Alex Meraz. Photo by John Russo.
Had you seen the first Twilight movie?
No, I hadn’t, but after I got the role, I bought a bootlegged version and watched it while I was on set.
What was your favorite scene to shoot?
The cliff diving scene was the most fun because the whole Wolf Pack was there and we were jumping off these 50-foot scaffolding things onto an air mattress. It was pretty exciting to be able to do our own stunts.
You didn’t have stunt doubles at all?
No! They were pushing for it, we were pushing against; we wanted to do our own stuff. We had to train for a good two days, eight hours each day just practicing jumping, making sure we were landing safely. On the day [of shooting], we were actually jumping from a green screen cliff but it was actually taller and a little bit more dangerous because there was foliage and grass on top of it—it was a little slippery. We were fine, and it was really fun.
What was it like having to come together and bond as the Wolf Pack?
We were entirely new, and it was a lot easier. We relied on each other to get through everything. There was so much to learn, but it was organic. We spent a lot of time together at the gym, and that’s what helped. As far as the original cast from Twilight, they were really cool. We didn’t spend much time with them because all of our scenes were really just with the Wolf Pack. It was easy.
Taylor [Lautner] did have some experience from the first film …
His bigger role was coming in New Moon, so he was new to it, too. We kind of all learned together. Taylor’s an amazing person. He really knows how to even everything out for himself—the work, the play, the socializing. He’s a really smart guy. I look at him as being a little man.
What did you do during your downtime on the set?
We showed each other exercises. Taylor would show some of his workout, I would show some of mine. We’d practice martial arts tricks … just goof off! We had a great time. That’s part of what our characters were like anyway. We’re supposed to be frisky, friendly—like brothers. I think everyone on set was affected by it because they were always looking forward to the days when the Wolf Pack would film … everyone was really excited. They knew we were going to bring a different kind of energy.
Did you receive any guidance from any of the other actors on set?
At that point, you’ve got yourself a job. There’s nothing that anyone else is really going to teach you. I didn’t have anyone holding my hand when I did the audition. What I did to get the job is what I had to do on film. In terms of everything else that was coming with that, with the fame and all of that stuff, [director] Chris Weitz and Kristen [Stewart] had the best advice to give me.
Can you say what that was?
Not really. It was between me and them.
Fair enough. Well, have you seen the finished film?
Are you going to see it with the wolves?
At this point, I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’s what they promised us, though. [Laughs]
What was it like filming the third installment, Eclipse?
It was no pressure. The pressure was doing the job on the first one, trying to understand the character. On this one, I felt a little bit more comfortable with what I was doing. I already knew the cast, so it was a lot easier.
Has much changed since you’ve started filming the Twilight movies?
Well, I’ve got a lot more family members now! [Laughs] I don’t know, people say after the movie opens things are really going to change. I’m getting a lot of meetings with really great directors and producers—people I really admire. It’s a really good gig to have. The fans are amazing. They’re really the ones that are changing everything for each actor.
You have thousands of Twitter followers …
I know! It’s only been like a week and a half since I got my Twitter [account]! It’s pretty cool. For the first week, no one believed it was me, so I had to put a picture of me holding my name. It looked like a mug shot! It was pretty ridiculous, but it’s really cool knowing you have really enthusiastic fans that want to hear about what you do on a day-to-day basis.
What is it like now having all of this crazy press attention?
I’ve been doing a lot more interviews. I was a little more intimidated by it all about four months ago when I finished wrapping New Moon, but I’ve been doing smaller interviews and going to red-carpet premieres and things like that. I’ve gotten used to it; I call it my new “norm.” But a few months ago I was pretty terrified. It was shocking to me. Now it’s part of what I have to do. This franchise demands it. I had to do classes—P.R. classes—just recently. That kind of strengthened all that! I just try to have fun and be myself.
Are you up for some wordplay? Please give me one word that describes some of the New Moon actors starting with the Wolf Pack. OK, Bronson Pelletier [who plays “Jared”] …
Aw, man. [Laughs] Jokester!
Kiowa Gordon [aka “Embry Call”].
Bewilderment. [Laughs] He’s always thrust in these crazy situations that … he’s pretty young. At 19, I didn’t have these crazy things. I mean, I’m 24—I consider myself a man. I have a wife, a son, and I’ve had some practical life experience. This kid just got thrown into it, so it’s new to him. To me he always has this bewilderment about him.
Tyson Houseman [“Quil Ateara”].
He’ll know what this means. Vespa. Scooter.
Taylor Lautner [“Jacob Black”]
Gil Birmingham [“Billy Black”].
One word is really hard. I would say … intuitive.
Chaske Spencer [“Sam Uley”].
Aw man, love him. Wisdom.
Kristen Stewart [“Bella Swan”].
Aw, she’s awesome. I would say badass.
Rob Pattinson [“Edward Cullen’].