Exclusive: MSN Movies Twilight Blog Interviews Daniel Cudmore
From 'X-Men' to 'Twilight' and the big beyond
I had the pleasure of chatting once again with the ever-congenial Daniel Cudmore, better known in the 'Twilight' world as Felix, one of the non-vegetarian vampires from the powerful Volturi coven.
The Vancouver, B.C., native first hit the screen as Piotr Rasputin/Colossus in 'X2' (2003), but has since built up a decent body of work. He returned as Colossus in 'X-Men: The Last Stand' (2006), and then joined the 'The Twilight Saga' beginning with 'New Moon' (2009), then 'Eclipse' (2010), and is set to star in both parts 1 and 2 of 'Breaking Dawn' (2011 and 2012).
Cudmore has two upcoming films where he portrays mere mortals. 'Rites of Passage' (2011), a thriller which co-stars Wes Bentley, Christian Slater, and Stephen Dorff; and the action-comedy 'The Baytown Disco' (2012) with Paul Wesley, Eva Longoria, and Billy Bob Thornton.
Seeing more and more of Cudmore on the big screen won't be a bad thing.
Q: A lot has changed for you in these two years.
DANIEL CUDMORE: I know, it's been good.
Q: Really good. You are doing all this other work…really exciting stuff.
DC: Yeah, I'm trying to. I'm trying to branch out as much as possible.
Q: Would you say your role as Felix in the ‘Twilight’ series has really opened these doors?
DC: I think so. I think it's, again obviously with this industry you still have to prove yourself with every job. But I do believe that it has actually helped me get into doors just with the huge hype and how excited everyone is for the films. It definitely has helped me get a foot in the door and prove I can actually do these jobs and these characters.
Q: You've got two new films coming out: ‘Rites of Passage’ and ‘The Baytown Disco.’ Very different films. So it sounds like you're not getting typecast…
DC: No, that's one of the things that I've made sure of I haven't gotten. Because there's sort of two sides of typecasting. There's one is that you're working, which is always a good thing. But two, it just sort of seems like it can get kind of boring and stifling for me and for an actor if you're doing the same thing over and over again and not really challenging yourself.
Q: How do you keep yourself from getting typecast? Are you only reading certain scripts, certain roles?
DC: Just anything that's starting to come down my way I'm getting more selective about. I've got a great group behind me with my agent and my manager who are also…they see the same things that I do and want me to move in that direction of trying out everything and then really trying to push myself in every direction. So yeah, it's obviously more selective. It's kind of a weird place to be, whereas back in the day when you first start out, you're pretty much just wanting to take anything on. I'm starting to get to the place where I'm actually turning down auditions and I'm turning down certain things, which is a weird place because that feeling like, “oh God I don't know when my next job's gonna be, so just take everything in front of me.” But it's worked out so far. It's starting to really pay off, to really be selective.
Q: It must be a really nice rewarding feeling, getting to choose what you want.
DC: Exactly. Yeah, it's a strange place. It's that rewarding thing, and then at the same time you're kind of going, oh maybe I should've just taken that job, maybe I [LAUGHTER] should've just taken this thing and then something will come up. It's great.
Q: Are you getting recognized on the street a lot now?
DC: Not too bad. I seem to be able to just sort of sink and slide under the radar, which is nice. I don't know. We'll see. The more work I do and the more I put myself out there publicity-wise, it's gonna be less and less chances of me being able to just walk around without being noticed. But as of right now it's been great. People think I'm some kind of athlete or something.
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Q: So ‘Rites of Passage’ with Wes Bentley, Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff...can you tell me a little bit more about the movie?
DC: Yeah. Well it came about last year around this time. Peter Iliff, the director who did ‘Friday Night Lights’ and other great films, he approached me with this script. And I just thought it'd be a really fun movie to work on. I play this character named Moose, who's sort of all these kids are in this over privileged university where everyone has large amounts of money and they don't really appreciate it. And they go up on this weekend to sort of hark back on old rituals and sort of get more of an understanding of the history of certain things. And not realizing that his brother and another character played by Christian Slater are actually living at this ranch.
So they go away for what they think is gonna be this big party weekend. And it just sort of turns out completely differently and gets a little dark. So it's just this fun script that we shot down in Santa Barbara. And I got to play this kind of goofy character named Moose, who's a water polo player and a bit of a jock and doesn't really fare so well. But yeah, it was just a blast to work on.
Q: How was that set different from the ‘Twilight’ sets and the ‘X-Men’ set?
DC: [LAUGHTER] The big thing is it's a lower budget film. You don't have these massive huge sets everywhere and a huge amount of cast. It was a small intimate cast, small crew. Really fast shooting schedule when you compare it to all the other films I've worked on. But it was nice to work on something like that where it was this tight knit family. And you're on there pretty much every day, which is great. So it really feels like a family. So it's always a nice change of pace when it comes to those giant budget films.
Q: Yeah, that would be kind of a nice change, kind of a small…the intimacy is probably different. And I'm assuming you probably didn't have to sit through a couple hours of makeup to transform.
DC: Yeah. Totally. I barely [LAUGHTER] had to put any makeup on, which was great.
Q: “Provide your own wardrobe, everyone,” right?
DC: Yeah. So it was sort of like that. It's fun. It's a nice change. And you really get down to just working with your fellow actors because on those big budget films there's so much set up time and there's so much going on that you only get a chance to go in and work with each actor very quickly. Whereas compared on these things, you're sitting around and you're just working all day long with these people. So it's kind of fun to really get a chance to feel that a little more.
Q: So now this next one, ‘Baytown Disco.’ I love the poster; “A Southern Whup-ass Extravaganza.” Can you tell me about that movie and filming it?
DC: It's pretty cool. That was presented to me…came through my managers a couple times actually. And at first I was down in Louisiana working on the two ‘Twilight’ films. And I read through the script and I thought it was great. But there was nothing really going on with it at the time. And then it came back to me and all of a sudden…Eva Longoria and Billy Bob Thornton are attached. And I'm kind of like, oh wow, I literally was gonna be going in a month. And I read through it again. And it's this great story about these three brothers who happen to be rednecks who live down south in Alabama, who don't have much going for them, work for this crooked cop underneath who's sort of a surrogate father in a way.
And they just take a job from Eva Longoria's character thinking it's just gonna be this easy snatch and grab. And they don't realize that her ex-husband is this badass drug dealer. And sort of all this action and stuff happen and ensue. And it's a story of the brothers kind of redeeming themselves and getting this kid back to her godmother.
Q: It sounds kind of more like a thriller than a comedy.
DC: It is, but it's just sort of a situational comedy in a way in a lot of the stuff. And that's kind of that down South comedy with [LAUGHTER] action kicked in. Yeah, it's one that I'm really, really excited to see how it came out. The director Barry Battles is the young guy, up and coming. And he wrote it with this friend Griffin Hood. So I don't know. Even the rough edit that we saw at the wrap party, it looked really badass. So I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it comes out really soon.
Q: It's an interesting cast 'cause you've got Billy Bob Thornton, who's got really an eclectic body of work. And then Paul Wesley and Eva Longoria, who are mostly known from TV, from ‘Vampire Diaries’ and ‘Desperate Housewives.’ So yeah, you guys had an interesting crew there.
DC: Yeah, Billy Bob Thornton's character is a throwback to his really kind of badass evil guys darker side that he has done in the past. And Eva Longoria and Wes Bentley are just both playing great characters. And from what I saw on the shooting days, just doing an awesome job. Again, like I said, it's just one of those ones I'm just hoping comes out so people can really see it.
Q: Yeah, there seems to be some buzz about it, which is kind of exciting.
DC: Yeah, it's nice.
Q: Well let’s talk more about ‘Twilight.’
DC: Oh, that old thing [LAUGHTER].
Q: That old thing. So did you do any scenes in Italy or was it all Louisiana?
DC: I shot all my stuff in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Q: That must have been quite a change from Vancouver.
DC: It was. It was definitely interesting. You start to see that some of the…you get so used to your home town and the way everything's set up. And then you go somewhere else and it's such a change of pace. But it was really fun. It was just cool to be down south and have a total different perspective on things. And then the shooting was great and it was a great group of actors. With these final two books, the amount of characters that are coming in, you've got to have all these actors. So it was fun to have…they had 30, 35 of us at the hotel at once for a few months. We got a good chance to really just hang out and have a good time.
Q: That sounds like a lot of fun.
DC: Yeah, it was.
Q: Balancing the hard work and the fun there.
DC: Yeah, totally. And that's a great thing. And then at the same time we were doing a lot of great jobs on this film. And then also it was pilot season, so people were auditioning all the time. And we're helping out with auditions whenever people had days off. So it was a lot of fun being down there.
Q: You've been involved in this franchise since ‘New Moon.’ How would you say things have changed in the last…’New Moon,’ ‘Eclipse,’ then the two more movies. How do you think it's changed?
DC: Yeah, everything will want to change with a new chief at the helm, with a new director. And each director brings their own flavor and what their ideas are of each book. When it comes to everything else, with all the producers and the corporate, they're still there. So nothing has really changed on the shooting front, except for location and director. It's always kept a pretty constant consistency when it comes to the way it's shot. And it's really good because they just really know how to do it. And it keeps everyone kind of relaxed and going in the right direction. Again, with the new directors, you just kind of each set has a different feel. And with this latest one it was really chill and it was just a lot of fun. So the evolution, you can't wait to see the next one that you've done. So I'm really getting excited for November.
Q: Are you in both part one and part two? Will we see you in both films?
DC: I'm in both, which is great.
Q: Yeah, that is great. Who of your fellow ‘Twilight’ actors would you say you've kind of bonded with the most, that you kind of hang out with off set and keep in touch with?
DC: It's funny, I keep in touch with Charlie a lot because we spent so much time together working. Jamie Campbell Bower and I were hanging a lot down south with Chris Heyerdahl. And some of the new actors too, Noel Fisher and Guri Weinberg, who are two of the new guys who play Stefan and Vladimir, I believe. And yeah, it was just sort of a good little crew. And it's funny, with Twitter, everyone can kind of keep in touch with each other. And I talk with Chaske Spencer a lot and Alex Meraz. Twitter's really funny in that way, you can kind of message people all the time and just see how they're doing [LAUGHTER] through Twitter, which is strange. But it's been good.
Q: Is it weird that the movies are wrapping up? Are you seeing a future beyond ‘Twilight,’ beyond all these movies?
DC: Yeah, it is kind of strange. When I first gotten involved with it, I didn't really -- kind of when you're in the middle of it you don't realize how all encompassing it is a lot of the times. 'Cause you'd be like, I've got work coming up with this next film, and I've got work, and you can sort of fit little things in here and there. But yeah, when I finished in January, I kind of really was like, wow, okay, yeah, there's no [LAUGHTER] more left. There's no more of these. So it's on to bigger and better things in a way for me. It's hard to really kind of carve out a bit of a career and move forward, which I've always wanted. So we spoke about earlier, just saying how it's opened doors for me, which is always a great thing. So now it's just kind of like, it's time to prove myself, just get that bigger and that next thing and keep moving.
Q: Well now that you're getting to be a little bit more choosey with the scripts and the roles that you take, what's your dream role? Do you want drama, serious action, or romantic comedy…?
DC: I'm not too sure. I've thought about what my dream role would be. And I don't think I have a particular genre that is my dream. I think just, like I said, working with some great actors that have been around for a while, I think just sitting there and just learning, that would be something that would be a bit of a dream role. Just kind of [LAUGHTER] try not to sit there in awe during the scenes of some certain actors, and just really kind of picking their brain the whole time to the point where they think I'm probably gonna annoy them. Yeah, I don't know. I think just keep evolving and the next big thing is always kind of the dream role in a way. I'm kind of evolving and I'm learning.
Q: That's great. So are we gonna see you at the premier in LA in November?
DC: Yeah, I'll be down in LA on the 14th. I gotta go find something to wear!
Q: All right Daniel, thank you so much for talking to me again.
DC: I really appreciate it.
Q: Yeah, fun to talk to you as always. I wish you luck.
DC: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
about the blogger
Myriam Gabriel-Pollock has been writing for MSN since 2006 -- everything from quizzes to feature articles to the Twilight Superfan blog. Prior to that she was a hi-tech geek. She has happily transitioned into a film geek, especially if there are wizards, vampires, mythical places, and spaceships.