As you most likely know, the last Twilight film. Breaking Dawn Part 2, has made its way to DVD and Blu-ray, with shows just after midnight this morning to mark the occasion. But if you missed the news, the Irish coven has been spreading the word.
Members of the coven — vampires from Ireland who joined forces with the Cullen clan for the final movie — were played by Patrick Brennan, Marlane Barnes and Akron’s own Lisa Howard; the actors came to Cleveland recently on a promotional tour for the home-video release.
A quick tour, in fact. Howard said they were so busy with interviews that she could not squeeze in a trip down to Akron. And Barnes was disappointed that she would not get to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum or the Christmas Story house.
“I grew up watching A Christmas Story,” she said. She even bought leg-lamp wrapping paper not long ago. “Everyone in my family is going to have their gifts wrapped with it.”
The actors’ roles in the movie were small but grueling, since they included taking part in the huge action sequence that climaxes the film.
“It took weeks and weeks and weeks of standing there in the snow,” Howard said. “I think it’s about a 20-minute sequence, and it was a lot of choreography and stunt work. But I think it paid off.”
And the impact of being anywhere in something Twilight-related was swiftly felt. “I’ve had a lot of press,” said Howard. And “people definitely come out of the woodwork. Like especially people I went to [Firestone] high school with. They’ll see me and I’ll get a random message on Facebook saying, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ ’’
And she said, “It has opened doors for more auditions for film and TV stuff, which is great.”
“Being in a recognizable franchise is always helpful, no matter where you’re trying to take your career,” said Barnes. “Having any kind of international distribution is attractive, especially to independent films. I can’t say that it’s directly connected … but shortly after making this film I did two independent films back-to-back, so I can’t image that [Twilight] role wasn’t helpful.”
“Maybe I’m not just hip, or with it,” Brennan said, “but I didn’t realize how big it was. I knew it was a big deal but I didn’t know how big of a deal.”
Then came his first Twilight fan convention.
“I was getting ready to do this Q&A, and I walk out, and there’s this huge roar from the crowd,” he said. “Like you’re a Beatle or something.”
And that’s especially fortunate for someone who, like Brennan, “was really struggling as an actor. I think I had a job interview that day (he was cast) to deliver pizzas or something crazy like that.”
Some other nuggets from the chats:
Family Ties. Brennan is the older son of Eileen Brennan, a much-admired actress and an Oscar nominee for Private Benjamin, whose long list of credits also includes The Sting and recurring roles on Will & Grace and 7th Heaven.
Now 80, she “is having a tough time,” Patrick said. “But we laugh a lot. And we sing a lot.”
Patrick was born Patrick Lampson, but changed to Brennan in part because “my father wasn’t in the picture much, and my mother raised me. I felt much more connected to Brennan. It had nothing to do with acting. It was just something I’d always wanted to do …” And when anyone mentions how much they admire his mother’s work, Brennan said, “It means a lot.”
Matters of Size. When Howard talked with the Beacon Journal’s Kerry Clawson last year, Howard noted that: “I’m a plus-sized model in New York. I’m tall. I’m curvy. There aren’t many written characters, especially in movies, that are for tall, voluptuous, statuesque women.” In fact, women’s size has been part of recent debates about actresses like Lena Dunham and Melissa McCarthy. So what is it going to take to change thinking?
“Who knows? I wish I did have the answer,” she said. “I’m just fortunate that I’ve been given the chances that I’ve had. The roles that I do get are just based on who I am as a person and an actor.”
The One-Take Movie. Those two films Barnes did after Breaking Dawn are Sake-Bomb and Somebody Marry Me, both hitting the festival circuit (with Sake-Bomb already booked at the SXSW fest). Somebody Marry Me is already claiming a place in cinema history.
“It broke the record for the longest single take,” she said. “It’s a 98-minute feature, and there’s one take. [The director] said ‘Action’ once, and ‘Cut’ once.”
That’s a big change for people used to the start and stop of movies, but Barnes said, “I come from theater, and they specifically were looking for theater actors. We rehearsed the film for three weeks before we shot anything, so all of the acting choices were in place. … You start, and it’s just like a play.”
Looking Elsewhere. Asked if he had a chance to see Breaking Dawn 2 with regular moviegoers, Brennan said: “I have a funny thing about that. … Even though I have a small part — I’ve never been comfortable watching myself at all. I’d never go to see myself in a movie … Ever.”
Stage Love. Barnes is not alone in having stage credits, and Howard and Brennan both want to get back on the boards soon.
Howard said she recently shot a horror film, but “I’m hoping to do a show called It Shoulda Been You in New York in the fall. Keep your fingers crossed that that actually happens. … It’s a musical comedy. It revolves around a wedding. I play the sister of the bride, but I can’t say too much. It’s really fun. When we did it at the George Street theater (in New Jersey), Tyne Daly played my mother, Harriet Harris was the mother of the groom, Richard Kline was in it. It was a great cast.” (And David Hyde Pierce directed.)
Brennan has a movie called The Harbor, a crime thriller from writer-producer-director Bobby Moresco (Crash), who is also Brennan’s father-in-law. “But the thing I’m really, really excited about is a new play I’m going to be doing called Drift. It’s going to be done out in Los Angeles, from this genius, beautiful playwright. … When I get back to L.A., we’re going to get in front of the money people and do a staged reading. That’s kind of been my passion for the last couple of years. … We’ve been work-shopping, literally for two years, and now it’s in a place where we’re ready to go.”
Speaking for a Cause. Barnes, for one, discovered that she picked up a lot of Twitter followers after Twlight. (She has about 10,000.) And she saw in that an opportunity to support some causes: She is a spokesperson for the SpayFirst! organization and actively supports animal rescue efforts. “Having that following inspired me to do more … now that I have so many people that are interested in what I am up to,” she said. “I hear little things about ‘Oh, you inspired me.’ Give me just one person that says, ‘I’ve gone to a shelter instead of a breeder,’ and I feel like I’ve done my job. … It’s nice to spread that message.”
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.