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Exclusive interview with a vampire: Peter Facinelli reflects on his “Twilight Saga” years

Now known for playing altruistic coven leader Dr. Carlisle Cullen in “The Twilight Saga” movies, actor Peter Facinelli is busily branching out into screenwriting and producing with his own production company.
BY BRANDY McDONNELL Published: November 22, 2011

Peter Facinelli looks forward to emerging from the shadows of “Twilight.”

“I spent so much time trying to stay out of the sun because the more color you have, the more makeup you had to wear. You had to put more coats of paint on your face to look paler. So I remember going to like my daughter's soccer game — I looked like the Unabomber because I'd have a hood and glasses. And then literally like the sun would come out and I'd feel myself slinking into the shade. So it was kind of nice when I went to the Maldives this summer and I didn't have to worry about that, just baked in the sun,” he said with a smile during a recent news conference promoting “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1.”

The fourth and penultimate film in the blockbuster franchise based on Stephenie Meyer's popular paranormal book series, “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” opened in theaters Friday, sending hordes of fervent fans known as “Twi-hards” flocking to cinemas for midnight screenings.

Since 2008, Facinelli, who turns 38 Saturday, has played the part of Dr. Carlisle Cullen, the compassionate vampire patriarch and creator of “Twilight” hero Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who complicates the coven's lives when he falls in love with a human, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).

Despite the inconvenience of concealing his Italian-American coloring under layers of vampire-pale makeup, Facinelli said in a one-on-one interview that “The Twilight Saga” has changed his life for the busier — and “busy's good.”

“It's really been a whirlwind. I mean, we've shot five movies in three years, and I can't believe how fast we've done it all. I haven't really taken it all in that it's over 'cause it feels like it's not; we still have this movie and the next movie. I think after the next movie it'll feel, like, complete. But it feels like part of it is over — I mean the filming process — but I'll still see these cast members for another year or so before they never return my calls again,” he said with a laugh, sitting with his feet casually propped up in a swanky room at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Director Bill Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg split Meyer's weighty fourth and final novel into two movies that filmed concurrently. While fans won't get to see “Breaking Dawn — Part 2” for another year, the cast already has filmed their final scenes. Even before they started shooting two films at the same time, Facinelli said the scale of “Twilight” grew with the fan furor surrounding it.

“I remember going to see Rob Pattinson play guitar at some little bar. That stopped quickly after the first movie came out, and it got harder as each movie came along to actually go out.”

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