To celebrate the release of ‘Twilight’ on DVD, Rachelle Lefevre who plays bad-girl vampire Victoria in ‘Twilight’ talks to RTÉ.ie’s Taragh Loughrey-Grant about the film, Dublin, her ‘Tudors’ boyfriend and plans for the future.
RTÉ.ie’s Taragh Loughrey-Grant: When did you first realise that ‘Twilight’ was such an enormous hit?
Rachelle Lefevre: At first we couldn’t believe it. When I first set out to be an actor, I just prayed for steady work. I think the first time we realised it had gotten so popular was when we went to Comi-Con back in July.
We were told it’s a huge comic book convention and there were huge films that were going to be there; Hugh Jackman was there with 'Wolverine' and 'The Watchmen' was there to present their films, 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' was there. So we just expected to be this small vampire film and that we would answer some questions and then we would leave.
Then when we got there our hall, which held 6,000 people was full and had an extra 500 people stacked against the walls for standing room only and we were told most of them had been camping out overnight and it was the biggest panel there, bigger then the one for 'Iron Man'! We were like "What??". Then when they brought us in to the actual auditorium, we were behind a wall before they called out our names and when they introduced us we could hear all of this screaming and this din of excitement and we were like: "Oh my God, I think our movie might be really big!"
TLG: How have you dealt with your new-found fame?
RL: I think for me and the rest of the cast this was not a project that we signed on and knew we’d hit the jackpot. We sort of discovered it all together. The first scene we all shot was the baseball scene and now we joke with each other: "Do you remember when we were just these kids dressed up as vampires, playing baseball!" We used to go to dinner together each evening and we couldn’t get a table because there were too many of us and no one knew who we were and nobody cared.
I think if we had tried to get a table saying we were in this movie, people would have laughed at us. Then there was this slow realisation that was going to change certain parts of our lives. It happened slowly and to us as a group, so there was no room for anyone’s ego to rage ahead of anyone else.
TLG: You’ve spent some time in Ireland since the release of the film…
RL: I was there with my boyfriend, Jamie Thomas King who starred in 'The Tudors', he played Thomas Wyatt. I spent a lot of time in Dublin and in Bray, where they shot 'The Tudors' [in Ardmore Studios]. And of course with your boy Johnny [Jonathan Rhys Meyers], who was really charming, he’s got a twinkle in his eye, doesn’t he? He says 'hello' like he’s trying to tell you he’s just really sweet but I ain’t buying [she says laughing].
We had a great time, we went to Galway and Connemara spent a lot of time hiking and walking around the shore. It was just phenomenal. You know where I loved [then shouting over to her boyfriend who was at home with her in Canada – "Baby, what was the name of that amazing fishing town, remember we took the train and I had that bread that I lost my head over?" "Howth" was Jamie's reply]. Yeah Howth. It was just incredible, we went hiking and they had this market and I tucked into this soda bread and we devoured our fish and chips. I get it now...when you’re in the rain and chilled to the bone, eating something that’s warm and deep-fried is the most comforting thing you can do!
TLG: So you’ll come back again?
RL: I hope so, my grandmother’s actually from Northern Ireland. I don’t remember exactly the name...we tried to find her birth records so I could get an Irish passport and be able to work in the EU but the hospital where she was born burnt down so I couldn’t find them. My father will be very upset that I couldn’t remember the name of the small town where she's from but her last name was Hanna, a good Irish name.
TLG: What attracted you to the role of Victoria and how did you get cast?
RL: The thing that I really loved about it is that so many roles for women in TV involve them being the girlfriend of somebody, or the object of affection or the sidekick, as it were. The thing that I loved about Victoria is that it didn’t come across that way to me at all. Even though she is James’ mate, Stephenie [Meyer, author of the 'Twilight' books upon which the films are based] never wrote about Victoria as though she was beholden to him in any way. Laurent, James and Victoria are all individual and independent. I loved the idea of playing a woman who embraced her own power. When I auditioned I knew I really wanted it and I met Catherine [Hardwicke, the director] and we got on so well. After my audition I wrote her a letter about why I wanted the role so badly and I felt about the character and why I loved the books and how I loved her films 'Thirteen' and 'Lords of Dogtown'. It turns out she liked my audition so she went to bat for me.
I think sometimes there’s a notion that if we work hard, someone is supposed to notice our hard work. I always joke that, being Canadian, Canada is the go-between the self-deprecating European sensibility and the North American sensibility but I think there’s nothing wrong with letting someone know that you want something and that you’re capable of doing it.
TLG: Do you believe the metaphor of the vampire thirst for blood, being like a coming-of-age of teenage sexuality?
RL: I agree completely. People talk about the metaphor and in terms of the coming of age twist that Stephanie has put on it is for me the thing the stood out. It seemed to pose the question that as you get older and become an adolescent your boundaries fall away in some areas, you’ve less limitations and you’re allowed more autonomy. When you can make more of your own choices, what sort of choices are you going to make? I think that’s a question every teenager asks themselves. I think she asks those questions through Edward [played by Robert Pattinson] – she keeps insisting that he’s the good knight but he keeps insisting that he’s the bad.
RTÉ.ie’s TLG: Filming on 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' has already started?
RL: Yes, I go up mid April.
RTÉ.ie’s TLG: Will we learn more about your character, Victoria this time around?
RL: Yes, in the book the only time you see Victoria is the one time in the water where you see this flash of red hair but one of the things which they did in 'Twilight' and they’re also doing in 'New Moon' and I believe in 'Eclipse' [the third book in Meyer's series] is show more of the action than Bella [played by Kirsten Stewart] actually sees in the book.
For example the fight scene at the end of 'Twilight' Bella is unconscious for the end bit so she only heard about it afterwards. She doesn’t actually see it and the book is told through from her point of view but they show everything as it’s happening in real time and so 'New Moon' is similar as there are a lot of action sequences showing the vampires and the werewolves, with Victoria and Laurent. So action sequences that are in the book, or alluded to in the book, are actually shown, so I have some fun stuff to do.
Thanks for talking to RTÉ.ie