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Quendrith Johnson


Quendrith Johnson is filmfestivals.com Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Mike Welch from Twilight's Eclipse Dishes Rob Pattinson

Interview: Michael Welch on “Twi-Hards” and Not Getting Robert Pattinson's Role, PS

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Twilight’s Michael Welch, 23, is only human. While Robert Pattinson gets to be main squeeze vampire to Kristen Stewart’s Bella, Welch admits “my character stays human in all three movies, well, hopefully four movies -- there are four books.”

Since the Santa Clarita, CA, native became an actor “at age 10,” he has been counting his lucky scars ever since. You can get roughed up as a child star in Hollywood, Welch pointed out when hitting fame first made him bloggy. 

“Michael Welch Online” was filled with “My Favorite Color is Blue. I’m a drummer. I only watch sports during playoffs” and “TWI-HARDS RULE!!!” before the reality that “Twi-hards” the world over made the first movie a bona fide mega smash hit. He even used to worry whether that the Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses his mother got him were “too Hollywood.” He signed just “Mike.”

Now on a roll, he is more circumspect. Twilight’s New Moon and Eclipse, the sequels, are being shot back-to-back. Welch wrapped his scenes in Moon and is set to shoot Eclipse in August. 

When we caught up with him, the actor’s hair color was just returning to normal; in the Twilight franchise, it is a shade lighter than Mike’s. He was doing the red carpet for an indie film called Lost Dream (co-starring Melrose Place’s Shaun Sipos) that he shot before Twilight. “Hey, it’s the only film I’ve been a lead in,” he said. “I was in almost every scene.”

Here’s what the un-requited crush-on-Bella Twlight star shared with Fancast:

Q: So you were on Joan of Arcadia?

Michael Welch: First several years of my career were all in television. I played as guest star on all kinds of shows.

Q: Like CSI?

Yeah. I’ve been in CSI twice, CSI Miami, Law & Order SVU, all kinds of stuff. Then when I was 15, I got very lucky and got to be on a great show called Joan of Arcadia, which you mentioned. That lasted two years, and opened all kinds of doors for me in independent films for the next two or three years. Like this one, Lost Dream.

Q: You did this before Twilight?

Before Twilight.

Q: Did this producer get lucky or what?

I got lucky.

Q: How was the casting session for Twilight?

Well, I originally auditioned for the Robert Pattinson role, Edward.

Q: Do you secretly hate that guy?

No. Not at all. He is an amazing guy. I didn’t have a good audition for that, let’s be honest. But eventually they found the right fit for me. For the final audition Justin, director Catherine Hardwicke (and others), Kristen was there too.

Q: Did Kristen have a say in whether you got the part?

Yeah, I would say she probably had some input.

Q: Were you bummed that you didn’t get to be a vampire?

No. I’m cool with being a human. I think that the humans -- although our role is much smaller and less significant than the vampires -- I do feel that we have an important role to play in the lead character Bella’s life, so you can go along with the fantasy because it is grounded in reality.

Q: Are you blown away at how big it became?

I sort of had the sense it was going to be pretty popular, but you can’t really anticipate that kind of reaction.

Q: You’re shooting New Moon already?

I finished my role in New Moon. They’re are doing it quickly. The third one is shooting in August. 

Q: Will there be a surprise where you’ll become a vampire?

No. I don’t become a vampire. I’m human in all four books. And should be in all four movies. I am unaware of the whole vampire world.

Q: So Robert Pattinson is sort of the tabloid favorite lately, how do you feel about that - do you still hang out, talk?

It’s hard to get a hold of Rob these days. But I can tell you he is a very cool guy -- I mean that in all sincerity. He is a quirky, funny, British guy. Most British actors are trained in theater.

Q: Do you have all these offers now?

Yes, there are a few things up in the air -- but nothing I want to mention in case it falls through. Another film is coming out, My Suicide, which I did years ago. Joe Montagne has a cameo in it. Lots of names it in.

Q: Are you freaked out by fame yet?

Fame is not why I am in this business. But I certainly welcome it with open arms.

FADE OUT

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