cross-country mall promotional tour.

Last week, Edi Gathegi who portrays the foreboding, dread-headed vampire Laurent and Jamie Campbell Bower, whose character Caius is introduced in the latest film greeted fans and responded to questions in a Q&A session held at the Mall of Georgia. Gathegi and Bower sat down briefly to discuss the making of the latest feature film and their own fascination with the series. The Twilight Saga: New Moon opens Fri., Nov. 20.

Was it easier to get into character this time around since you’ve played Laurent before?

Gathegi: It was definitely easier but initially it was very difficult because he’s described as having a slightly French accent and French is the accent that is hardest for me. It’s sort of impossible to do a slight French accent when you can’t even do a regular accent, so I had to learn the accent and then scale it back which was a challenge. So for the second film most of the work had already been done, I just stepped in put myself in a new situation and just trusted Chris Weitz’s directing.

Was there any way of playing it different this time around aside from the accent?

Gathegi: Well my intentions were different.  In the first movie he’s introduced to the Cullen’s for the first time and he’s intrigued by what they’re trying to do and he sort of likes them. And in the second film he’s tried to live as the Cullen’s live by being a vegetarian, he’s been to Alaska and tried that and it’s not for him so he comes back to Forks hungry. He’s not really apologetic about being a vampire and a vampire eats people… so there you go.

Out of all the members of the Volturi, your character [Caius] is the only one that doesn’t have a power. Why do you think he doesn’t have a power?

Bower: I think it makes the character a little bit more angsty, agitated, [and] angry. Before we encounter him in the books and in the story he’s had a big to do with the werewolves and was nearly killed by a werewolf so he seems to be the most aggressive out of the three. I think that comes from an almost a Napoleonic complex, the fact that he doesn’t have a power and feels he needs to make up that with a lot more aggression. I’m not sure why Stephanie wrote him without a power though… I should ask her shouldn’t I?

Gathegi: I dare say, these are my own personal thoughts — there has to be a reason you are a Volturi with no powers. If they all have powers and you don’t that almost makes you more a badass than them. How did you get into that position? You must be faster, stronger, smarter — more devious. I think there’s something about him that earns him that right to be on that high seat.

...You don’t think it’s the sexiness or anything?

Bower: [laughs] Everyone knows he’s [Caius] the sexiest of them all so he doesn’t need a power.

If you could give him a power what would it be?

Bower: I‘d probably steal Jane’s power played by Dakota Fanning, the power of pain through illusion.

You’ve worked with some well known stars from Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, and Guy Ritchie, what inspiration have you received from working with these people.

Bower: Really learning how to be an actor and how to deal with acting my favorite person that I have worked with ever has been Ian McKellan. The man is an unbelievable actor and a genuinely lovely person as well and we became very close and he’s just amazing at what he does. it’s not as if I going in there and I ask actors questions about what they do because that’s a little too intrusive and it’s not something you talk about but from watching them do what they do you can learn so much and I’m a student of the game.

What are your expectations with coming into the Twilight franchise and coming out of it?

Bower: I don’t expect anything. What is nice about doing a film that does have such publicity and people are so involved in it is that you are able to be seen for roles that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to be seen for and for me as a young actor who isn’t developed yet and haven’t completely nailed my own style of acting yet means I have to up my game, big time and really focus on every single audition that I go in to. I can’t go in there and not know what I’m talking about, I have to go in there and know the character and give everything because the bigger roles you are seen for obviously mean there are people who have been doing this a lot longer than you have and who are probably far better than you, what makes you different what would make them want to hire you? That’s what you have to think about. But that’s because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time [laughs].

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