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    Peter Facinelli Talks 'Twilight's' Carlisle, His Headbutting Daughter and Love for Count Chocula

    March 24, 2010
    By Ryan McKee

    With hundreds of Twi-hards outside on the sidewalk eagerly awaiting the DVD release party for 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon,' we are led into the back offices of the Union Square Best Buy. We open the door to where we've been told Peter Facinelli will be awaiting the interview, but the room is empty. The publicist tells us to wait and scurries off to see where the actor has gone. As we walk across the room, a creepy feeling suddenly overcomes us. We whirl around to find Facinelli standing there, grinning like an devious child. He was hiding behind the door.

    Although he's been working in Hollywood for well over a decade, the Queens native has only recently snuck up on audiences. Before becoming paternal vampire Carlisle Cullen and Dr. Fitch Cooper on Showtime's 'Nurse Jackie,' people on the street recognized him as "that guy from that TV show" ('Fastlane' or 'Damages') or "that guy from that movie" ('The Big Kahuna' or 'The Scorpion King') or "that guy who married Kelly from '90210.'" There are worse things than being known as Mr. Jennie Garth, especially when the famous couple astounds Hollywood cliches by staying married for over nine years and counting. Still, the father of three daughters must be excited now that his profile has risen.

    "Honestly, I'm so unaware of that," Facinelli says about his growing fame. "I look so unlike Carlisle, I'm always surprised when someone recognizes me on the street."

    That may be true, but just outside the store, Twi-girls cannot wait for the opportunity to get close enough to smell what scent he's wearing and get an autographed copy of the DVD. They can no doubt recognize him across a crowded mall. In less than an hour, they will be competing for his attention as he asks 'Twilight' trivia questions and they scream the answers like '60s girls at a Beatles show.

    How did you get stuck with being here? Did you draw straws with the other Cullens?

    I won it in a raffle! We put our names in a hat and mine was picked. No, actually, I was out here doing press for 'Nurse Jackie' and they asked me to do it and I said, "Sure, it sounds like fun."

    Do 'Twilight' fans quote anything to you most often?

    "Whose going to want you now?" [Laughs] No, actually, I get asked to say, "Animal attack."

    When you took the role as Carlisle, did you read the whole series?

    Well, I read the first book before meeting with Catherine Hardwicke, just to see what it was about. I fell in love with it. When I got the role, I read the second and third book immediately. The fourth book hadn't come out yet. When it did, I listened to it on audio book. It was like listening to a bedtime story. Not because the book was boring, but because the person's voice kept lulling me to sleep.

    Do your daughters read the books?

    My 12-year-old has read the first two books. I'll probably give her the third one for her 13th birthday at the end of June, so she's ready for the movie. My 7-year-old has not read any of them, but I was just thinking it might be fun to get the audio books and have her listen to them.

    As long as you get a more exciting voiceover actor reading it.

    [Laughs] Yeah, maybe I should just read it to her.

    Do you have a favorite vampire?

    I like Count Chocula and the Count from 'Sesame Street.' [Laughs] Count Chocula's awesome, man. He's got to make a comeback. I haven't seen him for awhile.

    Now that you know you'll have to play the flawless Carlisle for at least two more films, do you ever find yourself screaming, "Watch out for my face, my beautiful face!"?

    Not really, but my daughter did headbutt me in the nose and it swelled up like Marlon Brando. For a month I looked like that before [it] finally going down. But before it did, I thought, "Ah, great, now I have to get a nose job because I can't play Carlisle as Brando."

    Can I ask why she headbutted you?

    She's three years old and we were watching 'Spider-Man.' Some scary parts came on and I went to close her eyes, but she likes the scary parts so she started fighting me saying, "I want see. I want to see." And she headbutted me in the nose. I have a picture of it!

    For the next roughly six minutes Fascinelli scrolls through hundreds of photos on his iPhone until he finally finds it. And he's right, he does look like a prettier version of Brando.

    How is your career different than what you thought it would be when you first began working in the mid-90s?

    When I began, my agents wanted to send me out for every Italian role available because my last name ends with an 'i.' But I only wanted to do non-Italian roles because I am Italian. For me, that's the fun of acting. I didn't want to be typecast. And now, when I look back at my roles like Mike Dexter, next to Carlisle, next to Dr. Coop, next to 'Scorpion King,' if I put all those characters in a room, it's a diverse bunch. So I feel like I'm doing what I set out to.

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