It took one New Moon casting announcement to bring Alex Meraz from obscurity into the thick of Twilight mania. Out of all the wolf pack cast introduced, Meraz has clearly captured the public imagination with his shirtless photos and his piercing eyes. But who is Alex Meraz? We asked his mentor and friend, actor Raoul Trujillo
, to give us a breakdown.
HE'S, UM, PRETTY HOT (OKAY, THAT WAS OUR POINT)
: "The camera loves him," agrees Trujillo. "Everywhere we go people are always saying, 'Good God, who is your friend.'"
"This is only going to be scarier now."
HE'S GONE FROM 'NEW WORLD' TO 'NEW MOON'
: Meraz's first big film was New World as one of the Powhatan core warriors. "That's kind of where he got the bug," says fellow New World cast member Trujillo. "It was an incredible experience."
Meraz was in the running, but was turned down for Apocalypto: "Mel felt he didn't look Mayan enough, which was silly." says Trujillo who was cast. "I don't look Mayan either, but they put a prosthetic nose on me and I looked plenty Mayan."
HE'S A SERIOUS DANCER
: Meraz came to Trujillo's attention when another choreographer found him break-dancing on the streets in Phoenix, Arizona. Besides break-dancing he excels in indigenous and contemporary dancing. Meraz is "an inherent dancer" says Trujillo. who is also a choreographer.
Even Colin Farrell was impressed when Meraz busted some moves at the New World wrap party. Trujillo: "Colin was just sitting and watching cross-legged all ga-ga going, 'Oh my god.' "
HE CAN KICK SERIOUS VAMPIRE BUTT
: Alex has studied mixed martial arts, winning numerous tournaments in karate and the martial art of Capoeira. "He's a pretty lethal martial artist," says Trujillo. "He can kick some serious ass."
So who'd win: Alex or a vampire? "If it were going to be one of the Twilight vampires, I'd bet on Alex in a minute," laughs Trijillo. "But in the end, you bet on the screenwriter. They say what's going to happen."
THE DUDE WORKS HARD
: Nabbing the key role in Twilight was no fluke for the young actor. "If there's anyone I have known in my life that deserves this, it's Alex," says Trijillo. "He's worked his ass off in the time I have known him. He never lets up."
Beyond staying in top physical shape, the actor-student works hard on honing his craft, including his New Moon audition. "Alex drove from Phoenix to my ranch in New Mexico on his birthday weekend so I could help him with his audition," says Trujillo. "It's about 8 hours each way. But he knew he needed to get this done."
"He's humble," says Trujillo. "And he always showed that he was willing to listen and learn."
Even with those essentials, it took a lot of work, luck and talent to break through.
"New Moon happened to be there at the right time," says Trujillo. "This is his first big break. And what a break to have. This whole thing is a phenomena."
SORRY LADIES, HE'S MARRIED
: Alex is madly in love with his Vietnamese-American wife Kim. They have a child named Somak (Trujillo is the god-parent). Kim was the one who was a true Twilight fan.
"His wife is the one who has read all of those books. And she's the one who said look, you have to got to get into this. This is perfect for you. You're the one."
FINALLY, HE'S RIPPED:
"I sometimes have to tell him, 'I hate you, put your shirt on,' " says Trujillo.
"He's slender anyways and he has a body that just is that way. He doesn't even really work out because if he works out he gets huge. He's got these shoulders on him. It's from the martial arts and the break dancing. And he's one of those genetically gifted guy."
"They are going to have to get a trainer for everyone else on set or he is going to stand out like a sore thumb."