In preparation for the release of the Breaking Dawn Part Two DVD, Bibliofiend writer Sam and friend aLura spoke with Chaske Spencer in downtown Chicago. Chaske plays Sam Uley in The Twilight Saga. He was eager to speak with us about his role and what’s coming up next now that the Twilight Saga film series has come to a close.
Chaske gives a detailed account of how he bonded with the cast and crew of the movies and what it was like playing Sam, the Alpha leader of the werewolves in Twilight. His interview from Bibliofiend is as follows:
Sam: Because Twilight is an adaptation, is it different playing a character that already has a fan base, compared with expectations like that?
Chaske: I didn’t know too much about Twilight before the role. It gave me a lot of freedom with my interpretation of Sam. So I didn’t really didn’t hit me until we were really at the premire ofNew Moon and didn’t realize I had a pretty good gig. No, I didn’t really feel the pressure.
S: Can you tell me about the process of getting the role? What attracted you to the character?
C: Well it was just a job. I was just knocking around the business a while and I had a few things under my belt but that was it. It was just another audition. I read. They called me back. They called me back. I read for three, all of the wolves. Embrey, Paul, Jared, and then they came back with Sam. I guess I fit the role somehow and that was kind of it, history so to speak.
S: Since you went in not knowing a lot about Sam, did you learn anything that really struck you about the character?
C: I liked the backstory in Eclipse of Sam. I went through that and I got more of a grasp on who his and where he was. I always try find the backstories. There was that blue print that Stephenie Meyer wrote for him. I just wanted him to be more than two dimensional and make some type of character with as many layers as I could get away with given with what material I received. I just tried to keep it simple, not try to overact or make it too animated, but still make him a person.
S: Did you participate in the CGI in some of the movies?
C: The only thing I did, was they laser scanned me top to bottom in a studio. Special effects was trying to get our bodies and our eyes for the wolves.
S: Was it weird seeing it post-production?
C: Yeah it was! It was weird. I remember in New Moon, I was sitting behind Alex Perez [Paul] and he turned around with this grin on his face. It was pretty cool.
S: Can you tell us about any of your favorite moments on set, not just in Breaking Dawn?
C: It’s funny, it all kind of blurs into one. I kind of get lost on what experience I had in each one. There are several ones. There was one scene where it was pouring down rain and we were stuck in this tent. It was four in the morning on this night shoot, it’s all night, and we just had a blast just talking with one another, kept ourselves entertained.
S: Were you guys close? The Pack, obviously, kind of has to be, but on set and outside set?
C: Yeah, we clicked. We’d go to dinner after work, hang out, went to Vancouver and clubs. Just hung around a lot. On set, off set. Still do.
S: Kind of away from Twilight, if you could pick any sort of role, established or a general role, what would you choose?
C: I like characters who are in a transition in their life. Which is a lot of characters. But I like the fact that they are going through something. I like the arcs and the reading material where those points are. I’m doing this movie called Desert Cathedral, which comes out later this year, and I play a detective. I changed my look, I have a mullet, goatee and I like that he was doing all this process of trying to find this person and he also had his own backstory and turmoil going on. And I liked that. It was a really good shoot.
S: Have you done anything outside of movies? Do you like TV shows or stage?
C: I did stage when I first started out. And that’s always my foundation in my mind when I do movies. When you do a film, you do a lot of films, its out of sequence and having that stage background helps me keep that arc and where that character is at that time. It’s a different beast altogether. I like doing film, it’s a different experience.
Alura: You’re ruining the glamour of it all!
C: It’s funny. Movies, when you’re actually working on them, it’s not that glamorous. We did a film where it was so cold out there, but we had to make it look warm so they took our jackets! And you had to nail that dialogue or else you were stuck there all night. You get up at four in the morning, you go to make up and work twelve hours. Not to mention the mental challenge of staying in that character for so long. I think people get the misconception of the press stuff. You see us in the magazine and stuff. It’s not glamourous, it’s just their interpretation. The actual filmmaking is hard work. But I love to do it. It’s like a circus!
S: Twilight’s done, so any new projects? You were talking about the one movie, but anything you can tell us?
C: Desert Cathedral, Winter of the Blood, and I signed on to do a movie with Brian Ward calledIndian Summer in Scotland. I have another movie after that but I can’t talk about that. It’s a challenge, since I’ve mainly been playing supporting characters and now being a lead. I’m learning how to keep that focus. Normally a supporting character, you come on do your thing and let the lead character carry the movie. It’s different.
S: With filming Twilight, you have all these characters and actors. You have core groups, but large group scenes. Is it a little different than other experiences? Especially filming something so long?
C: Yeah, it’s you are working with these people for years and hoping to God you get along. Luckily, all the pack guys got along. As for the other cast members, it was just kind of like a “hey, how ya doin?” kind of thing. We were on totally different film schedules, and I don’t even know even half the cast of Breaking Dawn. I met some of them at the premire, but we’d pass in the hotel and go “Oh hey, you must be in the cast!”. It’s different from any other film I’m gonna do. You can’t compare to Twilight. It’s a whole different level of anything. If I’m lucky, I might land something like this again, but it’s pretty rare. It was the biggest thing I could be a part of.
A: You said you did stage for a while, what was one of your favorite shows?
We did Shakespeare in a parking lot in the lower east side of New York city and what I liked about it was that I was learning about Shakespeare. No one came to see it except for junkies and bums and I loved it! I was learning a lot about the craft of acting and living on that edge of you don’t know what’s going to happen after this. You don’t know if you’re going to have that career, but you are in that moment that you’ll never experience again. And now I can talk and laugh about it. But yeah, the only ones seeing it were bums! But they were awesome, they were great and supported us all the way. They’d talk through it and some of them were really intelligent. Who knew what their lives were like? That’s what I like about New York city. You meet all these kinds of characters that you are very connected with without not necessarily meaning to be.