Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kellan Lutz in YRB Magazine

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Twilight star Kellan Lutz has enough sex appeal to sustain him in Hollywood for a while, but it’s his true talents that light up the screen and give him goals that far surpass the vampire saga. 

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed and bulky-biceped Kellan Lutz is loving life right now as a member of one of the hottest Hollywood casts to ever hit the big screen. The 25-year-old actor/model was an instant hit with the Twilight series fans, making an impact even with the small number of lines and quick glimpses of his character, Emmett Cullen, that were seen in the first couple movies. But all the pasty white vampire makeup in the world couldn’t hide the real talent Lutz possesses, though he claims this is never a position he looked to be in. 

“Modeling and acting is one of the biggest blessings that has ever entered my life,” Lutz says. “I really fell into modeling when I was in high school when a buddy of mine was photographed for Dillard’s and he was in the local newspaper and we made fun of him. And then his comeback was, ‘I made $500 for that photo shoot.’ To us kids in high school in Arizona that’s a lot of money so I asked how he got involved and he walked me through the steps of getting an agent. So I started modeling. And I liked it. I really liked being in front of the camera. It was this new world that I never really knew existed.” 

Once Lutz figured out he had a good thing going, he was able to capitalize on the opportunity even further A but not without experiencing some resistance from his family first. He explains it as his parents having “a fear of the unknown,” as parents are typically known for when the idea of a college degree has the potential to get thrown out the window. But he went for it and rationalizes, “It was never a dream for me, which is kind of helpful because it’s not a limitation. I don’t have a ceiling saying, ‘Oh, I haven’t made it yet, I’m a failure’ – because everything I do, it’s like, this is awesome! I was on my own for a little bit and there were hard times, but then my parents saw that I wasn’t getting into dirtiness or, to be honest, pornography. I think that was the biggest fear And I didn’t want a plan B because if you have a plan B than that means you’re allowing plan A to potentially fail.” 

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   After moving to Los Angeles to go to college at Chapman University he found himself with a major coveted modeling gig as the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue cover boy. It was soon after that the burgeoning star had one of those moments when all it took was for someone to say something inspiring to get the next phase of his career in motion. 

“I didn’t know you could just act like I did with modeling,” Lutz admits. “Someone at the local Ralph’s, the checkout lady Maria – I remember her name – asked me if I was an actor and I’m like, ‘No.’ She was like, ‘Why not,’ and I’m like, ‘Uh, I don’t know’ So my eyes, for the second time, opened even wider to the world of the industry. And I just fell into it, fell in love with it, found a passion and really just grasped it. It’s the coolest hobby in my life right now.” 

Don’t mistake Lutz’s use of the word “hobby” to mean he doesn’t take acting seriously. He definitely recognizes that he has made goals regarding his career but has decided it’s “not the end of the world if I don’t get something because I’m like, look, I wouldn’t have been here. What would my life have been? I would have been a Navy SEAL or a chemical engineer.” Once you become one of the biggest “it” actors around it would be easy to take a break and enjoy all the newfound fame and money, parties and groupies, but that seems to be the furthest from Lutz’s mind as he continuously travels from movie set to movie set. 

Although he can be seen pre-Twilight in the films Accepted, Deep Winter and Prom Night and TV shows The Comeback and Generation Kill, 2010 really became the young actor’s year when his vampire character became more prominent in the third installment of the Twilight series, Eclipse, nabbing additional roles in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and the upcoming police drama Meskada. And the notoriety will only continue to grow into next year as he pops up on the silver screen in lead roles in Love, Wedding, Marriage (opposite Mandy Moore), The Killing Game (co-starring Samuel L. Jackson) and Immortals (with Mickey Rourke and Freida Pinto), as well as returns in the fourth chapter of Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 1. 

Touching a little on each of his forthcoming roles, Lutz reveals, “Love, Wedding, Marriage [is] an awesome romantic comedy about the trials and tribulations of a newlywed couple. Mandy Moore plays a marriage counselor and her parents want to get a divorce, so she feels like a failure if she can’t even keep her own parents together, which then jeopardizes my sexual life with my wife. So you get to see a lot of what guys go through and [it’s like], baby, let’s have sex! While I was doing that in New Orleans I was doing another movie at the same time in Baton Rouge called The Killing Game. It’s kind of a new look on the Gladiator, kind of a journey. So Sam [Jackson] plays the new age Caesar in a way, and he kind of controls this underground hidden fight club arena-style death match. I get kidnapped and thrown into this place and I have to fight to the death, so it was a great place for myself to really jump into the action realm that I really wanted to do. The third movie I did was Immortals up in Montreal, and I play Poisedon. It’s kinda like a Greek, larger than life iconic movie. That’s coming out next year around the same time as Breaking Dawn – Part 1 so it’s gonna be a really great November.” 

Even though there’s no hesitation when he declares that Emmett Cullen is the closest character he’s played to the real life Kellan Lutz, the actor admits that his most noted role to date almost didn’t happen. Back when he was filming HBO’s Generation Kill in Africa, Lutz had the Twilight script thrown his way for consideration of the lead, Edward Cullen. Not feeling he was in the right mindset at the time to play another depressing role so soon, and being unfamiliar with the book series that preceded the films, there was no problem turning down the auditions. But a persistent agent and a quick look into Emmett’s personality and Lutz felt the connection.

“It’s one of those things where I look at Emmett and I see me. I just see this jovial person, and he can be the protector, and I was with my family growing up. I have a lot of brothers, so you gotta stand up for your family. But, then again, I don’t let a lot of stuff faze me; I don’t like being stressed out in life I don’t think I would have played a great Edward. I think what Rob [Pattinson] does with it is mind-blowing. They need someone like Rob to really give Edward so many layers without doing much. And I love my character to death. I would never want to give up Emmett – it doesn’t matter how many lines, it doesn’t matter if I’m number one on the call sheet – I love him to death, and I’d play him for 10 more movies.”

Unfortunately for all the diehard Twilight fans – and we know there’s a multitude of them – there won’t be 10 more movies. Even with the success of the books, it was hard for the cast of the adapted films to know where they would come out in all this. “I don’t think any of us knew [how big this would be],” Lutz acknowledges. “We all kind of crossed our fingers and hoped for the best because everyone wants to be a part of a franchise.” It would be hard to get any better reaction than what they’ve received, and, for this vampire at least, the fanatical fans are nothing to shy away from. 

““I love the fans A the more the merrier, the crazier the better. I really embrace it; I’m a people person, I’m very much an extrovert. There have been some crazy times, like fans didn’t think I was real and wanted to tackle me or they brought handcuffs and wanted to take me home, [but] it’s all out of love. There’s always a fun group of Twimoms or Twihards, especially around the world who really teach me new things, and I get to see new personalities. It’s great.” 

As the saga nears closer to the end, Lutz says “it hasn’t set in yet.” But he does know that moving forward he would like to see more action roles in his future. “At this point in my career I love action movies, and I really want to become a household name American action star. I really think the industry is lacking in American action heroes, especially this new generation. I think Matt Damon really capitalized on that and I would love to be the new generation action star.” It’s no secret that this is one pretty boy that doesn’t mind getting dirty or playing the daredevil. When he gets a spare moment away from all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Lutz prefers to be outside and taking part in some kind of action adventure sport. And when confined to a set, you can most likely find him doing his own stunts. Generation Kill was one of his first projects and he still considers that as being his favorite set “by far,” getting excited when he recalls: “I mean, just 39 guys running around in Africa. It’s like every kid’s dream to shoot guns and blow Humvees up. We were kids with cannons. It was a dream come true and we got into a lot of trouble.” 

That seems to be the only trouble Lutz has found himself in since matriculating into this tricky world of perks simultaneously combined with nuisances just a few short years ago. Since his rise to fame he’s had to figure out who his real friends are and deal with the paparazzi, but it’s all taken in stride. And where a lot of models-turned-actors are afraid to admit how it all began for them, Lutz instead chooses to embrace it and even go back to it from time to time. Chosen earlier this year to be one of four faces for the new Calvin Klein “X” underwear campaign, the actor ditched the pale vampire paint to show off his taut, tanned bod and represent the staple designer brand. 

“Acting has given me a name so it’s nice to go back into the world of print, which is still photography, which is selling a product frame by frame. It’s really bizarre that A and I’ve encountered this on a couple of different occasions A the world presumes that models are stupid. The world presumes that models are just pretty people. The truth is, modeling is also a career. Modeling is also a tough job, everything that goes into it, just like acting. It’s not all stars and confetti; it’s not all glamorous.” 

The Hollywood hunk has plenty of devotees around the world to let him know that there’s no reason to be ashamed of his modeling roots, although he has no problem taking his shirt off for the cameras anyways. Lutz can often be seen bare-chested, even outside of the much-publicized Calvin Klein campaign. “You know, I’ve been blessed with genetics and I do like working out, and by no means am I the rippest guy out there. Brad Pitt is still ripper than me and he’s 40-something now,” Lutz laughs. “But it’s definitely an honor; it’s definitely nice to know that I could take my shirt off and have people go see a movie for that scene.”

But it’s not all jokes and self-promotion for Lutz, by any means. He can also be seen in recent PETA ads with his own dog, a cause that hits close to home, along with his other humanitarian efforts that include the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans and the Royal Family Kids Camp. In between filming scenes it wouldn’t be hard to find him in one of these places hammin’ it up with the common folk all for the purpose of benefiting a cause. And this is what he would choose to be remembered for over all the vampire roles in the world. 

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