Edi Gathegi, Laurent from theTwilight Saga, visited Florida Supercon in Miami this past weekend despite several delayed flights out of Italy. He spoke toThe Miami Hurricane about almost acting in front of President Barack Obama, filming New Moon and why you’ll see his character wearing shoes from now on.
Edi Gathegi: Miami Hurricane! How you like this? [does Florida State war chant]
The Miami Hurricane: Oh no, no! Now we got to teach you, come on! The ‘U.’
Edi: Is that what it is?
Both: The U.
TMH: It’s all about ‘the U.’ No Seminoles or Gators at UM.
Edi: Of course not. It’s a long-standing rivalry. I’m just going to do this the whole interview [does Seminole chop]. Keep going.
TMH: You flew in from Italy?
Edi: Yeah, I just arrived last night. Jumping back on a plane to get back there tomorrow.
TMH: So how was filming going?
Edi: Well, I finished New Moon in Vancouver like a while back. I’m working on something else.
TMH: Can you talk a bit about that project?
Edi: I doubt many people will see it because it’s going to be onstage, so unless you’re in Italy or New York, you’re not going to get a chance to see it. But it’s going to be a five-actor version/musical/comedian of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
TMH: And I was looking at your IMDB before, and you had actually done Macbeth before. So you like doing Shakespeare?
Edi: I love Shakespeare. He’s one of the greatest playwrights, as August Wilson. Those are two of my favorite playwrights.
TMH: And I think August Wilson, one of his plays is in New York right now…Isn’t that the one I think the Obamas saw recently?
Edi: Yeah, that’s so funny. Long story. For me, I booked that play. I booked a role in that play and it was going to be my Broadway debut, and I was very excited about doing it because I’ve always wanted to be on Broadway. And then I basically had to pick between New Moon and this Broadway play. So I picked New Moon. But Broadway didn’t want to let me go so they were trying to work out with my New Moon schedule, and eventually it didn’t work out. But my best friend and roommate was like, ‘dude, if you do this play, I bet you Barack Obama is going to see it. I bet you Barack Obama is going to see it,’ and I was like, ‘whatever, I can’t do it so don’t make me feel bad.’ He facebooks me, or Myspace or whatever one of these little systems everybody’s on, ‘Barack Obama saw Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. He could’ve seen your work.’ But his daughters loveTwilight too.
TMH: You know what you can do then? Find a way for their daughters to go to the New Moon premiere!
Edi: What I wanted to do forTwilight was to put it out there to Catherine [Hardwicke] and whoever that we should have a private screening at the White House. And at this point now that the movie’s out there and everyone knows it, we can totally have a private screening for New Moon at the White House. And Barack is president so that would be sick.
TMH: When you first heard from your agent or whoever that there was this role in a movie about vampires, what was your initial reaction?
Edi: I found out about it, and only because the casting director is someone I love in this industry. She’s put me in several movies. So I knew that she was casting a movie, I didn’t care what it was, I just wanted to go in for her. They got me an appointment, I read the material and I was like, ‘boo! What is your hunting range? Who says that? What are these people? Are they humans even?’ So I didn’t want to go, but I already set the appointment up. So I go in and Catherine’s there and she’s standing up, jumping on chairs, playing Cam’s [Gigandet’s] character, all over the place. I was like, ‘this woman is wild, I love her energy. I wanna work with her.’ So then I get a call that they’re seriously considering me for the part and I read the books and I’m like, ‘I love this book.’ It was like drugs.
TMH: Well, there’s that line in the movie, something about ‘own personal brand of heroin.’
Edi: The book is heroin, exactly. So I fell in love with it and I was just happy that I got the part.
TMH: Is part of the reason that Cam had that ponytail maybe because Catherine initially acted as James?
Edi: That’s so funny. I don’t know what went into that because Catherine was very hands on with the costuming. I had her belt on for a few days and then she decided to cut the belt from her own personal wardrobe. And we both came up with the dreads. What was the one hairstyle that I’d never had that I’d like to have?
TMH: The first one seemed to be lower budget and kind of like an indie. Not many people knew about it. How has it been different from filming New Moon, which is highly anticipated?
Edi: It’s interesting. There was a duality. I knew, and all of us knew, that the books were very popular as books, so if just the audience from the books went to the movie, the movie would be successful, but nobody could predict how successful this thing would’ve gotten. I embarrassed myself. I made a toast at dinner one of the first nights and I’m like, ‘we’re on the groundfloors of something huge, guys,’ and they were all looking at me like, ‘what are you talking about?’ And then I was like, ‘yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have said that.’ But I definitely felt that we were a part of something special because there were three books and they were good. Nobody knew it. Nobody knew really what was going on. New Moon, now you step out of the airport in Vancouver and you start getting snapped up by paparazzi. So it’s a different vibe, definitely. There’s more eyeballs on it. Hopefully that means we’ll break some records for the next movie.
TMH: So for those who don’t know, what’s Laurent’s character doing in the second one?
Edi: What he’s not doing is being good. He’s not conflicted anymore. He’s not bad, but I’m a vampire. I kill humans, but if they [the Cullens] like humans, then maybe there’s something to that. I’m curious. Maybe I don’t want to get wrapped up in this game that James is playing. In this next movie, he’s very much like, ‘that was a fun, little experiment. I’m a vampire.’
TMH: You were also on House, Hugh Laurie…Robert Pattinson in Twilight. Two British actors who put on an American accent. Why is it that British actors are able to fool us American audiences?
Edi: I’ve figured it out! This is the reason: because they grow up watching American television. You don’t grow up watching British television. And Australians are the same way. Australians, pound-for-pound are the best actors in the world right now. Come on! Kidman, Jackman, Ledger. They have an advantage. They get to dip in both worlds. So I think I’m going to study in England for a few years.
TMH: Your character Laurent goes around shirtless basically all the time…
Edi: It’s cold, it’s cold.
TMH: His character shouldn’t get cold because he’s a vampire, but does Edi?
Edi: It’s a feat in acting right there when I have to stand out there in however zero, negative-degree weather, and your nipples are hard, cutting glass. Wow, I just went there. And I have to pretend that I’m a vampire and I’m not feeling nothing? If they did a closeup, you might actually see little hairs sticking up everywhere. It’s cold out there! [sings to the tune of Hustle & Flow’s “Hard Out Here For a Pimp”] Hard out here for a vamp! In the first movie I was barefoot too. And that was awful! I was least looking forward to that in this movie, but [New Moon director] Chris Weitz was like, ‘wear shoes!’ And I’m like, ‘yeah?’ And he was like, ‘wear shoes!’ And I was like, ‘alright, cool!’
TMH: What kind of shoes?
Edi: Watch the movie.
TMH: [points at his shoes]
Edi: No high tops with the tongue sticking out. Not for Laurent. He’s too refined, he’s elegant.
TMH: If you were a teenage girl, would you be Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Edi: I’m not a teenage girl. Too hypothetical for me. I am Team Edward. I love Taylor [Lautner], not necessarily the Jacob character. Breaking down what the series is for me, I just love the idea of Edward and Bella. The idea of this character who cannot live without this other character. It’s just very romantic, and I support that. I don’t support the puppy love, I’m-going-to-break-it-up-because-I’m-a-brat type of thing.
TMH: What about the MTV Movie Awards?
Edi: I was in Italy. MTV Movie Awards? Italy? I’m sorry.
TMH: Did you bump into any of them? Were you nearby?
Edi: No, but that’s a shame because it didn’t click until like the week that they had wrapped that some of them were out there. I totally would’ve tried to connect with them. I had no idea that the timing would actually overlap. And they weren’t that far from me.
TMH: Why’s Laurent in this? You could’ve been just like an extra!
Edi: Why’s Laurent in this? That’s a good segway to bring me back for Eclipse.
TMH: Just to wrap it up, everyone loves Robert Pattinson now. [takes out a Cedric Diggory shirt] This was him in Harry Potter.
Edi: Wow, he looks the same.
TMH: Just a little bit younger.
Edi: Just a little younger, but he looks the same. It’s so funny man. It’s so funny how when the cast list came out, there was all that controversy. They hated him. How huge he is now. I just love it. I love how no matter what people are saying, you can always persevere and then you can reinvent yourself. You can actually get back on track like Robert Downey, Jr. I just love how Robert Pattinson…it’s funny because we all as a cast were like, ‘dude, you are so perfect for this, you’re so amazing!’ And he was a little like, ‘oh, but I’m not. They’re saying I’m not.’ Look now!