I recently had the opportunity recently to speak with two of the recent additions to the Twilight franchise, Kiowa Gordon and Alex Meraz, about their roles in New Moon, how being involved in the franchise has changed their lives, and whether or not they’ve read Stephenie Meyers’s books.
The difference between Alex and Kiowa is an interesting one: while Alex has acted in films and on television since 2005, Kiowa makes his film debut as Embry Call in New Moon. Both actors were extremely excited about the time that they spent working on New Moon, and have developed close ties with many of the other actors from the film. Below you can read the transcript of the conversation I had with Kiowa and Alex.
Paige: So how did you end up with your role as the werewolf Embry Call in New Moon?
Kiowa: Well, there was an open casting call in Phoenix that Stephenie Meyers, the writer of the books, told me about as I was going to church with her.
Paige: Oh, really?
Kiowa: And so I took her up on her telling me to do that and I went in, got an acting coach about an hour before I did the audition, and just… I guess I knocked it out because there was 70,000 people going out for the same role.
Paige: Wow. And you said that you went to church with Stephenie Meyers?
Paige: So is she someone that you’ve known for a while?
Kiowa: I’ve known her for about two years now.
Paige: That’s really cool. I was going to ask if you were aware of the series before you went out for the role, but given that you knew Stephenie Meyers obviously you must’ve been.
Paige: Have you read any of the books, by any chance?
Kiowa: Actually in 2005 I read Twilight and right before I got the role I read New Moon and then after I finished New Moon I read Eclipse, but I haven’t read Breaking Dawn yet. I’m kind of saving that one for me.
Paige: That’s really cool. Other than Stephenie saying, “Hey, maybe you should go audition,” was there anything in particular that attracted you to the role of Embry?
Kiowa: Yeah, well it’s a big role, and there’s wolves, and it’d just be cool to just be in the whole Twilight craziness. [laughs]
Paige: [laughs] Yeah, it definitely seems to be pretty crazy. What was it like when you guys were on set filming?
Kiowa: What was it like?
Kiowa: Uh, it was cold during our filming because we had to be half-naked in cold Vancouver weather, but it was pretty fun because we really got to bond and have fun.
Paige: Obviously you guys are doing a lot of press stuff, but are you keeping in touch with some of the other actors from the film?
Kiowa: Yeah, definitely. We all — we all check in with each other from time to time and whenever we’re together, we’re having fun.
Paige: That’s awesome! So when you were on set, did you get to work with any real wolves — since your character is one of the werewolves and the type of werewolves they have in the film look like real wolves — or is it all computer generated or shot at another location?
Kiowa: Yeah, it’s all computer generated. So, we actually got to see what they were going to do with it on a laptop because their studio — Tippett Studios — is pretty amazing at what they do. They showed us how they were going to do the whole scene where Paul fights Jacob and it looked pretty cool.
Paige: So was it all shot using green screen?
Kiowa: No, it was actually really advanced. We just stood there and imagined that there was a wolf right there in front of us and we’d act.
Paige: Very cool. What has the fan response been like? Have you really been exposed to that?
Kiowa: We’ve been welcomed with open arms from our fans and fans of the book. As soon as we were announced, we were very well loved for some reason [laughs].
Paige: [laughs] Oh, I would imagine so. Does anyone, before all of the promotion starts up, kind of warn you guys that “Hey, this might be a little bit crazy once you start doing all of these things”?
Kiowa: Yeah, the director actually told us that this would kind of change our lives… and uh, the other actors kind of gave a heads-up that the fans would be pretty passionate and not stop loving us. [laughs]
Paige: [laughs] Oh, absolutely.
Kiowa: Hey, it’s been fun talking but I’m going to pass the phone over to Alex now. Thank you!
Paige: Great, thank you very much, we really appreciate it!
[Kiowa Gordon passes the phone to his costar, Alex Meraz, who plays the shapeshifting werewolf Paul in New Moon.]
Paige: So, Alex, how did you end up in your role as Paul in New Moon?
Alex: Um, well, I was actually going out for Sam Uley originally, and I don’t know, I guess I read for it a little more aggressively. When I got the call I was really scared because the call from my manager was that I didn’t get the role of Sam. So to me, I’m like “I lost out on the role,” so I was devastated, I was so crushed ’cause I thought I had such a good audition.
Alex: And then he tells me after, he’s like “You got the role of Paul.” [laughs] I didn’t know who Paul was at the time and I was like, “What? Okay…” I mean, I got a job and I really wanted to do this project so then when I researched I was so happy because I just felt it was a better match for me and I really liked the character of Paul.
Paige: So you had to do research for the role?
Alex: I did, yeah. Um, most all about the Quileute, you know, trying to find out more about them, their creation story, and I wanted to see what theirs really was, not what Stephenie wrote.
Alex: To see if they really were descendants of wolves and things like that. And, um, I researched wolves as well. Mannerisms, their chain of command, how they get things done, you know, like posture, and it was cool. It really helped.
Paige: Had you read the books before you went out for the role of Sam?
Paige: So you just thought it would be cool to be a part of New Moon?
Alex: Well, I definitely didn’t think it was just a neat project. I knew what it was, it’s huge, you know, it’s something that would make a career — anyone’s career — so I treated it with lots of respect. But I didn’t read the books because why would I torture myself, you know?
Alex: Like, to get so invested in reading the books because I auditioned for it. ‘Cause I didn’t approach it from a fan point of view because I’m an actor, it’s a job, you know?
Alex: So I looked at it like, “Alright well, if I get the role, I’ll read the books.” And then luckily I got it and I started reading them.
Paige: So what has the fan response been like for you?
Alex: It’s been great. I mean, everyone’s been really excited and so supportive. I couldn’t ask for anything more or better, you know? So I’m very grateful for that. The fans really have taken to all the new members — all the newest wolf pack members — and I think the greatest response is people saying I look like what they would imagine Paul to be, and I’m really happy about that because, you know, the fans are so intense, I mean they read these books and they’ve already fantasized the way these characters look like.
Alex: So there was, you know, no pressure there that I at least can, um, stack up to whatever they imagined.
Paige: I can imagine. People can be very touchy about characters that way. Now that New Moon is coming out, do you have any other projects that you’re working on?
Alex: Well, we just finished Eclipse about three weeks ago. At this point my first priority is the Twilight franchise , so… I mean, there’s some offers, there’s some other things coming out, but I just have to wait to see after Eclipse comes out.
Paige: Well, I have one more question, if that’s alright?
Alex: Yeah, okay.
Paige: What was it like for you when you were on set filming for New Moon?
Alex: It was really exciting. I mean, I’d always wanted to be on the set where I was doing more than — I was more than an extra, you know what I mean? And like, just to be treated, um… to be treated differently, you know, to just feel like I was a working actor and have my own trailer, and you know, it was a really great experience. I was so, so happy — I was on cloud nine and things were coming to me so fast, like on set. A lot of press, you know, and it was really amazing how overnight being a part of Twilight changes your life.
Paige: Yeah, I can imagine it would be a huge change since the series has such a huge following and the fans are so incredibly passionate about the books and the movies. That’s all I have for the interview and I can let you guys get going, but I want to thank you again, and if you can extend my thanks to Kiowa as well that would be fantastic. We really appreciate both of you taking the time to talk to us and we’re really excited to have the interview on Fandomania!
Alex: Great, very cool. Thank you so much for this opportunity and your time!
Paige: No problem! Thank you!
For more information on New Moon, Twilight and the rest of the franchise, be sure to check out the official web site for New Moon. New Moon opened in theaters on Friday, November 20.