By Jill Diver
“Lovable Teddy bear” may not be a phrase generally associated with a vampire, but that is exactly how actor Kellan Lutz — aka Emmett in the “Twilight” series — describes his character, and himself.
While Lutz says he has been “only a presence” in the “Twilight” and “New Moon” movies, fans of Emmett fancy him as a much happier and simpler character than that of Edward Cullen.
Rob Pattinson, as Edward Cullen, is the leading male in the movies based on the four books by Stephenie Meyer. And while Lutz’s role is a supporting one, he believes that Emmet provides important juxtaposition and comic relief to the story.
“Emmett is kind of an oversized little toddler at times, where he messes around and makes funny jokes,” Lutz said in an interview on a recent visit to Boston to promote “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” which opened today at midnight in theaters.
The “Twilight” series is the love story of Bella Swan — human, and Edward Cullen — vampire.
“New Moon” takes Bella and Edward’s relationship to a more intense and dangerous level, and reveals a conflict that will haunt Bella as the story continues with the age-old rivalry between the Quileute tribe and the vampires, played out between Bella’s best friend, Jacob Black, and her love, Edward.
Emmett is the vampire brother of Edward Cullen, a typical teenage troublemaker who likes fast cars and older women.
“I throw a lot of Kellan into Emmett,” Lutz said. “It’s amazing to play such a happy character. It makes your day such a happy day when you play someone you can really enjoy.”
Lutz thinks with the release of “New Moon,” more men are going to get hooked on the “Twilight” series because this film is actually an action movie.
“New Moon” introduces new characters and sees the rise of Jacob Black, a member of the Quileute tribe, the traditional people of Forks, Washington.
In the story, just after Bella’s 18th birthday, Edward decides to leave the Town of Forks and Bella behind in an effort to protect her. As the heartbroken Bella sleepwalks through her senior year, numb and alone, she discovers she can summon Edward’s image whenever she puts herself in jeopardy. Her desire to be with him at any cost leads her to take greater and greater risks, including a new taste for high-speed motorcycle jaunts.
While Edward is gone, Jacob remains in Forks with Bella.
Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series, did not write the character of Jacob initially as such an integral part of the story, she said.
“Jacob came out of nowhere,” Meyer said in a statement. “He wasn’t supposed to exist in the way that he does, but his personality was so there and so strong. I could see how he would shape the events of the book.”
Lutz said it’s been a whirlwind to be part of the phenomenon that is “Twilight.”
“This press tour is amazing,” he said. “They get to be increasingly fun. The more fans come out, the more I enjoy it. And the more stories I get to hear, the more laughing I get to do. I love to smile and laugh.”
While Lutz said he feels a bit like he is living in the “Twilight Zone,” he believes that in five years, when everything is said and done, he is going to sit back in awe.
“I don’t see it for what it really is,” Lutz said. “I’m going to look back at all the fan mail and all the scrapbooks and watch the movies again, as movies. I see firsthand with my sister and mom, how they connect and it brings so many groups together.”
Wyck Godfrey, producer of both “Twilight” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” was adamant that the latest film not be merely another sequel.
“The challenge was to not simply repeat what the first movie delivered,” Godfrey said in a statement.
“As the story progresses, the world opens up. We have to evolve the characters and deliver the new world visually. We’re digging deeper into Bella’s life as her world expands. She’s discovering new things about the people of Forks, primarily the Quileutes and Jacob. The discovery that Jacob and his buddies turn into wolves is a big one.”
With filming of the third movie, “Eclipse,” already in production, fans of Lutz can look forward to seeing a more complete version of the lovable Teddy bear.
“Thank God for ‘Eclipse,’ you get to see more of my character,” Lutz said. “Twilight” changed my life for the better: I’m just Kellan. I haven’t changed who I am, except, maybe I do my hair now and wear matching shoes and socks.”
This story ran in the Eagle-Tribune on November 20, 2009.