With The Twilight Saga: New Moon coming out in 3 days,or 2 if your going to see the midnight showing Thursday, every Twi-hard is on edge about how the film will turn out. In this interview, Billy Burke, who plays Charlie Swan, dishes about the movie, his relationship with Kristen, and his hidden affair with Rob.
Have you seen the rough cut of New Moon?
Billy: I have, as a matter of fact. It’s a beautiful film; it looks a painting. I think it’s a step up from the first film, although the first film created the world. New Moon stays within that world. I think Chris Weitz has done a really, really fine job. He’s actually one of my favorite directors that I’ve worked with in the past, say 10 years. A good director hires the right cast, and mostly leaves them alone to let them do what they do. In his position, he didn’t really have a choice of the cast since the cast was already there, but he had such a fine respect for not only the movie itself, and the world, but the actors and their knowledge of their roles. He really handled it well, and he’s just a really classy guy.
What were some of your favorite memories from the set?
Billy: I kind of swim in and out. Most of the cast is up there 24/7. I get lucky, I get to be there 2 weeks to work and then go away. I’m not really around for any of the hijinx, if there is any at all. I don’t really have any stories of mayhem. I can tell you that when I am up there and we do have free time, the cast does spend time together and we go have dinners and have some drinks and stuff. We all get along pretty well. There’s not really anyone objectionable in the bunch.
While addressing the Kristen and Rob romance rumors in the past, you actually came clean about your affair with Rob.
Billy: I was just really surprised that no one picked up on that. Yeah. I feel sorry for the rest of the cast. Because they can’t walk by us without us pretending we’re not holding hands or staring deeply into each others hair. It’s rough; it’s a tough thing to hide. It seems that none of the tabloids have picked up on it yet, so I guess we’re doing a good job.
Are there any similarities between you and Charlie in New Moon?
Billy: Not one. I do tend to play a lot of cops, so I’m familiar with that sort of authoritative mentality. And I am a new father, I’ve got a 15-month old daughter, which is sort of a parallel. But I didn’t have that daughter until after we filmed Twilight, so about fatherhood, I was completely guessing. Charlie likes to hunt and fish and watch a lot of sports and I do none of those things. I am a total theater, rock and roll geek.
Now that you’ve fathered a baby girl, did that change your perspective of playing the role of a father?
Billy: I don’t know if it did consciously or not, but I’m sure that some of that does seep in. Some of the heartstrings that get pulled on, I mean. I noticed the other day when I got home, because I haven’t seen my daughter in a couple of weeks, and when I got home, I just realized that when you’re a father, there is no better word in the English language than the word “daddy” spoken by your daughter. I mean it kills you, every single time. I guess during the second and third movies, I did have a better appreciation for Charlies’ relationship with Bella.
What was the most challenging scene to shoot?
Billy: To be honest, there were no challenging scenes. Making these movies has now become sort of being on a television show. You get so comfortable with the role and with the crew and cast that its kind of like going and laying in a comfortable bed.
The scenes between Charlie and Bella are a bit more intense than they were in Twilight. Was that easier to shoot since you and Kristen had already built a working relationship?
Billy: It was for me. I hope it was for her. Kristen and I tend to have a pretty automatic comfortable relationship anyway. I feel like as actors, we feel safe in the environment, and we feel safe with each other. I hope that I made her feel the same. She had a lot of work to do in New Moon; it was a very emotional film for her. So I can say that it was for me, and I hope it was for her.
Did you have an opportunity to form an individual bond with each member of the cast?
Billy: We’re friends. Facinelli and I are friendly and Rob and I will go out and have a drink every once in a while. I didn’t really get to form a bond with anybody else, because we all have pretty varied and busy lives. I speak for myself, having a 15-month year old daughter is a whole other world.
Since you recently finished up Eclipse, I have to ask..out of Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse what movie has been your favorite to film?
Billy: Probably New Moon. It felt the most comfortable to me, the most relaxed. It was that situation where everybody knew each other and the director was relaxed and comfortable with what was going on. So probably New Moon. Not that the third one was uncomfortable. But if I had to make a choice, it would be New Moon.
You are currently filming “Highland Park”. Can you tell me a bit about the movie?
Billy: It’s written and directed by a brand new director named Andrew Meieran. It’s sort of a comedy with political commentary. The backbone of the story is actually about the real Highland Park, which is a city within the city limits of Detroit. In that last 10 years or so, the economy has really hit it hard, and everything is getting decimated, so this story follows a group of high school faculty members who, for the past ten years, have been buying lottery tickets. The day that their numbers come up, finally, they start spending all of the money, and then they discover that the who was supposed to have bought the ticket, didn’t this time. Their not winners but they still, with all of their pretend money, try to fix up the town and try to create a new program to get it back on speed. It’s got a lot of heart; it’s got a great cast, a bunch of great folks. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, but we had fun making it.
It’s interesting that you’re filming a movie like that, when our economy is that way right now.
Billy: Oh I know, it’s very timely. The film is actually going to help restore the library that we’re restoring in the movie. It’s pretty cool. The films actually bringing money toward the town. It’s a great thing to be a part of.
Can you tell me about the character you portray in the movie?
Billy: My name’s Lloyd and I’m the principle of the high school, and sort of the moral compass of the film. When everybody starts going nuts I try to keep them grounded and make sure that we stay on the right path when we come into this accidental, yet fake money.
What drew you to that role?
Billy: This guy has a lot of real optimism, and I don’t get to play that role very often. I’m usually being chased, chasing somebody, or in some other form of action. I also thought the film had a lot of heart, and just had a lot of great things going on with the banks and the economy and everyone’s getting screwed and the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting shafted. That’s what I really liked about it.
Do you have any projects in the works after Highland Park?
Billy: I’m looking at a couple of things, but I’m also looking at the possibility of not looking until the first of the year, and just hanging out with my baby.
Would you like to send a message to your fans?
Billy: Look, this whole thing has just been a bonus for me. I feel like I got a nice comfortable seat on a really great train. The fans of the books and of the movies have been nothing but sweet and engaging and really supportive. I would like to let them know that I know that and I appreciate it, and as long as they’ll keep having me, I’ll keep coming back.