The actor who plays Wolf Pack member Quil Ateara discusses the new installment of the popular series
Starting tomorrow, Wednesday June 30th, the wait will be over for Twilight fans as one of the most anticipated films of this summer, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the follow up to last year's extremely successful The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and the third film in the phenomenally popular Twilight film series will finally be released.
Based on the fan-favorite novels by author Stephanie Meyer, New Moon scored the third best opening weekend of all-time right behind The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3, respectively, with $142 million and went on to gross around $700 million worldwide. Actor Tyson Houseman plays Wolf Pack member, and best friend to Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), Quil Ateara in the new film. While Houseman's character did not appear in the first film, he did appear in New Moon. Now he will be transforming into a werewolf for the first time in Eclipse and will also see his role expand in other ways as well. We recently had a chance to speak with Tyson Houseman about the new film, his role, how he got it and what fans can expect from this latest chapter of the franchise. Here is what the young actor had to say:
For starters, in "Eclipse" your character will be changing into a wolf for the first time, what was that experience like for you? Was that something you had been looking forward to since "New Moon" and have you seen how the effect looks on screen yet?
Tyson Houseman: It's true yeah. Well they actually did show me what my specific werewolf looks like in full CG wolf form and it was really cool. It looked really cool and I'm excited to see it on the big screen. It really helped seeing the images of the wolf because it gave me an idea of what I was really working with because before that I didn't really have anything to work off of. I knew I was a werewolf but what does that really mean? So to have the imagery to help define it really helped out. It looked way cooler than the one I had in my mind.
Your character gets to "imprint" for the first time in this film, can you tell us about that scene and what it was like to shoot?
Tyson Houseman: Yeah that's a pretty important part for my character. I've actually gotten made fun of so much because my character imprints on a two-year old. At first it seems a little bit creepy but in the film they actually do a really good job of explaining the whole idea that it's like you don't have a choice and it's like love at first sight. It doesn't have to be a romantic thing if there's like an age gap or something like that. So I think the way they explain it in the film they really do it justice. They really tell it really well.
You have a different director in "Eclipse" than you did in "New Moon" so could you talk about the differences between working with Chris Weitz and David Slade? How did the cast adapt to working with a new director and what kind of fresh perspective was Slade able to bring to this film?
Tyson Houseman: Well it was really nice to have the opportunity to have two different directors on my first big film that I've ever worked on. That was a great way to jump in to the whole idea of working on films and stuff like that. Working with Chris Weitz, he was a lot of fun and he is an extremely nice guy. He would always find away to make a joke on set and make me feel really comfortable. Even though maybe I did something wrong, I never felt too bad because he made me comfortable and let me know that I could get it right. Chris will just ease you into it and you'll find the way to hit the line or the right take just through that comfort zone.
David Slade was a really smart director and he was very practical. He paid attention to the very, very tiny details. It was nice because I would be saying a line a thousand times and to me it would sound the same but he would be like, "No, no try it again differently just the slightest bit." He was just able to talk about ideas behind different things and it really helped getting it across, you know? Eclipse is definitely the darkest of all the books in the series, and my favorite book too, so I think David Slade is the perfect guy for the story. There is a whole war scene that happens and it just seems like it's going to be his forte so I'm really excited to see how the final film turns out.
Can you tell us anything bout the war scene?
Tyson Houseman: Well I didn't get to do any filming for that personally because all of that was when we are in wolf form and all the wolves are completely CGI.
What can you tell us about the re-shoots that took place in April? Were they extensive, do you know which scenes were re-shot or added and were you involved with any of them?
Tyson Houseman: I really don't know at all. I found out about the re-shoots through my Mom. She called me one day and said, " Oh my God, they are doing re-shoots, are you involved?" I was like, "I have no idea?" My Mom is on top of all the Twilight news for me. I find out all the things I need to know through mom. She checks the Internet way more than I do.
Do you follow any of the "Twilight" fan-sites on the Internet?
Tyson Houseman: Not really. I've tried to avoid that a little bit. I remember when the first pictures of us came out on the Internet, of all of us wolf guys, I went and took a look at one of these sites just to see what it was like. I was reading all these comments that said things like, "Oh, this guy's not right for the character at all." Or, "This guy doesn't look good at all" and it was just like a lot of insulting stuff. There was some good stuff but there was a lot of stuff that kind of hurt. I just try to avoid looking at the Internet stuff now.
What can you tell us about the Wolf Pack and what their role is in this film?
Tyson Houseman: Well for this one the Wolf Pack is really trying to define their ground and where they stand in the film because the vampires are their complete sworn enemies. Jacob the leader of the Wolf Pack is obviously in love with Bella and that is a huge problem for them because she is involved with the vampires. Then there is a lot of crossing going on and they don't really know where to draw the line, where the fine line is or where they should be standing. So it kind of gets pushed to the limit at the end when the whole area that they are protecting kind of gets threatened. Then there is an opportunity where they might have to work with the vampires so it's a territory struggle for the werewolves.
What can you tell us about your character Quil Ateara?
Tyson Houseman: He is a bit of a jokester even in the most tense of situations he can probably still fine something funny or rude to say about someone. But he livens up the scenes that way. He's always there for a punch line.
Were you able to relate to the character in anyway, was there any element of your self that you injected into your role or was that all in the script?
Tyson Houseman: I brought a little personality to it but it was really nice kind of jumping into this character because there were so many similarities already. We're similar in age and we both have a Native American background, which really helps because I can relate a lot of things from my own life to this character. So I was really, really proud that they cast Native Americans for these Wolf Pack roles. Something that wasn't really even in the script but became source material for myself was using an experience I actually had in my own life. I could just throw that right in there and it would fit perfectly with the character still. It would be another way of me being comfortable with the lines and comfortable with the character.
Quil is the cousin of Jacob and also his close friend, do you have a good working relationship with Taylor Lautner and what is it like acting with him?
Tyson Houseman: Oh he's a really, really nice guy. From the second you meet him he's just your best friend. He'll act really nice to you and he talks to you like he's known you his whole life. I remember when we were doing New Moon I had to do this wrestling scene where I'm wrestling with Taylor as Jacob. Every time I would do the scene, because I was a smaller guy back then and Taylor was huge, he was absolutely ripped, so we would do the scene and I would be trying to get really in there and make it really realistic. But he had this really long wig on that went down to his waste and every time I would try and get him in a headlock or something like that they would stop and the director would walk over and say, "You're accidentally pulling his wig off, you can't go near the hair." So I had to find a way to wrestle him and stay near his feet and it was really awkward. But Taylor was great and really helped me out with the wrestling techniques and stuff like that so it was fun.
You went through a lot of physical training for these films as well, correct?
Tyson Houseman: Yeah they put all of us Wolf Pack guys in workout training for two months prior to each film. It was really tough stuff but it was a good bonding experience for all of us. Before I had done any of this Twilight stuff I wasn't good at a single sport I had never played a sport in my life and I was a really tiny guy but I think I've added like twenty or thirty pounds of muscle now.
The audition for "New Moon" was your first film audition ever and you of course got the role, can you talk about that process and how you were feeling when you were told you got the part?
Tyson Houseman: It was really, really crazy stuff. It wasn't actually like a real audition. It was just an open casting call that I had heard about on the Internet. I just found this thing that said that it was for a major motion picture, it didn't even say that it was for Twilight. It just said that they were looking for Native Americans between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five and I was like, well I fit that description so I'll go check this out. I just went down there and when I got there, there was a line like five blocks long of all Twilight fans. That's when I clued in that this was for Twilight. So I did the audition and then I got a callback, then a week later they called me and said that I got the part.
Were you surprised that it was actually that easy?
Tyson Houseman: I was definitely really surprised. I mean from all the other actors that I've talked to in Vancouver and stuff I know that that is not the way that it is really supposed to work. I'm really thankful, though and I feel really, really lucky.
How aware were you of "Twilight" and it's fan-base before you auditioned for "New Moon?"
Tyson Houseman: I wasn't really that aware of it at all. I had heard of the film but I had no idea that it had this huge fan following. I hadn't read the books and I didn't know anything about it. After I did the audition I went out and got all the books, watched the movie and read them all in like a week.
When you read the books, was there anything that happens to your character or that he gets to do that you were really looking forward to portraying in these films?
Tyson Houseman: Personally, I was really excited to do all of the werewolves stuff. I assumed that even if they were CGI wolves that we would still get to wear some kind of crazy CG computer suits, run around on al fours and do lots of crazy fight things but we didn't get to do any of that and I was really disappointed. It was all stunt people I guess.
Then there are a couple of scenes with the two-year old Claire, the character my character imprints on, just playing on a beach. So I assumed we were going to do something like that and I was like, "Oh, I guess I'll be playing with a baby, this should be fun and an easy day at work." I remember talking to Chris Weitz about it and he said that they were having a meeting and that they were talking about the scenes in the script. They were trying to come up with a way to make it not look creepy having a muscular, half naked dude hanging out with a baby. There was no way at all that they could do it, it would just be creepy so they cut it.
Fnally, what can fans of the "Twilight" franchise expect from "Eclipse?"
Tyson Houseman: Well I think it is definitely more of a guy friendly film. The one thing that the fans can really look forward to is some really stunning action sequences. I'm really excited to see how the choreography goes and stuff like that.