'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' finds Rachelle Lefevre soaring
Rachelle Lefevre may have spent most of her time during the production of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" far from he co-stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart hanging out in the woods, but she's really not complaining. As the evil vampire Victoria, Lefevre is one of the few villains in the series to appear in more than one book and therefore, the actress won't be back for just "New Moon," she's got the third film in the series,"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," on her slate as well.
Lefevre took some time to chat with HitFix and a few other journalists on the set of "New Moon" in May and revealed a number of intriguing facts about the upcoming film.
* Don't expect that "gliding" effect to return in "New Moon." The vampires speed is much more realistic this time around.
* Lefevre has been over 40 feet in the air for her three plus weeks of stunt work.
* Scenes only described in passing in the book between Victoria and the Wolf Pack are depicted completely in the movie adding more action to the mix.
* She's been told to return to shoot "Eclipse" in August.
* Stewart participated in a very dangerous tidal wave stunt in a water pool that had her spinning.
Check out the entire interview below and for more details on the context of the chat, check out HitFix's Day One visit to the set of "New Moon" here.
Q: What are you filming today then?
I actually wasn’t filming anything but I flew her in for the weekend to be able to come to set because I feel like rightfully so should a perk of having a sister in the movies, so she flew out this morning and I’ve been doing a lot of second unit stunt work and I feel like there’s only a certain amount of watching me fly through trees that’s going to be interesting and what she really should be watching is like the Volturi stuff with Rob and Kristen, Ashley, Dakota and Michael, so I took her today to just get her familiar with everybody and so she’s not uncomfortable when tomorrow I send her by herself so while I’m on second unit she can be here watching the real action. The real more important stuff.
Q: The stunt work you’re doing, is it going to look the same as it did in the first movie? Is it going to be any different like the wire work or feel different?
It’s so much wire work. It’s so much actual doing it, I think. In terms of the look of it, I don’t know exactly. I think [director Chris Weitz's] approach seems to be that it should be a little more raw and a little more literally grounded. So, I think it was very sort of flighty in the first one when we were running fast and things like that. It was almost like you weren’t touching the ground. It was almost like kind of gliding thing and I think that the work we’ve been doing [for 'New Moon'] is a lot more like actual contact with the ground, you know actually holding onto the trees rather than being able to just sort of float in them. So I think the gravity may be a little more than in the first film so that might have a different look as a result.
Q: Do you get to walk on that magic carpet thing again?
No, no magic carpet this time. I’m all in a harness. I’m 25-feet up most days and then any time I’m on the ground they’re doing like depending on [the camera speed of] 12 frames per second or 72 so they can slow it up or speed it and then you’re literally just running and jumping and chasing.
Q: It sounds like it’s a lot more stunt work than you thought it might be.
It is. It’s amazing. It’s funny our running joke—because I’ve been doing it for 2 1/2 weeks—and like we had a cast dinner last night, and everybody’s like 'Where have you been?' Like I see them all the time at night, but I never see them during the day and they’re like 'Where are you?' And I’m like 'Oh you guys don’t know, but we’re making another whole movie in the woods a half hour away.' So, I said I hope we get an extended version of the scene on the DVD because I’ve been filming the same stunts—the same fight sequence for 2 1/2 weeks.
Q: Are you doing underwater stuff?
I did. I spent six hours in a pool doing all the underwater stuff.
Q: They have the scene with your hair in the water. That’s like a classic moment from the book.
Yeah. Yeah, the sort of swimming with the hair underwater and then they did a really interesting thing where they did this amazing stunt where Bella gets caught in the tidal wave. So, we were all in the pool doing the same stuff on the same day. I got to film all my underwater stuff and then I got to watch them film that. It was incredible because there was no CGI involved that at all. There was a green screen so they could put it wherever they wanted, but there was nothing involved whatsoever in terms of adding it after the fact. They literally took, I think must have been 2,000 gallons of water in [what] looked like those huge cargo rectangular cargo containers you put on the back of trains. They had two of those pumped up with 2,000 gallons of water and first they did it with the stunt double and they did it with Kristen’s photo double and then they literally on 'action' pulled the hatch and she got pummeled with an amazing tidal wave. And you could watch underwater, which I got to because I was in the pool, or you can watch on the monitor and you could literally see her spinning. It created a tidal wave and they just filmed until she got spit out. When it spit her out, the cut was over.
Q: It is scary. Is that like a toll for you guys that much more physical work because it’s been more difficult to shoot?
This shoot has been more difficult for me in terms of physically demanding, but I don’t know that. I feel the word difficult implies unpleasant in some way, which it has not been at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I sort of feel -- I don’t want to put it out there, but I feel like I don’t have any real substantial injuries yet. I feel like my injuries happily don’t correspond with the stuff that I’ve been doing, which is good, but like anytime I get even a little bruise I’m like 'Look, I have wire burn.' I want something to show for it, you know, because otherwise nobody will believe me that it was me.
Q: So, you were over 25 feet up in the air sometimes?
Q: Is that scary or is that really exciting for you? How do you do that?
It’s scary for me because I don’t like heights so there’s a really interesting thing that happens which is that I am absolutely terrified when I’m up there and then they go 'Okay, we’re rolling.' And something happens and you’re like, 'Wow, I don’t know where I’m going to bring myself to jump from here, this freefall leap.' And then they said 'Action' and you just do it. It’s just one of those things that happens to you, so as me I’m afraid and as Victoria I kind of just do what they tell me to do.
Q: You look fierce and…
It’s this bizarre thing where you’re like you don’t want to get all the way up there and not do it. It’s like failure is just not an option so you just do it.
Q: So, we get to see you jump from 25 feet up in a tree down to the ground?
There’s leaping off trees to the ground. There’s leaping up in the air from trees to other trees. I was about 40-feet up just hanging out looking like I was just kind of standing there. There’s a lot of that. And then my stunt double, who spent five years with Cirque du Soleil did some very cool like backflips and things like that on the wires. Yeah, being thrown around by werewolves you’d be like in one place one minute and then they pull [and] you’re like hooked up to wire and then they’ll pull the wires and then you get yanked up flying into the air and your body’s folded in half. It’s very cool.
Q: You actually have contact with some of the werewolves?
I have some potential [for it]. There’s like sort of a chase thing. In 'New Moon' you know how Victoria is trying to penetrate to get into Bella and the wolves are protecting her and [in the book] they talked about how they chased Victoria here so you’re going to see [that play out onscreen.]
Q: And in the pool is expanded as well?
The pool thing is the scene where it’s just a little more because it has to be visual because you can’t just do pages of description of Bella’s feeling of impending doom and the flash in the water. So, they’re actually going to show a little more of my trying to get to her in the water.
Q: Do we see how close do you come to Bella?
I don’t know that I’m going to say. Put it this way, not close enough that…she lives, so not close enough.
Q: How many more days do you have of stunt work out in the forest?
I wrap on Saturday so I was working this morning and then I have tomorrow and Saturday and then I’m done. Yeah, but I’ve been up here for like a month. Come Saturday it’ll be a month. Yeah, I had a few days off here and there. I went back to L.A. for a few days but basically I had like a couple days on [inaudible] unit but basically I’ve been in the trees for the duration of the shoot.
Q: Can you tell us about the new actors who are the wolf pack essentially?
You know, I met them at some of the rehearsals and I met them at a cast dinner, but I really haven’t worked with them. I haven’t got to meet them so much, but they seem like really nice guys and it’s so funny. They were like instantly a pack. Like we went to sit down at one point at a group dinner and I turned and they were all sitting together. I was like 'Oh, they’re already a pack.'
Q:What is your costume like for 'New Moon'?
They gave me really cool jeans for this like and I was like 'Those are great jeans, I’m going to take those.' And now every time I walk into my trailer I’m like I never want to see those jeans again.
Q: Is Victoria still walking around barefoot?
No, Stephanie gave us permission for me to be wearing shoes in this.
Because there was so much stunt work that it would have really jeopardized our safety. And, you know, Stephanie always has to have a reason for every thing. So there was a whole conversation about why Victoria should be allowed to wear her shoes. And the idea was that the barefoot thing was something that they do together, I guess the three of them. Laurent, Victoria and James, and that was one part. And now it’s Victoria on her own and she’s a hunter and she’s out for Bella and it’s a mission. And so I insisted that if I wear shoes that they be like military of some kind to sort of symbolize that I was on a mission so I’m wearing combat boots.
Q: Do we get confirmation that Victoria does have a special power?
You know, I can’t say. I can’t say. I’ll tell you what she’s good at it. Even in the book, she’s good at escaping. I think that might count as a power. She might be the Harry Houdini of vampires.
Q: How would you compare the direction between Chris and Catherine?
How would I compare them? I mean, I’m trying to think of some way that’s like appropriately distinct because they’re so different. Catherine’s very…she’s like a …
Q: So do you know what you’re doing next? Do you have anything you’re working on?
No, I have a couple of things sort of in the mix right now that it looks like I’m going to get to do. One of something in between this and “Eclipse” but it’s a scheduling thing and so nothing is confirmed yet because you have to be available for the third movie. [Going back to the previous question,] I would say the fundamental difference between Catherine and Chris is for Catherine it was all establishing everything. It’s literally bringing the world to life and so I think that first of all she’s just different as a director. She’s very raw. She’s very high-energy. Everything is like really, really high-energy and she really like gets in there with you and sometimes it’s like when they’re trying to quiet people on-set, you look over and it’s Catherine having a conversation with one of her actors. She’s just super amazingly energized and animated. And at the same time, I think there was just so much going on with having to create every little detail that it was like you got the sense that every second of her energy was like accounted for. And she laid the foundation. Chris is much quieter and calmer in a way. He just has a different style, but also I think, you know, he’s come into a world that somebody went through all of that to bring to life. And so I feel like part of the reason he came in maybe a little more quiet was just sort of respect the fact that he didn’t just show up and go 'All right guys. It’s Chris Weitz’s 'Twilight' now.' He didn’t do that at all. He completely respected that somebody else had laid the foundation and he was like all right here’s where I’m going to take it within the realm of what’s already been established. And so it’s a different job, you know? It’s something that he’s executing beautifully because we all really feel both directed and respected in terms of what we’ve already done, so yeah. We love him.
Q: How will 'New Moon' be different?
You know a lot of times when I ask people like fans and stuff what’s your favorite book? When people say 'Twilight' a lot of the reasons why they say 'Twilight' -- the reason I hear a lot is well, it was my first entry into this world and it’s sort of that first bit that you can never really get back. Your first time, you know? And then so 'New Moon' is kind of like you know who the characters are. You have some idea of where it’s going, particularly if you’ve read the books, and now what you get to do is watch the real struggle. Like never mind figuring out who everybody is and figuring out who the actors are in terms of what you had in your imagination vs. who they cast. All that is gone and now that the world is set, now you get to watch a really, really horrifically gut-wrenching love triangle. And a real struggle. It’s so character driven like front and foremost, definitely. But at its heart I really do think it’s becoming a real coming of age sort of story more than just a boy meets girl romance, which was beautiful, but not as complicated as it gets now that Jacob is really in the middle.
Q: Have they told you when you need to be available for 'Eclipse'?
I think they said sometime in August. That’s as close as we’ve gotten now.
Q: Are you already thinking about your scenes there? You’ve got great scenes.
Yeah, I mean all ready we’re all…you know and I started to sort of go back to “Eclipse” now but I’m trying to like just go all the way to “New Moon” without getting too much ahead of myself. So I have like 3 days left and then back to “Eclipse” and we’ll just have to wait and see like we always do. Wait and see what makes it into the script and what doesn’t. What gets added for purposes of moving the story along.
Q: Are you hoping your character meets a different fate than in the novels?
Yeah, I sort of feel like you can’t really change that. I would love to do a version of 'Romeo and Juliet' where they live happily ever after, but I ain’t gonna. I remember that paragraph; I had to read it twice. You know what’s great when we see fans a lot of the times they have like pages they want you to sign—certain pages or certain things—and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve signed the page where I lose my head. 'Really? This is the page you want me to sign?' It’s either that or the scene where we get introduced for the 1st time. So I’m always signing copies of 'Twilight' or 'Eclipse.' And at one point there was time when I knew the pages. I knew the page numbers. I don’t remember now but we all got to know our page numbers. You’d be like 'Ashley, what’s your page number?'
Q: Your character changes your voice it’s in the book when she hears Victoria the first time. She’s got this high baby voice and you absolutely don’t have that.
Yeah, I’ve been told by the sound people quite the opposite of that. A bit rooted in the gut I think but, that’s just one of those things where, you know, Taylor isn’t 6'5” but it’s okay. We’re creating and bringing to life. We’re not imitating and it’s different.
Q: How weird is it having people take photos of you hanging out with your ex-co-star Cam Gigandent?
Totally, yeah. Absolutely. I mean he had a baby girl who I’m really looking forward to meeting when I get back. I’m sure she’s going to be beautiful. I mean him and Dominique are like a ridiculously looking couple. When she was pregnant I was like, 'I hate you. Unless I look like that when I’m pregnant, I hate you.'
Q: Is it sort of the same friendship renewed when you come back to a sequel production like 'The Twilight Saga'?
Yeah, honestly it’s like we just picked up where we left off. I think the thing that made that transition so easy was that we were all were really on even footing when it started in the sense that that nobody [was a big star at the time.] I mean Kristen came to the set with many, many credits but not necessarily like as a 'celebrity,' so it was a very egoless set and the thing that’s really—thank God—the thing that’s really a relief is that everybody has stayed exactly the same way. So outside, you know, we may be able to just walk out and get in a cab whereas Rob has to, you know, do like C.I.A. basic maneuvers to meet us at the same restaurant, but when we get to the restaurant and we sit down, everybody’s exactly the same.
"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" opens nationwide on Nov. 20.
Read details of HitFix's Day One visit to the Vancouver set of "New Moon" including run-ins with Robert Pattinson here.
Read an exclusive interview with "New Moon" director Chris Weitz here.
Read an interview with Taylor Lautner from the set of "New Moon" here.
Read an exclusive interview with "Twilight Saga" producer Wyck Godfrey where discusses "New Moon," "Eclipse," and yes, "Breaking Dawn" here.