Nothing like a role in Twilight to break you into show business. That’s the case for Ashley Greene, who had spent most of her time in Hollywood as a hostess in an L.A. restaurant prior to her fame-making role as Alice Cullen. The Floridian native just finishing touring the country in support of New Moon and she’ll start filming the horror film Apparition in Berlin in February. We chatted with Greene days before New Moon started breaking records.
Are the reactions to Twilight the same all around the country?
I was impressed in Chicago, actually. Chicago was really, really intense and loud and I think it was one of the bigger responses that we had. But there’s always a lot of people, a lot of passion, a lot of screaming, a lot of crying. So really it’s all measured in terms of how deep the screaming goes.
Was it much different than last year?
I guess it’s more intense. I’m much more comfortable with this whole thing. I didn’t really know what to expect at all when I first got into it. It was my first gig, and so it was a little crazy and I was really nervous. And so now you know the fans are there because they love you and they support you.
What was your most memorable fan encounter?
I’ve had a couple people make me scrapbooks, and that’s kind of an incredible thing because I’m in a midst of this whirlwind right now so there are a lot of things that I miss because we’re in this Twilight bubble and it’s just go go go. So probably a year after this is all done, we can sit back and look at the scope of it. So it’s nice for them to put a collection of my career and what I’ve been going through together. That’s really special.
Why do you think fans are so obsessed?
I think with vampires, you can’t really go wrong. For generations, vampires have been a hit because they’re unobtainable, mysterious, sensual, dangerous, kind of sexy. Then Stephanie Meyer added a Romeo-and-Juliet love story to this fantasy world. Edward happens to be a vampire but he’s very much that gentleman who opens doors and says everything a girl wants to hear and he’s basically the epitome of perfection. And then you have Bella, this normal, everyday girl, which a lot of us are, and she steals this vampire’s heart. So everyone wants their Edward and everyone wants to be Bella.
How has playing Alice Cullen changed your career?
I didn’t really have a career! So that’s how it changed. But now I’m doing what I want and I know I’m going to continue to work. This is it; this is the rest of my life. I can walk into rooms and talk to directors and producers that I couldn’t get into their doors before. And I can actually sit down and speak to them like a human being and not be terrified of them. That, and of course, the fact that people care what kind of coffee I drink and who I’m dating and where I’m going. Nobody knew my name before and nobody cared and then all of a sudden in a course of a year, everything has changed.
And what is the downside?
The only downside is when people stop realizing you are human and you’re not perfect. But it’s part of the territory and I wouldn’t trade it.
What was your first reaction to New Moon?
The tone, the color schemes, and the warmth of it is beautiful. I think [director] Chris Weitz did a really fantastic job. And then after seeing Taylor [Lautner], I was really impressed. I mean, he’s a 17-year-old kid and he committed and gained 30 pounds and transformed into a completely different person than he was in the first one. He carried this film, and I think that’s a hard thing to do, especially when you’re up against this character Edward. It’s a lot to live up to, and I think he did it justice and he did a fantastic job.
What was your favorite scene to film?
Going to Italy and being part of the Volturi scene was great. Dakota Fanning is fantastic. I was watching her movies before I was even acting. And I got to work with Michael Sheen and he’s an incredible, phenomenal actor and it was great to be able to learn from him and watch him do the scene and watch how it translates to the screen.
He gives that scene a lot of gravitas.
It was so easy for him. He controls the scene. I haven’t worked with an actor of that caliber yet who can do something like that. It was really cool to see.
Who’s your closest friend in the cast?
Kellan Lutz. We’ve been friends for about five years, before this whole Twilight thing even happened. We had the same agent starting out so we’ve basically been friends since we both moved to L.A. We’re together 12 hours a day, every day for like three months at a time.
Is there a role out there you’d really like to play?
I would have loved to do Alice in Wonderland. Being a Bond girl would always be fun. We had a lot of action in Eclipse and I’d definitely like to continue down the action road. I want to do a romantic period piece, but those are really hard to get made because they’re very expensive and there’s not a huge demographic. And far, far down the road, probably when I’m in my 30s, I would love to play a North Country/Erin Brockovich type of a role like Charlize [Theron] and Julia Roberts did because they’re inspirational and they’re about very strong women that changed basically the course of history. That would be a really fun role to play, they really affect people. That’s one of the bigger benefits of acting, that you get to affect people.
If you could pick the director to helm Breaking Dawn, who would it be?
I just went to MoMA [NYC's Museum of Modern Art] and they were honoring Tim Burton, and I saw a whole compilation of his films and artwork and I just think he’s an extraordinary artist. I think it’d be really cool to have his spin on it, because it’s a very odd book, there’s some very weird moments. He would actually put a really weird and cool twist on it. And if we could do it the right way, it’d be great to have two films. You definitely want to get all the important parts in there and you know how hardcore and passionate the fans are about it, so one might be difficult and there would be something left out. So if we could do it right, it’d be great to have two films.
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