Friday, October 12, 2012

New Face Friday: Erik Odom talks 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2'

Twilight Examiner got to interview Erik Odom, who portrays Peter the nomad in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 for this week’s New Face Friday.
Enjoy this exclusive new interview with Odom, along with this never-before-seen character art and quote from the film!

Peter, the vampire who was spared by his best friend Jasper Hale during the vicious Southern Wars, wanders the continent with his mate Charlotte and descends upon Forks, Washington in the Cullen family’s time of need.
In Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Bella notes, “The nomads Rosalie and Emmett sent were even more unpredictable -- especially Peter, who had fought alongside Jasper as a newborn.”

Erik Odom has quickly become a Twilight fan favorite and uses his Twitter and Facebook pages to communicate with fans on a regular basis.
You’ll see him next in Rogue Machine Theater's A Bright New Boise, which kicks off next weekend in Los Angeles!

Q: When you walked into Comic-Con [at the end of the Breaking Dawn – Part 2 cast panel], you got some of the biggest shouts out of all the newcomers. How did that feel?
Erik: It was unbelievable. The only thing I could say it compared to was the Part 1 premiere when I walked down the red carpet. It’s just, you try to prepare yourself for it as much as you can, you know maybe the response will be big but maybe it won’t, you try to be ready for everything … but when it hits you, your knees buckle. I mean my knees buckled. It’s one of the craziest, craziest things. But the fanbase has always been so enthusiastic, so passionate. And I think part of it has always been a combination of people loving the character Peter and just also being on Twitter and being on Facebook and having fans reach out, just trying to interact as much as possible and including the fans as much as you can, you know. Because the fans are what make the fandom what it is.

Q: People love Peter, but they also love Peter with Charlotte. Their relationship’s really special, and I know that that’s something we hope to see on-screen, and I was wondering how far in advance did you meet Valorie [Curry], and you know make it into a rhythm with her and feel like you could portray that on-screen?
Erik: What was great about Valorie, even more so than a lot of the other vampires who I met once we went to Louisiana together, I actually – I didn’t know her personally, but we had a lot of mutual friends in Los Angeles – so through the small world of Facebook, we were able to link up after the whole casting announcement came up, and we actually grabbed lunch before we even started filming, before we left. So, we went to a place in L.A., sat down for about two hours, and after the initial twenty minutes of ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m a part of this; Oh my God I can’t believe I’m a part of this!’ After twenty minutes of us geeking out together about how cool it was, we really dug in and talked about Peter and Charlotte’s relationship and their relationship to the other vampires. You know, because the covens are such an interesting thing, they call the nomads a coven but really it’s Peter and Charlotte versus the world. You know, so we talked about really diving into the relationship, back to Maria [in Eclipse] and back to the newborn army and their relationship with Alice and Jasper, and it was just nice that by the time we got to Louisiana together, we already had the seeds of this relationship planted, you know? It was really nice. I love Valorie. 

Q: How much of that backstory do you think will make it onto the film?
Erik: That’s tough because there’s … we shot a lot of stuff, and you just don’t know how much will make it into the movie because there’s so many vampires that are in there. So, you take what you can from the script, and you take what you can from Stephenie [Meyer]’s universe and what’s in the book, and you try to fill up your piece and your moments on-screen as much as you can. So, I’m not sure exactly how much’ll actually end up in the film, but Val and I really worked to get across as much as we could in the limited time that we had.

Q: Did you get to talk to Stephenie about the backstory of Peter too?
Erik: Yeah, well what’s great is Stephenie’s a producer on the film, so she was on set every day, and she was insanely busy so I picked my spots with her. There were a couple of times, you know, especially at the beginning where if I saw an opportunity to go over and have a word with her just shortly I would. We would talk a little bit about it, just to fill in the blanks, because Peter he’s a big character in the book … So, it’s just kind of trying to fill in those blanks and also I had read Midnight Sun before we started filming and wanted to connect Midnight Sun over to the main four books and create this cohesive character, you know, that is linked together and is consistent with what she intended when she wrote Peter. 

Q: Do you think you felt more pressure for getting Peter right for the fans because he is such a popular character than some of the other castmembers that might not have a character that is so well-loved? There’s so much fanfiction for Peter and Charlotte. The fanbase is so big for Peter and Charlotte.
Erik: Yeah, well I think it’s an interesting thing. I don’t know that ‘pressure’ is necessarily the right word, because pressure has somewhat of a negative connotation to it. I think more of a responsibility to the fans because of the expectations that they have for the character. And responsibility is more like opportunity, so you embrace it and really, you do your due diligence, you do your character work, you try to integrate parts of yourself and make it your own, and hopefully you make something that is true to what the fans want. So, there was a lot of going back through and just making sure that all the research was there. And then also, a big thing for me and what I found most interesting about the character was his relationship to Jasper, which is such a big thing, so going back over and watching the films over again and watching what Jackson [Rathbone] did with the character. You know, the thing about Jasper is he had the military thing, you know, very proper posture and always shoulders pulled back, very official, and what’s interesting is knowing he and Peter were best friends and then they split off when Peter and Charlotte got away … so what I thought about was what has Peter gone through since they split. You know, he was Jasper’s right hand man, and then once he went off on his own what did living off the land and being a nomad, how did that change him? So, I wanted to try and find ways to make him connected to Jasper while also showing the change that has occurred since they’ve been apart from each other. So, it was a fun thing to explore, I hope it resonates with the fans. I hope they’re able to pick up on what I was trying to do there. I think it is interesting with the character.

Q: Do you know how soon we’re going to get a good close-up image of Peter and Charlotte?
Erik: I don’t. I’m waiting as much as you guys are. I’m dying to see us, but I’m not sure. 

Q: There was that long shot from the trailer …
Erik: Yeah, there’s a long shot where you can pick out my belt buckle a little bit more than you can pick out the rest of my costume but I’m there! So, hopefully something’ll come through before too long, but I think they’re working on it. I think we’ll see it before too long.

Q: When you found out you were cast in this – I know you had known Jack Morrissey, so you had a relationship with Bill Condon – but aside from him, who were you most excited to get to work with in this film?
Erik: Oh, there’s a lot of them for a lot of different reasons. For one, I’m a huge fan of Kristen [Stewart]’s. I think Kristen is just a really great performer. Michael Sheen’s another one. There were little moments here and there with Michael where it was just fun to watch him work, you know? And really just watching these actors at the top of their game just going back and forth and sparring with each other during these scenes really going for it. There are a lot of them. I’d say Kristen, Michael, Noel Fisher’s another guy who I was a big fan of before we started filming, and he’s really great. And then to be completely honest, I’ve probably been crushing on Ashley Greene since day one, so that was … it was nice to work with her too, she’s a sweetheart. 

Q: You’re from the south, and you’re playing Peter who’s southern … will he have any kind of accent?
Erik: Well, I have my normal accent … What’s nice about Peter is there are so many parallel things with me. You know, I’m a southern boy – I’m from Virginia – and I moved around a lot as a kid, I’m a nomad. There’s a lot of things that connect with him … Whether it’s wardrobe or the way he carries himself, it’s all very southern. I think it’ll definitely come across. There’s some really nice touches that Michael Wilkinson the costume designer put on us that I think fans are really going to like it. I know I did. I had a freak-out moment the first time I saw myself all decked out. 

Q: What kinds of stuff are you auditioning for now? I mean, a lot of fans are like putting you out there for Finnick [in Catching Fire] or these leads in these other YA series; what kind of stuff are you going for at the moment?
Erik: What’s great about being a part of the [Twilight] universe is that it really is like a family. The Twilight family really embraces you and they do, they throw your name in the hat for all sorts of stuff, and I was a huge fan of The Hunger Games … So, I was really flattered for the fans to mention me in the same league as these other actors that were up for Finnick. But it’s just been auditioning for a lot of different things. You know, I’m also working on something that I’m helping to create. There’s a movie I can’t say too much about but hopefully we’re going to shoot next summer. It’s a fun little project that has some interesting Twilight connections as far as the people that are working on it, and that’s pretty much all I can say now, but it’s going to be really exciting. But yeah it’s just going out there and continuing to audition and build relationships and keep working.

Q: What’s been the biggest surprise or the biggest eye-opening moment for you on this journey, in all the interactions you’ve had – from the premiere to Comic-Con – what really stood out to you the most?
Erik: What’s been probably the biggest thing to me is going to these events - and you know whether it’s the premiere or whether it’s Comic-Con, or whether it’s a party here or a party there related to Twilight - is you see the same fans. You see the real, real hardcore fans. You see them over and over again at these events, and it’s so many people that you think, there’s no way that you’re going to remember these people by name or remember your relationship with them, but I’ve made so many relationships with these fans that you know I come to these events now and I know them on a first-name basis, I’m asking them how their kids are doing, ya know? It’s a really funny thing to be able to develop these personal relationships in the middle of this humongous thing. 

Q: Do you think Twitter plays a big part in that too?
Erik: Twitter definitely does. There’s a really big community on there and I try to be as active as I can, just because I understand what it’s like to be such a huge fan of something and so passionate about something, and I think it goes back to that responsibility thing of knowing it's bigger than just Twilight. It’s a community of these people who are so passionate about the same thing, and I think that’s so great. I want to encourage that as much as possible, so for me if that means jumping on and talking to all the fans and building relationships with them, it’s as much if not more fun for me to get to meet people so excited about something. You see a lot of cynicism and people really getting negative towards Twilight and the fans and everything, and I just don’t get it! Everybody should be this passionate about something. You know, so for this fandom it happens to be Twilight, and I think it’s great.

Q: You said that you know what it’s like to be a big fan of something; what is that thing that you love?
Erik: Oh, I’m a huge basketball fan. And I apologize to all of my Twitter followers, I’m a huge basketball fan and I’m a huge college football fan, and I know it doesn’t necessarily run right alongside Twilight, so I have a lot of followers who are huge Twilight fans and during football season and basketball season I kill ‘em with my basketball and football tweets … I’m not playing to the right audience with that at all! Except for you Amanda!
Amanda: I was about to say, you know better.
Patty: I’m from Kentucky, so you can tweet about Kentucky all you want.
Erik: There ya go. Kentucky, yeah! I know the Wildcats. I don’t know the University of Kentucky … I used to live in Kentucky, when I was ten I used to live right there in Fort Campbell, Kentucky right on the border by Clarksville, Tennessee. That’s a big part of where my accent came from, actually. Gave me a big accent during my formative years there!

Q: What’s your dream project?
Erik: Oh… I don’t even know that’s such a hard question … What is so lucky - and this is such a cornball answer, but it’s really true – is I have a group of directors that are on the bucket list, and there’s a bunch of them … but one of the guys that is near the top of that list is Bill. So, I don’t know, I’m still kind of riding off this high of oh my God, this is the first major film … and this is a major, major, major film … that I've ever worked on. This is my first huge feature, and the fact that it's with Bill Condon, the fact that I can cross that name off my list of directors, and that’s the first one that I’m really crossing off, it’s pretty incredible.

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