Interview with a Few Vampires - Erik Odom & Guri Weinman from Breaking Dawn Part 2
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Now that the whirlwind of a film frenzy that is the Twilight Saga is coming to a close marked by the release of the Breaking Dawn Part 2 DVD, we had the chance to sit down with two charming additions to the Saga, Erik Odom (Peter) and Guri Weinberg (Stefan). It was a delightful opportunity to get to briefly chat and discuss their experience with the Twilight phenomenon. It’s unfortunate that the fans had to wait until the very last film to be introduced their characters as they are entertaining and charismatic in person and would have been enjoyable to see more of in the film.
PFF: How has this whole Twilight experience been for you guys?
GW: It’s one of those weird things that you can’t really get used to it. You’re trying to wrap your mind around this huge movie with such a huge fan base; you just don’t know how to handle it. I sure as hell have not figured out how to handle yet so it’s overwhelming, you know?
EO: It is. It’s one of those things that joining the cast as late in game as we did [joining on the last film], you have an idea in your head what it’s going to be. You think about that; you see it from the outside and it’s this huge thing. That’s what you set your expectations for, but no matter how much you prepare yourself for it. When you’re actually hit in the face with it and it’s there and you’re in the inside of it, it becomes a completely different scenario and it is overwhelming at first. I don’t think anyone could enter into it and be completely neutral about it. It overwhelms you in a positive way; you take it on and learn how to navigate. It’s a controlled fall. You go along and adjust to it, knowing full well that you can’t control it. You embrace it.
GW: Controlled fall - I’m so stealing that!
EO: Pretty smooth, right? That’s the first time I’ve described it that way.
GW: (pretending to write it down) I’m so using that.
PFF: How eloquent of you. I like it…
EO’s friend (in background): I trademarked it so deal with it.
( Everyone Laughs)
PFF: Do you have a favorite moment from this whole experience? After traveling the world and encountering fans, are there any moments that stick out in your mind over the others?
EO: The big one for me was the Part Two premier in Los Angeles. I went to the Part One premier in L.A., where they unveiled our characters and then [San Diego] Comicon but for me it was taking my mom to the Part Two premier as my date. She has been the biggest Twi-hard since day one and I remember her talking about Breaking Dawn years ago…when she was just reading the book. To be able to say “Mom, come on out and meet everybody”, introduce her to all the actors and others, seeing her enjoy it just made it 100 times better to me.
GW: I guess the biggest one for me was in October, where we had to go to Baton Rouge to do this camera test for make up & hair, talk to the director [Bill Condon] about our characters and other things. When we arrived and told us that “Tonight we’re going to have dinner tonight” on one of the nights, where we thought it was just a few of us; Lee [Pace], Mackenzie [Foy], Rami [Malek] and a few others. We didn’t think much of it but the next thing I know, we walk into a restaurant, directed towards a back room and the whole main cast is there; Stefanie [Meyers] is there; we didn’t realize it was going to happen that way. It was this awesome little welcoming experience with the cast, Bill [Condon - director], the producers and everybody. It was very overwhelming because here we are the new additions into this well established project; it was just a very kind gesture to do.
GW: I had read Breaking Dawn.
EO: When I found out about the audition, I had already seen the first two movies [Twilight & New Moon] and Eclipse was already in theaters so I went and saw a late night showing. Then days before the audition I read Breaking Dawn; after I found out that I was cast I went back ready all the parts, honing in Peter’s scenes in Eclipse and even reading his parts in Midnight Sun [unpublished to date]. There was a lot of Peter/Charlotte moments that I wanted to use as much as I could. You’re lucky with adaptations that you have a lot more back story to go off of, because the books just by virtue of the format, much more detailed than the script could ever be.
PFF: Watching some of the Behind-the Scenes footage from the Special Features DVD on B.D. pt. 2, there were a lot of the cool zip line action and vampire stunts. How much of that did you get to experience? How much did you have to prepare for the different fight scenes?
GW: You know how everyone from the main cast was talking about how much they had to prepare with their fight scenes and stuff, but apparently with the new cast they decided not to do that. When we’d show up on set, Noel [Fisher – Vladimir] and I, the crew was like “Yeah, were going to put you up in this harness hooked to a wire, hoist you 50 feet up in the air, in the middle of the woods, then we’re going to drop you. Trust us, we’re going to catch you; it’s going to be fun.” So of course, the first take, you know they put me up and I literally almost piss myself and scream like a little girl because I wasn’t ready for it. You know, they have you hold this rope to steady you and they say “Guri, drop the rope.” So I do and wait for them to say action but they drop me, so AHHHH…. They’re like, “Uh, can we do one with out the screaming?” I’m like can we do one where you call action? They said that was what we meant when we told you to drop the rope. So no, they didn't prepare us. They put us in the harness and the treadmill. You know with the treadmill with the running and all that, you’re put behind a big truck and that truck has a big exhaust that put out smoke (make a grimacing face) that goes in your face and you’re like, “I’m not breathing hard; I’m a vampire!” So that was more of my experiences with the stunts. With the fight scenes, you get hurt, get kicked in the head; you know they teach you right on the spot but yeah that was my experience. (Laughs)
EO: I can’t top that. There was a lot that was kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants kind of stuff. The choreography was
GW: The thing with Michael, you were on the harness.
EO: Yeah, there was a scene that didn't make it into the movie where, I won’t get to spoiler-y with it, basically Peter picks a fight with Aro and it doesn't go well for me. (Laughs). I pick a fight with Aro and it’s basically where Aro and Edward are about to face off. As Peter, I try to go in there and cut them off and it doesn't end well, but yeah, I was hooked up to a harness. Thy give you the quick verbal tutorial and pat you on the back, wish you the best and off you go. It was blast for me; the hardest thing was being in the harness; get thrown by Michael’s character and then trying not to laugh as I go off screen because it’s so much fun!
EO: It’s basically like a bungee cord and you’re getting thrown around. As far as the choreography on the battle field fight scenes, the contacts were the most interesting. The contacts would block out all your peripheral vision, so you would have to do this choreography based on 8 counts. You would have to trust the counts because you wouldn't be able to see when the stunt guy would be coming from your right about to swing and knock you in the head. You duck on that 4 count because if you duck on 5 count, you’re going to take it to the side of your head. It was a blast, but yeah there was not too much prep for it. It was pretty much go for it and hope for the best.
GW: It’s like a controlled fall. You like how I brought that back? I toldja I was going to steal it…
(The two high- five)
PFF: Nice call back!
EO: This is a helluva interview we’ve got going on right now… we’re in our afternoon synergy.
PFF: Are there any tip or tricks that you experiences on set that you picked up and have been able to use in current/ future projects?
GW: Ohhhh... that’s a tough one to answer. On every set you pick up something that you haven’t picked up somewhere else because it’s a different experience. This one was more, because they were vampires; it was more about control, due to the lack of human element/ behavior missing. For me it’s almost mish-mashes into one another. That’s the one thing I would say: control.
EO: When you’re in such a large ensemble cast, I found it so interesting to sit back and watch. Everyone’s process was a little different; for example, take a person like Michael Sheen, whom I respect greatly coming into this project. He’s a brilliant actor. To watch him from take to take, do things completely different each time. He would come in with 5 or 6 different takes on a scene. He would give a speech, for instance, and you’d watch the speech and then ask anyone on set, “Which take do you think was the best? Which one do you think is going to make it?” People were so dead set on certain takes but it was never the same one twice. So you’d talk to some one and they would be like” oh, it’s gong to be the second take, it was amazing; that’s what it is”. Someone else would ay “Oh no, it’s the forth take, it has to be the one that’s used.” So it’s fun to see the finished product to see which one actually made it into the film. What it a gift and testament that it is to Bill that 1.) He’s able to get that from his actors and 2.) He’s able to go into the editing room and decide that’s the one to use. You see the finished product and go “That’s the one; it couldn’t have been anyone one, it’s perfect.”
PFF: This last question is a two part question. How did you get your start in acting?
GW: For me it was as a kid watching movies and being inspired by what the actors did and how they made me feel. I wanted to do the exact same thing so that’s why I got into the biz.
EO: I acted as a kid and as I got older, I went away from it. I realized that there was a void in my life as all I wanted to do is tell stories.
PFF: Ok last question because we are running out of time. What are you working on now? What’s up next for you?
GW: I worked on Body of Proof [TV Show] which will be out soon and we’ll see what comes up next.
EO: I have an independent film that I’m shooting in the fall of 2013 that has some fun Twilight connections so stay tuned.
Be sure to keep an eye out for these two, not because they are talent actors but because they are genuinely cool guys. Connect with them on Twitter @ErikOdom & @GuriWeinman. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is out on DVD starting March 2, 2013.