PARSIPPANY, New Jersey — The second day of the official "Twilight" convention started with a howl from "New Moon" actor Kiowa Gordon, who, along with fellow Wolf Pack members Alex Meraz and Chaske Spencer, sat down for an hour-long Q&A session at the event.
Meraz initially took the stage wearing black sunglasses to conceal an injury received during mixed-martial-arts training for an "Eclipse" fight scene he'll have with Kellan Lutz. "In theory it's a good idea, but I got my eyes beat up," he said. "So they're kind of red. I'm being insecure."
While Meraz has been throwing punches in preparation to play shapeshifter Paul, Spencer took a more laid-back approach for his Quileute pack-leader role. "I just watched a lot of movies to get the character, Sam, and watched a lot of generals," he said.
One thing the trio tries not to do when preparing to film is read the blogs.
"For the first two weeks, when it came out I was in the Wolf Pack, I did it," Meraz said. "I was in my trailer [saying], 'People like me! People like me!' " But the gleam quickly wore off and negative comments began to bug the actor. "By Googling myself, I'm not going to find anything I like," he said, adding, "I'm arguing with an 8-year-old!"
Onstage the affable trio shared an obvious rapport, crediting some of their bond to cuddling on-set to keep warm during rain-drenched shirtless scenes. They shared several funny anecdotes from filming "New Moon," including Meraz's embarrassing moment with Kristen Stewart.
"I decided, all right, the Wolf Pack stay up all night looking for who's killing people on the res, so we don't sleep very much. So I thought it would be a great idea if I stayed up for 10 days straight." What should have been a simple scene — a confrontation between Bella (Stewart) and the Wolf Pack — became, in Meraz's mind, his "Brando moment." Wanting to try something different, the actor played the scene overly aggressive: screaming, grabbing Stewart by the throat, hurtling his line at her.
"[Director] Chris Weitz comes off-set like, 'Yeah, I like the energy Alex, but just take it down a little,' " Spencer chimed in: "Meanwhile the producers are freaking out back there."
" 'Cause nobody touches Kristen Stewart," joked Meraz.
Things get even more heated for Meraz when he phases into a wolf. For "New Moon," Weitz told the actors to envision the phasing sequences as a "pop like popcorn," which meant the actors only had to do a little shake before CGI took over from there. For the novel's wolf mind-reading sequences, the trio said it would be portrayed on film through quick glances. "With real wolves, that's actually how it's done," Meraz said. "The alpha male does things just with its eyes."
Spencer and Meraz also reminisced about the cliff-diving scene, a stunt they performed themselves, though for Spencer, his favorite scene was kissing onscreen love Emily (played by Tinsel Korey). "It was a lot of takes," Spencer said. "It's a hard job."