Charlie Bewley is best known for his role as the vampire Demetri in The Twilight Saga or as the vampire hunter Galen Vaughn in The Vampire Diaries, as well as the Viking leader Steinar in the ultra-violent fantasy flick, Hammer of the Gods. Starburst caught up with him to find out what he’s up to.
Tell us a bit about Hammer of the Gods...
It’s a visceral, barbaric bloodfest of Saxon proportions. I play Steinar, a Viking who eschews the more superstitious beliefs common to your typical Viking. He can do this because he’s a prince and this altered mindset gets him into a lot of trouble, which is why he gets sent into the Welsh hills to go and find his brother, and things get pretty hairy. Luckily he has his band of brothers alongside him to back him up.
There is a lot of blood and violence in it. What was it like to do the fight scenes?
A lot of that blood was put in post, so it wasn’t as bad as it looks. It was a lot of fun; we filmed five fight scenes in very, very quick succession. Hats off to Richard Ryan the stunt co-ordinator who was just phenomenal from start to finish. He has an absolute plethora of knowledge for all things fight related, his swordsmanship really helped me develop Steinar, who wields a longsword. We had a bit of a license to explore the weapons and we got to improvise and have fun. It’s more an action movie than a historical re-enactment, certainly.
Would you describe it as more of a fantasy movie than a historical movie?
Very much so. It’s not trying to be factual exploration into what it was like to be a Viking, we’ve all seen that movie a bunch of times. It’s a fun movie for crying out loud, it’s a punchy British feature with a contemporary feel to it, and I think combined with the Viking thing it makes it really enjoyable.
You’re better known for your urban fantasy roles, what is the appeal of playing vampires and the like?
I am fascinated with the fine line between reality and fantasy. Anything that allows you to give a degree of creative license to a character without someone else saying that’s not true, I love that exploration. I want to play characters that can do the impossible and I think there’s a real future in that sort of role.
With Demetri, I had the framework of the character mapped out for me; it was in the books for me to research. No one seemed to care too much about this minor character so I really got to elaborate on that and make him my own. I wasn’t as pressured by the fandom as much as others were, and I felt sorry for those who were. I got to have a lot of fun with Demetri and no one really batted an eyelid.
How did the Twilight fans respond to your take on Demetri?
Really well. There’s quite a special group of fans who are a little bit off the wall and it really resonated with them. When I look at my career and what’s in front of me, I don’t really want it to be normal. I’m not interested in playing it safe at all, I’d rather make mistakes and create things that haven’t happened before. The line between fantasy and reality is where I draw my inspiration.
Did you apply the same methods to Vaughn, your hunter character from Vampire Diaries?
Once again I had a degree of flexibility. They wanted him to be Scottish, and they had to reel me in because they couldn’t understand what I was saying. This character had been in the wilderness for twelve years, so there’s a sort of craziness that comes with that so I got to play along those lines with that.
Do you have any other genre style roles lined up? What would your ideal role be?
There is. I’ve recently fallen into a world of heaven and hell, and angels and demons. In terms of super powers, it’s more elemental and mythological. Not to be too vague, I did pick up a book called Hellbound recently, which isn’t based on the Chuck Norris movie but is by a writer called Tim Hawkens and is centred on a guy who wakes up to be greeted by a charismatic being who slowly reveals to him that he has ended up in hell. It’s a very quick read, and it’s certainly the sort of thing I’m looking to play next.
If I was to pick a role, it would be along the lines of Neo in The Matrix. That is for me the ultimate in fantasy roles. Watching that movie I got so taken by it because it could almost be real. It’s so drenched in philosophy and modern day metaphor. Keanu Reeves plays a great conduit for the audience in terms of letting people step into a fantasy world. The Matrix is such a good movie.
Tell us a bit about Thunder Road.
It’s a very visceral portrayal of veteran life, one which we believe has not been represented thus far because of the way movies are made these days. We have a script ready to go and we’ve launched the Kickstarter, which we hope will raise funds for filming next year. It’s about three soldiers returning from multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real life struggles they face assimilating into society. It’s not all doom and gloom, there’s hope and a resolution by the end of it. I must stress that everything in that movie, even though the tale itself is fictional, every aspect of it is fully researched and taken from true accounts of veteran soldiers.
Is there anyone you really want to work with?
There are so many great directors out there. Right now, Guillermo del Toro is really making some fantastic worlds and I’d love to be a part of that. I also really like what Warner Brothers have done recently. Anyone who can craft different worlds and put me in them, really.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one book for company, what would that book be?
Let me check my Kindle; I have Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception, The Attention Revolution by B. Alan Wallace and Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. Oh and Hellbound. So that’s what I would have if I didn’t get to choose. This is a tough question. I really like Carlos Castenda , who’s a guy who learned a lot about consciousness and spirituality. So I’d have to say The Power of Silence by Carlos Castenda. It’s tough going but I think it’d be an inspiring read if you were trapped on a desert island.
The Simpsons or Futurama?
Thor or Loki?
Buffy or Dracula?
Truth or Beauty?
Beauty is in the truth.
HAMMER OF THE GODS hits DVD/Blu-ray in the UK on September 2nd and can be pre-ordered below.