On February 28, The Highlander had the opportunity to sit down with The Twilight Saga- Break Dawn Part 2 actors Guri Weinberg and Erik Odom at the Townsend Hotel.
The final movie in The Twilight Saga is released on DVD and Blu-Ray March 2. In its original box office run the movie made $290 million and over $822 million worldwide.
The Highlander- Why did you go into acting? What did you want to do it for?
Weinberg- Going into acting is a weird thing. It’s kind like a crazy calling. For me when I was a kid I was always watching movies and I wanted to do what they did. They made me feel what I felt when I was watching the movie, whether that was happy, sad, excited. And I wanted to do the same thing.
Odom- I did it when I was a kid and then got out of it for a while. In my teenage years, I was playing basketball, running track, doing all the sports stuff and that was kind of the distraction for me. And then once I stopped doing that [acting] I came back around that there was just something missing and got back into it. And as soon as I got back into it, as I was kind of getting into adulthood, I went this is it. I want to tell stories. I want to be a story teller. And if you really want to do that in a professional capacity you’ve got to move to Los Angeles or New York. It was just kind of a logical progression from there and I have really never looked back. Its one of those funny things when you find what you think it is your supposed to do, your mind is made up for you.
The Highlander- [Referring to Weinberg] You played a role as your father in “Munich” , how did that strengthen your career? [Editor’s note: Weinberg’s father was the first Israeli Olympian to be murdered during the 1972 Munich massacre. The event was revisited in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film “Munich”.]
Weinberg- It’s weird because when I did it I didn’t do it for my career, I did it for personal reasons. When the casting director called me and said “would you even consider it… playing your dad?” I needed sometime to think about it and she said “great you only have 12 hours to think about it. We need to know tomorrow.” I remembered that all my life I wanted to know what it was like, what he went through. My wife was the one who said you’ve always wanted to know what he went through. And Stephen Spielberg is literally going to put you in a possession where its going to be as real as possible so maybe that will give you something. And I went you know that’s a good point and so I did it. So for me it was literally, because when you are playing your own dad you don’t think about it helping your career at all, your just going and doing it and not doing any press on it. But for me it was a personal experience that helped me understanding what he went through and why he did what he did. And being at one with it.
The Highlander- What did a typical day look like when you were shooting?
Odom- It would depend on what we were shooting. The majority of what I worked on was the battle field. So just speaking for me it would be early call times, get up 5:30 or 6am the van would come pick us up at the hotel and you would go to the sight. And there is a whole sight built out there, where everyone’s trailers are set up and you go to the hair and makeup tends and you get your hair and makeup done. I was relatively easy just white makeup on everything. Hair was easy, a lot of people had wigs that were so much more, the girls went through a lot more then I did. By the time they had done all this hair and makeup on you, you go to the contact lens tent and they pop the contact lens in your eyes and you catch yourself in the mirror and you go “alright.” You have enough time to really get into the mind sight of where you need to be. And then you go out on set and by the time you get to set you are ready to go. You’ve already done all your work and you just kind of go and let it rip and see what happens. So then you would go on set and shoot for a while and you’d have your breaks and everything but that was usually what a typical day would look like. It would be spring loading getting all your hair and makeup done and then you go on set and you would work. With anything this size the pace of it is glacial, it moves so slowly and that’s just part of it because they need to shoot from every different angle and there is so many moving parts that need to be controlled so it moves very slowly. It’s a challenge more then anything is just to maintain your focus when all this other stuff is going on for when that time comes when you do really have to be there, you are able to be there. You’re not distracted.
The Highlander- Can you give us an idea of what the special effects look like?
Odom- I think it’s a skill into itself to be able to fill in a lot of the blanks because what ended up happening is shooting on the field there were 30 foot high green screens around every side and that’s where they were going to put in the forest and everything. And there was a bunch of fake snow, so we had the fake snow which was good. What they would do for the wolves is they would have cardboard cut outs of wolves that they would have people bringing them around for eye line purposes so we would know where the wolves were going to be when they came in. It was actually pretty funny. They had these cardboard cut outs with these holes in the middle and the guys would carry them and mimic what they were doing. So we would kinda see that then they would get rid of them and add the CG [computer generated] wolves after the fact. It’s partially on you to fill in those blanks so then when you finally see the final product its so different then what your experience was on set its like again for the first time, its pretty great.
The Highlander- Why did you pick LA to live in?
Odom- I love LA. Career really more then anything, if you want to make a career out of film and television, Los Angeles is really the only place to be in my mind. You can carve out a career as a character actor working small things here or there in Louisiana or North Carolina. Virginia where I was its tough but I knew a few actors who were able to carve out a small living doing that. But if you really want to work without a ceiling and really work on the stories you want to work on and meet the people you want to meet and to collaborate with you kinda need to be in Los Angeles. If you want to do theater you can do New York or even Chicago but for film and television Los Angeles is the place you need to be.
The Highlander- What is your advice for anyone that’s wants to go into acting?
Weinberg- I always tell actors make sure you have that side job that pays the bills because the worse thing you can do for yourself is when you go to an audition and you really need the job because you really need the money you’ll never get the job. Every actor goes through theie own “BS” of how they do things and whether its school or how you learn it but the most important thing is making sure the bank account is stable because if you go in there desperate you’ll never get.
Odom- They can tell so quickly if there is any bit of desperation. The way I always describe it to people is thinking of it as a small business. And the product is not as tangible as a bottle of water or something like that. That’s right there but the acting thing like selling yourself is a bit different but at its core is a small business. And with a small business you might not see a profit for a long time, you might not see it for five years you might not see it for 10 years but its important to still be improving the product. Getting in front of people introducing people to it so when the perfect things come down for you they have already seen that your great they are already confident in you and they are willing to give you that job or willing to allow you to earn that job. So if you do have something on the side then you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of it. And you might have to do it for a long time but if you go in with the expectation that this going to be really hard and I’m going to have to have something on the side for a long time. I mean look I was delivering groceries when I found out I got Twilight. Its just one of those things where you find a way to make it work or you don’t and either way the people who make it work make it work regardless.
The Highlander- After being part of such a blockbuster phenomenon what do you hope for in your future acting careers?
Weisberg- Of course as an actor you want to do as many different characters and experience many different things and work with many different people so that’s really what I’m looking forward too. I got Adam Sandler checked off, Spielberg checked off, Bill Condon check off. People like Martin Scorsese won’t hurt. The fun part about acting is working with different actors, directors. It’s the challenge that you’re always meeting.
Odom- This might be optimistic of me but I’ll try to hold on to it as long as I can. I think life has a funny way of putting you in with people who are like minded and who you should hopefully be collaborating with. Working with Bill Condon is a huge one for me and I think with someone like Guri for example falling in with people like Adam Sandler I don’t see that as coincidence I think that if that’s where your interest really lie, that’s where your skills lie then you will end up aligning with people you should be with. Life has a funny way of lining it up like that. The goal is to continue to be true to myself, work toward things that I’m interested in and kind of letting life handle itself. And hopefully getting to a point where you are on projects and you’re producing. I think that’s every actors hope to have some sort of creative control over their career.
The Highlander- What was the audition process like for you guys?
Weisberg- When I got the call I thought I was completely wrong. I didn’t even know it was Twilight, it just said Breaking Dawn and I had no idea what it was. I was like not another vampire movie. Let me guess they are going to try and copy Twilight and my manager was like “you’re an idiot, it is Twilight.” I was like you should have started with that, come one. I just thought I was completely wrong for the character so at first I was like I’m going to pass I’m not even going to go in she pretty much said “no you’re going to go in because I am a big Twilight fan and I want to meet Stephanie Meyer.” She tells me what the characters is and I’m like great now I have to do a Romanian dialect, this is awesome I’ve never done that before. So I went into casting they put me on tape and I pretty much walked out of the audition forgetting about it thinking this isn’t going to go anywhere and then a week later I found out I got it.
Odom- For me they actually brought me in on a different role and what I learned later was they brought a lot of actors in on this one role they called it Liam, who ended up being played by Patrick Brenan in the film, but based on the way the sides were they had shuffled up the script and put scenes together they were trying to keep the script so under wrapped that they had us audition with sides that weren’t actually sides from the film so it was a weird hybrid scene. The scene where Renesmee is brought to the Denali coven in Alaska but they had changed the names around and switched it around. I went in an auditioned for Liam and I knew the character Liam and went this guy is supposed to look like he was turned in his mid-30s, he’s Irish, he’s imposing. This makes no sense this isn’t right but I’ll go in. I had never auditioned for Debra Zane before and she is a huge casting director and so I went in and I felt good about the audition but I let it go and a month and a half went by and I hadn’t heard anything so at that point after a week or two went by, my big thing was getting in front of Debbie Zane and auditioning and I felt great about the audition and that’s great. Six months from now she will bring me in on another job and having seen me do well on this I’ll maybe be in consideration for that job. And so I put it out of my mind and a month in a half later I got the call and it SHOCKED me. It would of shocked me no matter what but the fact that so much time had gone by shocked me twice as much. I was lost for a little bit, yeah I cried my eyes out I was overjoyed. I called my parents and just lost my mind for a little bit.