"‘ECLIPSE’ EXCLUSIVE: Geting to Know Bryce Dallas Howard
Don’t let her serene energy and stunning looks fool you — Bryce Dallas Howard knows how to go for the jugular. “I had to get in touch with my animal instincts,” says the 29-year-old actress about taking over the pivotal role of Victoria, the villainous vampire out for heroine Bella’s blood in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. “At one point, I was actually working out in my head, ‘How would you physically suck blood from someone’s neck? Would you take a breath first? Would you open up your throat to drink?’” Before heading to the theater on June 30 to see exactly how Victoria goes about hunting her prey this time, get to know the actress who brings her to life. Here, Howard — photographed exclusively for LIFE by editor-at-large Jeff Vespa — opens up about stepping into the high-profile franchise, branching out into other aspects of Hollywood (just like her famous dad, Ron), and becoming verygood at playing bad.
A Fan of the Books
Replacing actress Rachelle Lefevre, who had portrayed Victoria in the first movie and in its 2009 sequel, New Moon, but was let go over scheduling conflicts, Howard had just one week to prepare before filming on Eclipse began. So it’s a good thing she was already quite familiar with the Stephenie Meyer novels that sparked the phenomenon. Reading the Twilight books before the first film, Howard tells LIFE, “I felt as if I had discovered an incredible world of characters that felt so personal and so real to me…. But I have to say, the experience of going from being a true fan of a series and reading all the books to actually getting to be a part of it has been pretty wild.” And how have the notoriously passionate Twilight devotees — so ardent they call themselves “Twihards” — adjusted to the casting switch? “The fans that I have met have all been lovely, welcoming, and supportive. They have held the same passion for this series as I do,” says Howard, whorecently encountered a screaming mass of them at Eclipse‘s Los Angeles premiere."
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