The role of Riley in Twilight was a huge break for you. How did you land that?
I’d been sending taped auditions off to America for quite a while around that time. It’s a bizarre process. yOu put yourself on tape then you send it off into the ether and you don’t know whose desk it lands on or even if anyone watches. So to even hear back is a surprise. I remember [the message] arriving and I thought, Oh wow. This is one of those movies where everyone’s got the lunch-box, and the pillow case and it’s advertised on the back of buses. I was sure it was never going to happen, but I thought Why not? I found out it had come down to me and three other guys.
Any idea who they were?
I don’t actually. But i flew myself to Vancouver to meet David Slade the director. He was very kind and had a lot of interesting things to say about the character.
Can you talk a bit about the character, for those not as familiar as some with the Twilight world?
He operates as kind of the bad guy in the film, although I think he’s a little more complicated than that. When you first meet him, he’s got the world at his feet. He’s a budding university student with a bright future. Then he gets attacked by a mysterious vampire, who turns out to be Victoria, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character - she’s amazing by the way, so talented. I felt as if there was something Blade Runner-esque about him, as if he’d had his humanity snatched away from him and that’s where the remorse and his genuine hatred for humanity came from - the fact that he isn’t human any more. There’s also this kind of Macbeth/Lady Macbeth relationship with him and Victoria, where she has him under her spell and he has to do her bidding. It seemed to me the deeper you dug, there was a well of stuff there. Even though it’s a commercial film and it’s more about the love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob, I thought it was important to investigate [Riley] and come up with something more than your typical sneering bad guy.
How do you feel about the fan aspect of Twilight?
I feel alright about it.
Would you ever want the level of fame and adoration it’s brought Robert Pattinson?
I think that kind of adoration is a grotesque thing to yearn for, because it’s not about you. It’s about something else entirely. I’m trying to think of an example of where that adoration is genuine. I have no idea where it comes from. I feel a little bit removed from it actually. Obviously I’m not under the microscope like those other guys are.
Right. It hasn’t been too invasive so far. I look at it and go, Okay, people are excited about the film, they like the story. That level of enthusiasm is a powerful thing.
Read the Full interview with Empire here