One-year-old Ava Jolie Mayeux is not just any Louisiana toddler.
The Gonzales native has been a vampire baby eyed by millions of people all over the globe.
Ava was hired as an extra to appear in the box-office smash, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” which was filmed partly in Baton Rouge in 2010.
But Ava was no ordinary extra.
The film’s main character Bella Swan, played by actress Kristin Stewart, becomes pregnant in the film after marrying vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen, played by actor Robert Pattinson.
After Swan gives birth to the baby, there is a scene near the end of the film where Swan’s trusted friend Rosalie, played by actress Nikki Reed, holds the infant.
That was Ava’s big close-up.
Or at least, as her mother Christina James said, her big profile.
“You can definitely see it’s her in the scene,” James said.
Ava was not just new to the world of big budget Hollywood movies. She was new to the world. Ava was 3 weeks old when the filmmakers shot her scenes as Renesmee Cullen in Baton Rouge in December 2010, James said.
Ava almost did not make it onto the big screen.
Her mother said she initially did not want to apply online for her daughter to become an extra in the film and felt uncomfortable sending in photos of Ava to the casting officials.
However, James’ friend, Jennifer Lemons of Baton Rouge, kept pushing her to apply and send Ava’s pictures to the casting officials.
Lemons works for Active Entertainment LLC at Celtic Media Studio, where the Baton Rouge filming took place, she said.
“I wound up sending Ava’s pictures in just to see if they would even respond,” said James, a 19-year-old freshman at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. The casting agents emailed back the next day saying they wanted to hire Ava, her mother said.
“I was shocked; then I started to get excited,” James said.
Ava was involved in one day of filming in Baton Rouge from noon to 6 p.m., her mother said.
Ava, her mother and great-grandmother, Sandra James, were all on the set that day in December.
Sandra James said the family was treated like royalty.
“Everything was perfect. It was cold at the time of filming but they always had a warm van waiting for Ava if she needed to be taken somewhere,” Sandra James said.
The Ascension Parish women met and briefly talked to the film’s director, Bill Condon. They also met Reed, who held Ava in the film.
“She (Nikki Reed) came into a trailer with us to talk. She was very nice,” Christina James said.
Reed told the women she wanted to spend some time with Ava before shooting the scenes to bond and make sure the actress and the baby were comfortable with each other, Sandra James said.
“I think they bonded right away. She (Reed) looked like she had held babies before and looked very comfortable,” Sandra James said.
Reed told E! Online reporters Ted Casablanca and John Boone in November that the real baby she worked with on the film was ‘great” and “didn’t cry much.”
Reed told E! Online she also had to work with rubber and mechanical babies in some scenes in the film.
Ava was very safe during the entire experience, she was able to sit near her baby at all times and she would love to do it all again, Christina James said.
Ava’s father, Tyler Mayeux, is also proud of his daughter and her accomplishment, James said.
Sandra James said she has thought about the fact that millions of people all over the world have seen Ava.
“It’s kinda cool. This is something she (Ava) is going to be able to tell her children and grandchildren about one day. It’s a great story,” Sandra James said.