We had the chance to interview Chris Heyerdahl at the Creation Entertainment Official Twilight Convention in Miami. Chris was nursing a horse voice in a really chilly room as you can see from his down vest and cup of tea. We have a transcript below. Part 2 and 3 will be out later this week.
L: His this is Lori Joffs from the Twilight Lexicon and we are here with…
C: Christopher Heyerdahl
L: Christopher Heyerdahl. We are at the Miami convention for the Official twilight Convention. Thank you so much for talking to us. So this isn’t your first Twilight Convention is it?
L: You did one other?
C: Yeah, we did Australia. I think we hit 3 cities and did tons of interviews. It was great fun.
L: But you’re going to be doing a lot of the official conventions this year.
C: Yeah, I think we’re doing 10 or 11. Something like that. Yeah, all over the states. So far so good anyway!
L: Had you read Twilight before you got the offer?
C: I’d read Twilight. I hadn’t read New Moon.
L: So what drew you to take this part? To take a part in this series?
C: Being asked! My niece is a big fan and still is a big fan. Actually we went – I took her and her sister and my mother to see New Moon on her birthday. My birthday gift to my eldest niece.
L: How old is she?
C: Oh gosh. I don’t want to get it wrong.
L: Is she a teenager?
C: Yeah, she’s a teenager.
L: This is perfect for her.
C: She’s 14. So the three of us went and it was great. It was nice to – it was after and it was in a small town and it was after the big flame of the beginning. It’s still in theatres now so it’s really holding on. It’s great. We went in a quiet time. It was a matinee in the holidays, and so we almost had the whole place to ourselves. There were maybe 6 other people in the cinema.
L: Very private!
C: It’s like having a private screening. So it was fun to share that with her because she’s the reason why I took the part.
L: Awesome. So you do – in case the fans watching this don’t know, you’ve done tons of science fiction. You’ve done Stargate, you’ve done Smallville, you’ve done Supernatural. What am I missing? Sanctuary.
C: Still doing Sanctuary.
L: Are you drawn to Science Fiction as a genre?
C: That’s a hard question to answer. It’s kind of the chicken and the egg. I myself – I am drawn to fantasy. I’ve always like fantasy and there’s – certainly my acting style is… I’ve never been known for being incredibly subtle unless I have to be. I’m subtle at times, but it’s not my natural – I want to go as big as possible. And as an actor, I’m the guy will never have to say, “Can you make a bigger choice? Your choice is just not strong enough.” I always make the biggest choice and then, if you want to contract that. If you want to just squish it into a television size or a film size, even smaller, then it’s much easier to do that then say, “I’m not getting what you’re choosing here. You have to make a choice.” So I think that that lends itself to the genre.
It’s interesting. You know the thought of – when you’re doing a kitchen sink kind of modern piece, it’s very easy to get people to believe in you because it’s something every day in a cop show. We see police every day and see on the news the good guys, the bad guys, and the rest of it. But in fantasy there’s this level of disbelief that is inherent in any of these shows, because vampires don’t exist. Monsters don’t exist. Ect.
L: You can go anywhere with it.
C: How is it comparable with the monster we already know? And so, to make that believable – if you can make that believable? I think it’s – it’s a hard gig. And yet when it works – OH! It’s so sweet! And it’s so much fun.
L: To make the impossible believable.
C: Exactly. Well, the maybe impossible believable. It’s fun and I love it. It’s still in the realm – some shows – the kitchen sink stuff has to be so gritty. But with fantasy, it’s still the same level of life and death, but it’s – you know, it’s fun!
L: A little bit more fun. So of all these different fandoms that you’ve been involved in, how does Twilight compare?
C: I think that Twilight is a literary based show, so everyone has already read the books.
C: The first film –I think Catherine and the actors who are only in the – started in the first one, had the biggest leap because it’s very difficult to – when you read a book, you’re almost guaranteed to be disappointed when you go see the film.
C: It’s just not going to be – number one, you’ve already created everything. What the person looks like, sounds like, where it takes place. It’s already created in your mind.
L: And your interpretation is different from everyone else’s.
C: Exactly. So again, it’s that desire to leap into that role and accept it as a different world. It’s someone else’s imagination or a group of people’s imagination. So that when things shine that are close to the point that you imagined it, it’s almost like getting a gift. “How did you know? That’s exactly what I wanted!” It becomes this unexpected, “I didn’t think of it like that. I actually like that. That’s interesting. I didn’t think of it like that.” And so you get these unexpected surprises as well as, “AH! That’s exactly the way I imagined it!” So walking into New Moon, I knew that the majority of work had already been done. The fans were on board, for the most part.
L: And the world had been built.
C: Exactly. They knew the world they were going into. The new world aside from the “cut off boys” the cliff diving boys…
L: The wolves.
C: Yes, the wolf pack. The Volturi were really the new, the unexplored territory.
L: Well, and the Volturi, too (Note to self… don’t worry about the NEXT question! Just listen to THIS question!)
C: So there was definitely a responsibility there. So it was fun. I think when you’re taking a character from a book or a character who we have never met before, it’s exciting to be any actor who gets to be the first to interpret that character. It’s a great honor, it’s a great pleasure because forever…
L: That’s you!
C: You’re the one who made the choice to do that. If you fly – great. If you fall – great. But either way, you’re the one willing to take on that chance. It’s fun and it’s exciting. When you do another show – doing Sanctuary for example – creating the character I created on that show, no one knows Sanctuary. No one knows that world. They haven’t read the books because there are no books to read. So there are no expectations. So you get in, you get to have the excitement of developing those characters. But with something like this…it’s completely different.
L: It’s like more responsibility.
C: Huge amount of responsibility, but at the same time the focus is not necessarily just on you. But like no other part – this is the interesting thing about playing a character where it is a relatively small character in the – if there were no books, it would be a very small character and no – okay there’s the guy that sat on the right hand side. And there’s the guy that sat on the left and there’s the guy in the middle who spoke and did these weird things and killed these people, and that’s that. Now we can move back to the story that I’m interested in. Whereas with the books – people who have read the books, they know everything about the tiniest of characters. So every character is significant.
C: Like no other series of films, except of course the ones that are based on literary based with a literary background. So it’s interesting from that point of view. Everyone knows the character before the character even comes up. It’s fun.