LOS ANGELES — 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.”
By the time they got to “Breaking Dawn,” security was so tight that sometimes he couldn't even get in touch with his fellow vampire actors.
“I didn't know what room Kellan Lutz was staying in, so I went to the front desk and I said, ‘Hey, what room is Kellan in?' And they were like, ‘Oh, well, we're not allowed to say.' I was like, ‘Yeah, but you know who I am; I, like, play his father.' And they were like, ‘Yeah, but we're under strict orders.' And we were all under fictitious names, and I didn't know his fictitious name,” he said with a grin. “So he was staying in the same hotel, and I couldn't even get ahold of him.”
Although “The Twilight Saga” has been a big part of his life for the past few years, the native New Yorker has stayed busy with other projects, including playing another doctor on Showtime's acclaimed dark comedy series “Nurse Jackie.” Last year, he started a production company, Facinelli Films, which has several projects in development.
He wrote, produced and starred in his company's first feature, “Loosies,” about a freewheeling pickpocket who re-evaluates his life after a one-night stand leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Co-starring Michael Madsen, Jaimie Alexander and Joe Pantoliano, the dramatic comedy will open in theaters in January but is available for rent through SundanceNOW and iTunes.
“I think that's kind of the wave of the future. ... VOD just reaches a broader audience because everyone has it in their homes,” he said. “I'm proud of that one 'cause that was the second script I wrote, and it all takes place in New York. It was kind of my homage to New York.”
As his time with “Twilight” nears its end, Facinelli said he will take away at least one gem of wisdom from his experience.
“Staying out of the sun makes you youthful,” he said with a grin.