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    Golden Globes

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    Peter and 'Twilight Saga' co-star Robert Pattinson attend the Golden Globes in Los Angeles.

    Featured Video

    Peter discusses Eclipse in an interview with Glamour Magazine

    Peter's interview with Glamour.com
    ASLF at Tent City in LA

    Recent Event

    Peter stops by ALSF set up outside Tent City in Los Angeles for the Eclipse Premiere

    Pittsburgh Post Gazette

    Facinelli feels blessed to bask in 'Twilight'
    Wednesday, June 30, 2010
    By Barbara Vancheri

    Back in the day, before "Twilight" had 6.7 million Facebook friends, the movie's cast could socialize in public.

    "There were times when Rob would go to some open mike bar and he would play guitar and we would all go there and watch," actor Peter Facinelli recalls of the placid period before Robert Pattinson became known the world over as vampire Edward Cullen or the man who launched a gazillion shrieks and heart palpitations.

    Delirious fan enthusiasm meant the cast's freedom was curtailed with each subsequent movie shoot, to the point where the actors would spend more time together in their apartments, cooking and eating in.

    Mr. Pattinson, as with his co-stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, is more likely to turn up on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, next to Oprah Winfrey or on the black carpet (a vampire variation of red) than in a casual bar these days.

    In "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the third installment opening today, Mr. Facinelli plays Carlisle, a physician and head of the Cullen vampire clan. Although he's never seen a single "ER" or "Grey's Anatomy" episode, he also portrays a distinctive doc on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" opposite Edie Falco.

    It's his offscreen brushes with life and death, however, that are most remarkable.

    "A woman came up to me and said, 'Three weeks ago, I tried to kill myself and my daughter saved me, and my way of paying her back for the gift of life was to bring her here to meet you.' I thought that was pretty powerful, that this movie could have such an effect on a family like that."

    And there's this, he said in a phone interview: "There was another story of a girl who got into a car accident, and she had brain damage and couldn't read anymore. And through watching the movies and following the movies, she got herself to read the books and overcame it.

    "So when I hear stories like that -- on how much of an impact it's had on some people's lives -- I just feel blessed that I'm a part of it."

    He understands the fandemonium of "Twilight," both the Stephenie Meyer source books and the movies based on them.

    "I'm a fan myself, so when I do a convention or I get in a group where [there are] fans there, I'm as excited as they are. I'm another fan, but I'm fortunate to have a say in the character, which is pretty cool."

    In "Eclipse," the Cullens must confront powerful, blood-thirsty newborn vampires and weigh joining forces with their despised enemies, the werewolves.

    "The family's kind of taken aback in this movie, especially for Carlisle; he's kind of flying blind. He's used to having information at his fingertips, with Alice being able to read the future and Edward being able to read minds, and on this, his instruments are broken. He's not getting the information.

    "So it's a little frustrating for him, and as much as he's panicked and the sense that he wants to protect his family, there's a worry there underneath that layer of calm and hopefully that will come through."

    As for whether Mr. Facinelli feels the same way about his younger co-stars, he says, "I do. I feel very protective toward them, but, in the same sense, I'm not biologically old enough to be their father, so I feel like we're good friends as well."

    He's 36, Mr. Pattinson is 24, Ms. Stewart is 20 and Mr. Lautner is 18, and no, Mr. Facinelli doesn't give them advice on dealing with the persistent paparazzi.

    "I think they handle it pretty well, and I have a lot of respect for them, being at such a young age and having your life under a microscope like that, it's got to be difficult. As much as I get it, they get it a thousand times more."

    Mr. Facinelli is the husband of actress Jennie Garth, father of their three daughters and, in addition to being an actor, a writer with projects in production. He penned a Hallmark Channel movie that will star his wife and, next month, will start shooting another film he wrote called "Loosies," about a successful pickpocket in New York.

    Still, the family man gets plenty of invites from fans to pose provocatively for photos.

    "They sometimes ask me to bite their necks. For pictures and stuff, I try to just bite wrists if I'm going to do it because if there's a ton of pictures of me biting women's necks, that's kind of disrespectful to my wife. My rule is, if you're over 60, you get a neck bite and I'm hoping that you get to live for eternity."

    One fan recently asked Mr. Facinelli to sign her arm, which he did. She returned an hour later with his name tattooed on her wrist.

    "Eclipse" was Mr. Facinelli's favorite book of the series, so he came to the project with high expectations. He said director David Slade, whose credits include "30 Days of Night" and "Hard Candy," exceeded them.

    "I think David Slade did a fantastic job with it, and I hope the fans agree," particularly with the way a climactic battle is staged. He and others spent six weeks in fight training ("a little bit of vampire training camp") so they could execute the choreographed moves.

    "When you read 'Eclipse,' it's all told from Bella's point of view, so the battle sequence at the end is kind of glossed over because she's not there. Not that it's glossed over, but you're hearing it second hand from Edward, who's kind of reporting on it because he can read minds," Mr. Facinelli says.

    "In the movie, you get a firsthand account, you get to actually see the battle in full effect. ... For me, as Carlisle, who's mostly pretty reserved and always hiding behind this human facade, you get to see him roll up his sleeves and go to battle and see what they're capable of doing as these animalistic vampires."

    It was an incident before the first movie even hit theaters that gave Mr. Facinelli a sense of what was to come.

    "Right after I finished 'Twilight,' I went on vacation to Hawaii and there were a lot of fans on the beaches reading the books," he recalls. He swam out to a floating dock and was lying there when an Internet-savvy girl followed and asked, "You play Carlisle in 'Twilight' don't you?"

    "When the premiere came for 'Twilight,' there was just four blocks of screaming fans and it was very surreal. I remember thinking, 'This is pretty fantastic, this kind of support.'

    "But then, the next thought through my head was, well, they haven't seen the movie yet. We're in trouble if they don't like it 'cause this happy crowd is going to turn into an angry mob. Thankfully, they all enjoyed it, [they've] been supportive ever since, and I hope they enjoy 'Eclipse' just as much, if not more."

    Later this year, he could start doing double duty again, shooting the first of two "Breaking Dawn" movies, based on the fourth Twilight novel, and "Nurse Jackie."

    "I shot 'Nurse Jackie' season two and 'Eclipse' at the same time. There was a month overlap, so I was flying back and forth from New York to Vancouver to LA to see my family. It was a busy month for me. I'm sure that there might be a little overlap with this one and I'll be doing the same. I love what I do and I love my family, so I make it all work out."

    Besides, he uses his 90 minutes in the "Twilight" makeup chair to nap. Unlike some actors, who learn their lines in the chair, he does his homework the night before.

    "I like to zone out and relax because I know I've got a long day's work ahead of me." And a franchise still blazing brightly, to say the least.

    Movie editor Barbara Vancheri

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