After the third installment in “The Twilight Saga” went into production, a new addition to the cast was announced: Xavier Samuel, who would come to play newborn vampire Riley
. Though he was, back then, an actor few had heard of before, all this is about to change once “Eclipse” arrives in theaters in most territories today and he is officially incorporated in the juggernaut that is known as the Twilight phenomenon.
Talking to CityNews.ca
about how he came to be a part of the “Twilight” family, Xavier recalls auditioning for the part was something he did out of a whim more, instead of conviction that he’d actually get the part. He hadn’t even read the original books when he presented himself to producers to audition for Riley, though he admits that he had heard of the film. Now that he’s had the chance to work on one installment in the series, Xavier can understand better the audience’s fascination with vampires and the unique love story / triangle in “Twilight.”
“I knew that it was very popular and I had seen the lunchboxes and pillow cases, and it was on the back of buses everywhere, but I think I was the only one on the face of the planet who hadn't read the books. So [when I got the part] I ran to the bookstore and read them very quickly and it's safe to say I’m a big fan now. The complexity [of the character is what drew me to the part]. He’s not a two-dimensional villain – he’s still got human blood pumping through his veins. He’s kind of a tragic figure in a way because he’s being manipulated and seduced, and will do anything for love even if it means assembling a newborn army of bloodthirsty vicious vampires. He’s had his humanity snatched from him and as a result has this intense jealousy and rage,” the actor says of his contribution to the franchise.
As fans must know, Riley is a newborn created by Victoria, the vampiress on a quest for revenge after Edward killed her mate in “Twilight.” To get it, she must kill Edward’s lover, Bella, who also happens to be a mortal. In Stephenie Meyer’s novels, Victoria uses Riley to create an entire army of newborns, whom she leads to Forks to wipe out all the humans in it. It’s precisely this looming threat that will make “Eclipse” a better film, Xavier says, and also why he’s had to work hard for his part, because of the physical aspect of it.
“Going to the gym and learning all the stunts was kind of fun. The challenges were living up to the character and really delivering. So it was remaining as focused as possible and doing the best job as possible. And fighting with imaginary wolves of course. [Eclipse is] more action-packed and the stakes are much higher now that Bella has this choice to make. One of the exciting things about the whole saga is that each time there’s a new director and they bring their own interpretation and aesthetic to the film. David Slade really has this fierce grip on the dark side of the film and if you watch something like Hard Candy, which was another one of his films, the performances are so well measured. He’s really an actor’s director [and] it’s really a film as opposed to a movie,” Xavier further says.