Chaske talking about "Eclipse"
Late Friday evenings & early Saturdays mornings in March might be known for something else...I mean, I've heard a rumor about tall skinny guys, running up and down some wooden surface bouncing and tossing a ball or something. But lately, March has become the month of Twilight DVD Release parties. This year was no exception New Moon Madness! ran wild! Shakefire got a chance to sit down with Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley) and Tyson Housman (Quil Atera). Find out how imprinting will be handled in the films, some special talents, what the work out for New Moon felt like, Eclipse details, the best way to use your fame to your advantage, and watch Tyson & Chaske sing happy birthday to one very lucky fan!
SHAKEFIRE: I know, Tyson, you have some brothers and Chaske has two younger sisters; how did they react when you got your roles?
TYSON HOUSMAN: They were supportive, my little brothers at least. When it comes to brothers, there's always a sense of jealously no matter what, that's just brotherly love. They've been super great about it and so nice about it. They haven't said anything rude to me about it or anything like that. They want to be actors too, but they're excited for me. That's the best part about it. That's why I love them.
CHASKE SPENCER: They're supportive, very happy that I got the part. But then they're very protective now. Somewhere we'll go hang out and they're right there like bodyguards.
SF: You have a lot of a younger audience. What is your response, day to day, in dealing with these fans?
TH: You try not let it get to your head or anything like that. You try to be really humble about it. You understand that the reason this little girl is so gushy and so scared to actually come talk you is because she looks to you and she sees the character. She sees that symbol. You have to recognize that. You have to say, "Oh, I'm not so big a celebrity that people actually do this.” I appreciate it because I can understand where she's coming from. It's cool to be a fan of something. Everybody has to have that thing. So when stuff like that happens you have to take it in stride and just be humble about it but just appreciate it.
SF: What's the one question you hate kids to ask you?
CS: There's no questions that they really ask that I hate.
TH: One of them asked to take our shirt off.
CS: Oh yeah, take the shirt off. We don't do that. The shirt off, that's pretty much the most one right there.
SF: You say everyone has to be a fan of that one thing that really gets you. What's the thing you're a fan of?
TH: Music I guess. It's the one thing I'm most passionate about; guitar, little bit of banjo, anything with strings.
CS: I'm the same as Tyson. I'm a big fan of music. I play the drums. I don't get nervous around actors; it's musicians I get a little nervous about. It's just that musicians I get a little intimidated about.
SF: I was reading your special talents on your website and lots of music and singing and then there's drivers license?
CS: [laughing] Yeah, I don't know. I don't remember putting that on there. Probably an old agent or someone put that on there. Yeah, I can drive! That's a talent!
SF: Tyson, we know your character, Quil, imprints on a two-year-old (Claire). Do you know how they are going to deal with the subject of imprinting in Eclipse?
TH: I remember Chris Weitz was talking to me once about it. It came up in discussion the idea--him talking to writers or when they were in the early stages of it. They were like, "hey, maybe we should have a scene with Quil and Claire. And Claire can be on his lap or something like that.” No matter how many ways you could try and figure that out, it would just be creepy. They didn't end up doing that which I'm glad they didn't because a lot of people would have definitely taken that the wrong way. No matter what visionary directing you could have done with that it would have been creepy. The way they solved the problem is they have a discussion about it. Jacob ends up talking about it and explaining what it is and stuff like that to Kristen and that sort of covers it. So later on, if there is a random scene with Quil and Claire, then it's not as creepy since they already explained it.
SF: Chaske, One of your first roles was Dracula. Can you talk about that?
CS: My first play in New York City was Dracula and it was a huge cast. It was clearly off, off, off, off Broadway. We didn't get paid. That kind of off Broadway. We packed our own props. It was fun. It was really cool. That was when I first started really doing theatre. Getting involved a lot, getting play-to-play and finding work. I had a great time. I was 21, 22 at the time in New York City. Broke, going from bar to bar after rehearsal, hanging out and having fun, being an out of work actor. Everything I wanted was right there and I indulged in it all.
CS: Yeah, I did Skins. That was my first movie that I ever did. That's actually how I got discovered by Rene Haynes who actually helped cast in New Moon. She's been a big supporter of me. Dreamkeeper, Into the West, so it's been a steady climb.
SF: Do these roles find you or do you find them?
CS: Well most of them aren't supernatural. Skins is just a regular dude and Into the West, he's a character that comes from boarding schools. They just find me I guess. What's really cool about New Moon and this whole thing is that it's opened up a lot of doors for the both of us and all the actors working on it where we're getting offers now. At that time though, I was auditioning to get those roles so they weren't given to me, I had to fight for them.
SF: Are you guys ever afraid of being typecast into the whole Twilight genre?
TH: Yeah, I guess you have to consider that when you go into it. Because of the fan base and because it's so strong it's going to live on for such a long time. These characters are going to be so strong in pop culture and stuff like that. I don't think I worry about it too much because if I just do what I want to do and be myself, like do very different work all the time...I don't plan on sticking to one thing. I'm not going to do movies where I have to take my shirt off all the time.
SF: What about the Wolfpack Boot Camp you guys went to. What was that like?
TH: It was tough stuff. They shipped us to Vancouver and they put us in these personal training classes with this really intense personal trainer. It was like six days a week and we would all go every morning and he would kill us. He would push us to the limit all the time and it really helped us bond. We got to hang out every single day. We got to suffer with each other. There was that competitive edge that really helped us into the wolfpack mentality.
CS: Yeah, it did. Right away, we all started clicking together. Because we film all our scenes together, we don't get to hang out with the other actors. It's a huge cast you got to remember. Sometimes the guys who are playing the Cullens are working one day and we're at the gym that day. We come in the next day and mainly our scenes are with Lautner and Kristen Stewart so we hung out with them and then all of us got to work out with each other. I was watching the DVD and looking back on it, it's like wow, and it’s almost been a year! So much has changed.
SF: What can you tell us about Eclipse? What should we be expecting from the wolfpack?
TH: You can be expecting a lot more wolves. There's a bunch of new kids, I'm being one of them. I mean, I was in New Moon but I wasn't actually a wolf in that one and then I actually get to take my shirt off in the next one, so there's that. There's going to be a lot of really cool action sequences. I think a lot more guys are going to actually want to go and see this movie. You probably won't be able to say the same about Twilight: New Moon but there's a lot more action in it.
CS: It's darker too. And this guy, when we first started off man, he was slight but now he's put on a lot of weight. But yeah, you see his character come out, comes into being a werewolf. You see a lot more of Tyson. You have Boo Boo Stewart. He's one of the Clearwaters and also Julia Jones is a fantastic actress. She's the she wolf. She's very beautiful and very talented. We can't give too much away but it just gets darker and like Tyson said more action.
SF: Did you guys spend any time with Stephenie Meyer?
TH: Yeah, she would pop up on set all the time. She was really friendly, really exciting, and upbeat. It was always cool just to have her there. We would just turn around and be like, "hey, Stephenie's here. Awesome!"
SF: Did she help you develop your characters or did you develop them on your own?
CS: I paid attention to the books. I was strictly on the books. I don't like to indulge too much. I'm glad the literature is there so it gives me something to go to and it gives me some limitations because sometimes you get a script and you can go anywhere with it but this is sort of in a box where you have a certain limit to work with and I like that.
SF: The scene where you come into the house after the fight and you kiss your fiancée Emily. It's almost feral the way you kiss her all around her face. Where did that come from?
CS: Oh that's cause she's hot! [laughs] No, we did that kiss a lot. There was passionate kissing. I don't know how many takes we did that kiss but it was a lot. At some point we loosened up and it was like, you know, sometimes you go see your girlfriend or wife and it's just small cute things you know are more intimate. You don't always kiss your girlfriend or wife passionately. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. It was just one of those things that just happened and she just giggled and laughed at it.
SF: Tyson, I loved the way you introduced yourself in New Moon.
TH: Yeah, that was a really fun take. Every take we did with that one, Chris was like, "do more, do more cheesy. Be as big of a sleazebag as you can.” We did somewhere it was almost completely comical and then some that were undertones. It was really fun to do.
SF: Which is your favorite book?
CS: I like Eclipse. It tells the stories. It tells a lot of back-story. Breaking Dawn is good, don't get me wrong, it's good but Eclipse, I just like the stories. I like the history of why the characters came to be. You have how Rosalie, how she came about and Jasper. Jasper was a soldier. And our story, Sam's story and it tells the legend of the changelings, the shape shifters.
SF: You were talking about your fame earlier and I saw your Shift the Power to the People PSA [www.shifthepowertothepeople.org] and how you're using your fame to try to get attention to the issue.
CS: What we're trying to do is the Cheyenne Sioux Reservation has had the two toughest winters. Their water structure is broken and they've been trying to get the government to get them a new one. These people, it's almost 8,000/10,000 people, without hot water for two years. They're comparing it to Katrina and no one's heard about this. The mainstream media has never picked it up. Two years! It's like a candle in the sun; it doesn't make sense to me. God bless people that do, God bless people in Chile and in Haiti. We were so fast to go help people in another country, which we should, but what about here in the United States? I don't understand that. When I heard about this, I got some people together. It was really quick, like in 24 hours. Some of the Twilight cast came who were in LA and we got a PSA going. What we want to do is get another PSA. I've gotten a group together which in the next month or two we're going to have an event and do another PSA with a lot bigger names. I'm very blessed with this Twilight thing but you could use the spotlight for a lot better things than to talk about yourself. We do it to promote the movie but if I could do something else to get something out of it, something positive, I'd rather do that than sit here and talk about myself.
SF: Are there any volunteer or fundraising events planned?
CS: Yeah, we are. We had a meeting out in LA a week ago and we started to get an event together. We still have to place some phone calls and see who we can get. I'm talking to some other people, some actors and stars, but I don't want to talk about that yet. It's going to come through. It really kind of bothers me that the only person who's really talked about it is Keith Olbermann, and it was really fast. I just don't understand why the mainstream media doesn't pick it up. People are freezing; there's children, pregnant women, cold without hot water or heat, and it's in our own backyard. It doesn't make sense to me.
---Matt Rodriguez was a contributing writer on this article.