I told my wife [Beverly Hills 90210 alum Jennie Garth] the only gift I want is to be able to be with my family,” Peter Facinelli recently told iVillage while filming Nurse Jackie (the Showtime drama starringEdie Falco) in New York. “I wrap up the second season today, and I head home tomorrow. I’m looking forward to a break and just spending some time with my family.”
It’s no surprise that the dad of three looks forward to a little downtime with his loved ones in their L.A. home. In addition to his role as Dr. Fitch Cooper on Nurse Jackie, Facinelli also plays vampire Carlisle Cullen in the blockbuster Twilight films. Anticipating his holiday break, the 36-year-old took a moment to chat about a beloved Christmas tradition, New Moon fan requests and why he’s in favor of a fifth Twilightmovie.
The Twilight Saga has such a huge fan base. Has the experience been crazy so far?
I’m a fan of the books, too, so I understand their passion for the project and the movies. And I’m excited to be a part of the franchise and be able to have a say in how it’s made.
Are you constantly getting stopped on the street?
It’s helpful that in the movie I have blond hair and in real life I don’t. I’m able to get around a little easier than some of the others. That said, the fans know me by now and what I do look like, so I do get approached quite often.
Have you had any crazy fan requests?
Yeah, you get the, “Can you bite me?” a lot. Once in awhile I’ll bite them on the wrist for a picture. It’s fun, you know. The whole series is fun to be a part of. It’s great that they’re so excited about these movies. It would be worse if they were throwing tomatoes at us, you know what I mean?
Did you draw on your own fatherhood experience for your role as Carlisle Cullen?
Whenever you take on a role there are things you connect with and things you have to research, and for me, being a patriarch of a family came naturally. I have a family of my own and so I understood what it was like. So it was more about working on who Carlisle was as a person and where his travels have taken him and how to get 350 years onto the screen.
Did you take on a father-figure role with your younger castmates?
I think in the first movie I was more fatherly towards them, because when you meet up with the other actors you kind of see them as their characters and they take on traits of their characters. So everyone kind of fell into who they are in the family, and my role was the patriarch. But as they got to know me more, I became more like the older brother kind of figure.
Do you all really get along?
We’re pretty much a family on and off set. After work we enjoy each other’s company. We go out to dinners. We had this experience together. There were no egos involved when we started Twilight, and there are still no egos involved, and that’s kind of nice to see that people’s heads haven’t grown. They’re still the same people we started the journey with.
What vampire superpower do you wish you had in real life?
I’d love to be able to fly — that would be cool. But I don’t know if that’s a vampire power. I mean, Carlisle’s power is compassion, and I think I got the short end of the stick. I was like, “Can’t I be compassionate and fly?” You can’t really [be] like, “Stand back! I’m going to smite you with my compassion!”
Are your three daughters Twilight fans?
They all are. I’ve got a 12-year-old [Luca Bella], a 7-year-old [Lola Ray] and a 3-year-old [Fiona Eve], and they’ve all seen Twilight. The 12-year-old and the 7-year-old have seen New Moon, and it’s exciting to be a part of a movie that my family can actually be a part of and see.
New Moon was a little intense. Was the 7-year-old scared?
No, she gets that they’re movies because of what I do. She loves the movie. She was excited to be able to go to the premiere and be able to see it.
Do they think it’s cool that you’re a celebrity?
No, because we live very down to earth… when we’re at home, we’re very regular people. It’s not any different for them than any other upbringing. But it’s kind of cool for them to be able to go to the premieres and see that and be a part of the whole Twilight Saga.
You and your wife are both famous actors. Is it hard to stay grounded in family life when you’re a part of the Hollywood scene?
No, because my wife comes from Illinois and I come from New York, and at the end of the day what we do is a job and not who we are as a people. I’m an actor, not a celebrity. I never walk around thinking I’m a celebrity. So, in that sense, we really do live a grounded lifestyle. And I wouldn’t want it any other way for my kids.
Do you have any plans for the holidays?
I’m going to take the kids skiing.
How about any holiday traditions?
We have a little village set that we put underneath the Christmas tree, and this year the kids got to build it themselves because I was out of town. Usually I help, but this year they kind of surprised me and did the whole village under the tree. It was kind of fun to come home and see that they had done it by themselves.
Do you have a New Year’s resolution for 2010?
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore because they always get broken. I also feel like if you want to change your life, there’s no time like the present. So why wait for a certain date, you know what I mean?
There’s been talk about the last Twilight book, Breaking Dawn, being split into two separate films. Can you confirm the rumors?
I don’t know. I know there are rumors. I’m in support of it. It’s a very thick book and there’s a lot going on. To scale it down to one, we would miss a lot of stuff. So, if I had a say, I would love for it to be two. That said, I haven’t heard anything about it, nor has Breaking Dawn been confirmed at all. So I think we’re all just waiting to hear what someone decides to do.
So you’re not itching for it to be over?
No, I’m a big fan of the books. So for me, it’s fun to be able to revisit Carlisle and I’m quite saddened that there’s only one more book to do. It would be great if it was broken into two.
What can fans expect from the next film, Eclipse?
Every one of these has had a different director [David Slade directs The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, opening in June] so the feel’s been a little bit different. Each one of the books progressively has more action. New Moon has some really cool action with the werewolves and the Volturi and it builds from there into the third one where the Cullens get to do some really great action stuff. And that’s fun for me, because as a Cullen we’re very reserved and always trying to fit in and look humanlike. But in Eclipse, you get to see what we’re capable of as vampires.
Who would win in a fight between Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson?
In real life? Well I’d have to go Taylor all the way on that one, just because he’s been taking karate since he was in his mother’s womb. And I’ve seen him do some back flips and some high kicks. I think that Taylor would win the fight between him and me, too.
Alright, give us the scoop. Are Rob and Kristen Stewart dating?
You know, I don’t know who my costars are dating, and I don’t ask. I mean, I don’t know who Edie Falco is dating either.
Do you get tired of people asking you that?
Yeah, I get tired of people asking me who Edie Falco is dating all the time!