Aruba 2012: Xavier Samuel Q&A
Posted on Wednesday June 27, 2012, 22:26 by Simon Braund in Under The Radar
Even Aruba has its fair share of Twi-hards. This was evidenced by the thirty minutes Empire waited for a screening of director Stephen Elliot’s A Few Best Men to get going while its star Xavier Samuel (who play Riley in Twilight - Eclipse) was busy getting mobbed by fans on the red carpet outside.
Despite the tardy start, the movie, which also stars Laura Brent, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop and Tim Draxl, was a hoot, very much in the vein of writer Dean Craig’s previous movie Death At A Funeral (both the British original and the US remake), a unapologetically R-rated farce where everything that can go wrong does go wrong at Samuel’s wedding.
Away from the clamour of camera-toting fan-pires, Empire spoke to Victoria, Australia native Samuel in the tranquil gardens of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, HQ of the AIFF and not a bad crib if you’re ever in the area - and have just refinanced your home and are looking for ways spend the money.
Coming from the Twilight zone, this is quite a change of pace for you.
Yeah. It wasn’t a prerequisite, I wasn’t like, ’The next one better be a raunchy comedy or else.’ I think I knew what I was letting myself in for with Stephen Elliot at the helm. It’s so outrageous in parts.
If you can call Olivia Newton John as a middle-aged mum banging rails of coke outrageous.
Right, and felching condoms full of drugs out of a sheep’s arse. (We should point out, Ms. John’s character only snorts the coke, she doesn’t felch for it).
Given you weren’t looking for a raunchy comedy, why did you sign on for this exceptionally raunchy one?
I think it’s always good to be involved in something that pushes the envelope. The worst reaction you can get to a movie is indifference, so if you can cause a reaction on either side of that you’re on the right track. And when I read Dean’s script I was literally laughing out loud. Also, Australian comedies are kind of rare, so jumped at the chance to be involved.
And you have a nude scene. Any qualms about that?
Nah, it’s kind of hysterical. The situation is my character arrives home to miserable rainy London after a beautiful vacation (during which he proposes impulsively to his holiday fling Mia, Brent’s character). He gets back to his apartment, flings his wet clothes off, opens the door and everyone’s there, all his family anf friends throwing him a surprise welcome home party.
We only get the rear view. How about the cast and crew?
I don’t know what the technical term for it is but they call it a cock sock. It’s like a sunglasses case, one of those cloth ones with the drawstring at the top. Not my most elegant moment, but you have to do these things in the name of art.
The role of Riley in Twilight was a huge break for you. How did you land that?
I’d been sending taped auditions off to America for quite a while around that time. It’s a bizarre process. yOu put yourself on tape then you send it off into the ether and you don’t know whose desk it lands on or even if anyone watches. So to even hear back is a surprise. I remember [the message] arriving and I thought, Oh wow. This is one of those movies where everyone’s got the lunch-box, and the pillow case and it’s advertised on the back of buses. I was sure it was never going to happen, but I thought Why not? I found out it had come down to me and three other guys.
Any idea who they were?
I don’t actually. But i flew myself to Vancouver to meet David Slade the director. He was very kind and had a lot of interesting things to say about the character.
Can you talk a bit about the character, for those not as familiar as some with the Twilight world?
He operates as kind of the bad guy in the film, although I think he’s a little more complicated than that. When you first meet him, he’s got the world at his feet. He’s a budding university student with a bright future. Then he gets attacked by a mysterious vampire, who turns out to be Victoria, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character - she’s amazing by the way, so talented. I felt as if there was something Blade Runner-esque about him, as if he’d had his humanity snatched away from him and that’s where the remorse and his genuine hatred for humanity came from - the fact that he isn’t human any more. There’s also this kind of Macbeth/Lady Macbeth relationship with him and Victoria, where she has him under her spell and he has to do her bidding. It seemed to me the deeper you dug, there was a well of stuff there. Even though it’s a commercial film and it’s more about the love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob, I thought it was important to investigate [Riley] and come up with something more than your typical sneering bad guy.
How do you feel about the fan aspect of Twilight?
I feel alright about it.
Would you ever want the level of fame and adoration it’s brought Robert Pattinson?
I think that kind of adoration is a grotesque thing to yearn for, because it’s not about you. It’s about something else entirely. I’m trying to think of an example of where that adoration is genuine. I have no idea where it comes from. I feel a little bit removed from it actually. Obviously I’m not under the microscope like those other guys are.
Right. It hasn’t been too invasive so far. I look at it and go, Okay, people are excited about the film, they like the story. That level of enthusiasm is a powerful thing.
You’ve made several films in Australia, A Few best Men being the latest. Do you have any aspirations to go Hollywood?
I’ve been spending more and more time there. I don’t have any prerequisites. As long as its interesting work and the people are talented - and nice!
You got a few interesting things coming up. Not sure how nice the people were, but tell us about Bait first of all.
It’s about a group of people trapped in a supermarket. With a pack of sharks. You know, just a little light comedy. When i first read it I thought, Who wouldn’t want to do a film about sharks in a supermarket? Which is a much better title come to think of it. It’s totally absurd and hilarious and hopefully a lot of fun to watch.
Just try and keep us away. And another one is Drift, what seems to be a biker/surfer movie with Sam Worthington.
Yeah, it’s set in the 70s and it has that whole bikers-surfers clash.
Less of a comedy, we’re guessing.
Yeah, although it does have a jovial, colloquial Australian aspect.
Do you play a biker or a surfer?
I play a surfer.
I’ve got the seventies moustache cranking. I should’ve got the mullet going too.
Mandatory. Were you a surfer already or did you have to learn?
I had to learn. And it’s incredibly hard. I felt like a newborn calf out there, slipping around and falling over.
Are you going to keep it up now you’ve got the skills?
I think so, yeah.
Finally, you’ve got The Grandmothers with Robin Wright and Naomi Watts. That does look interesting - two old friends falling for each other’s sons. Obviously you’re one of the sons, but which one?
I fall in love with Robin Wright and Naomi Watts plays my mum.
Is that the way you wanted it, or would you have preferred the other way round?
I think I’m pretty happy with the ways things went. But you’d be lucky to have either of them fall in love with you.
What’s the tone?
It’s a love story.
Is it a comedy as well?
No, not at all. It’s an erotic love story, very emotional and the stakes are high.
So you have a love scene with Robin Wright?
I do. There’s a lot of sex in the film actually.
So, another nude scene for you.
Yeah, that’s all happening. We shot it for hours, and it was all one shot so it was kind of horrendous and awkward. But hopefully it’ll come off all right on screen.
And like you said, you have to suffer for your art.
Highlight of the day today was overhearing Ray Liotta chat with Richard Kind - who will for Empire, forever be Spin City’s uberschlump Paul Lassiter - chatting near the beach-side juice bar.
Kind will be on the red carpet tonight for the regional premier of director Marco Spagnoli’s documentary Hollywood Invasion. Not sure exactly why, but there you are. Liotta is here not to promote anything specific but to add some star wattage, chat about his career and chill out. Who can blame him.