Lori Joffs had the chance to talk with Amadou Ly in a phone interview about a week ago. After she introduced herself, she explained that she was part of the interview team (Twilight Series Theories, Twilight Examiner, and Twilight Facebook) that got him and Janelle Froehlich to talk about a few things that were maybe a bit of a secret still. You can watch the video of this interview as well as the one we did with Melissa Rosenberg for more information about the French Coven.
Twilight Lexicon: Let me tell you what happened. We had heard about the French coven and I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into it. Then when I saw you, it clicked in my mind that you have a striking resemblance to Edi Gathegi. That’s where the whole conversation came from. Have you met Edi Gathegi?
Amadou: Yes, I met him that night at the premiere actually. He was a really nice guy and I told him how much I admire his work.
Twilight Lexicon: The interview we did with you – and when we spoke to Melissa Rosenberg she mentioned some stuff about the French coven – I have to tell you that it has been stirring up quite a bit of conversation in the fandom. How does that make you feel?
Amadou: When the made the announcement of the new French coven, it little went from like zero to sky rocket. Then three days later you have the Spectrum stating that I’m one of the French vampires to watch out for. It’s definitely a great feeling and I’m really grateful to see the positive reaction so far. And I really think [fans] are going to love it – they’re going to love the French vampires simply because there’s going to be something new for the fans to see. And we’re also speaking French in the film.
Twilight Lexicon: How much of your dialogue is in French?
Amadou: I don’t know. You might have to wait and see!
Twilight Lexicon: There are a few fans who have commented on our website who are worried that by adding a coven we are going to lose some parts that were in the book originally. How would you respond to them?
Amadou: Melissa Rosenberg and Stephenie Meyer actually added a bonus coven for the fans. I think once [the fans] give it a chance and take a look at what’s being revealed by adding the new French coven, I think they’ll totally be happy with the addition of the new coven. So far what I’ve read has been positive and I’m glad [fans] are embracing it the way they are at the moment.
Twilight Lexicon: Your personal story is so unique and you’ve been sharing touches of your own personal story in various interviews. You’re from Senegal.
Twilight Lexicon: When did you first come to the United States?
Amadou: I came to the US on Sept. 10, 2001.
Twilight Lexicon: And then you became a student in search of a visa.
Amadou: I was undocumented for a few years and then I received my F1 visa and my green card.
Twilight Lexicon: But yet through all of your struggles you’ve ended up in this major franchise kind of living a dream life!
Amadou: Totally! From being in Senegal to overcoming all those obstacles that were in my way and then growing up in Harlem and living on my own since I was 14 then dealing with immigration at 18 to the point where I was pretty close to being deported – yes! At the moment I can happily say I am totally living a dream life!
Twilight Lexicon: Do you see yourself as a source of inspiration to young people? I mean, so many kids now a days are giving up way too soon on life and their dreams. What kind of advice would you give to them about not giving up?
Amadou: When I was a kid growing up in Harlem I was circled by a lot of negativity. I learned a lot of great things, but the truth is, I was circled by a lot of negativity whether it was gang members or drug dealers or killers. Therefore, what I did was I found voices that spoke to me or spoke to my soul. Those voices were from Sydney Poitier or Oprah Winfrey, and at the same time reading different type of books from The Alchemist to Tuesday’s with Morrie to make me appreciate life more and understand that there is going to be struggle in life, struggles are here to be overcame. Once I learned that there’s going to be struggles everywhere you go, it just made things easier. As a matter of fact, it made me become more excited for more struggles. I don’t know if that sounds right to you?
Twilight Lexicon: That sounds exactly right. That you’re excited to see what you can learn and how you can grow in the future.
Amadou: Exactly. Throughout the years I’ve developed a mechanism where we can’t let the small things bother you, but at the same time, we’re all human. We still go through struggles every day.
Twilight Lexicon: You said in one of the interviews that I read that Effie in Dreamgirls was one of your personal inspirations.
Amadou: Totally. I remember in 2006 when I was watching Dreamgirls. Looking at the character Effie and how much she wanted to pursue her dreams yet there’s this huge speed bump. Just looking at everything that she had to go through. Literally it told me to keep going and that it is more than possible. So watching Bill Condon direct in that film and then having the opportunity to work with Bill Condon in Twilight at this stage – it’s a dream that came true!
Twilight Lexicon: Almost like a full circle moment.
Amadou: Yes. Totally. I even told them this at the premiere. I’ve been living a dream and I think some of the people just question how much I smile or how I laugh a lot. It’s because I’m living a dream! They have no idea!
Twilight Lexicon: You do! You smile from ear to ear. When people were asking me about what was memorable [from the premiere], I mentioned you and how huge your smile was.
Amadou: Thank you! I believe in positivity. I believe in great energy. And I believe that we are all one. Therefore, do your part and smile and you never know – that smile may make someone else’s day.
Twilight Lexicon: We always ask in interviews if you have any upcoming projects that they want the fandom to know about because – as I hope you will learn about the Twilight fandom is that we like to follow actors in other things that they do! SO what upcoming projects do you have?
Amadou: I’m working with director Jessica Goldberg on a project where I’m playing an immigrant whose story is pretty close to my personal life story. So you should totally look out for that. But at the moment we are in the early stages. I’m also writing a pilot that I’m working on and I think that’s going to be amazing. [Fans] can follow my on twitter @AmadouLy where I will keep them updated on every single thing that I’m working on. So far the fans have been lovely and very supportive. I’ve very grateful to have their presence.
Twilight Lexicon: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
Amadou: Thank you for making Breaking Dawn Part 1 number one in the world. (Note: At the time of the interview, the film was in I’s 2nd week at number 1.) It is mind blowing how they have supported Breaking Dawn 1. However, Breaking Dawn 2 is coming! It is the final. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you scared. After all, it is the end of Twilight and Twilight is a generation. You will have to go and watch Breaking Dawn 2, because generations will go by and everyone will look back and they’ll talk about Breaking Dawn 2.
Twilight Lexicon They’ll say, “Where were you when?”
Amadou: Exactly! Everyone will look back and say, “Do you remember this scene? Do you remember the fight scene? Do you remember other scenes?” And trust me, you will want to remember it because you will want to remember the momentum and the energy. Bill Condon did such an amazing job. And you have the new French coven to watch out for! And there’s a lot of other surprises! Who knows – there might be a twist coming around your way!
Twilight Lexicon: Well, we are excited for it! Thank you so much for talking with me.
Amadou: Thank you so much. I enjoyed this, and I also enjoyed the other one! (Meaning the red carpet interview.)