In The Twilight Sage: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) breaks away from his wolf pack to protect a pregnant Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who is now married to vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) from them.
Coming to Jacob’s aid are two werewolves from the old pack who believe in what he’s doing, Leah (Julia Jones) and her brother, Seth (Booboo Stewart).
Can you tell us how you got cast in this movie?
Booboo: I was in the Walt Disney recording group and when that ended fans were telling me about the character of Seth Clearwater. My agent, luckily, got me in for a callback because the auditions were already done. I was literally the last to be seen. I went in and read the lines; I think we read the monologue twice.
The casting director and I had a really great time in the room. [People ask me] all the time, ‘Did you have to act like a wolf when you were auditioning?’ I’m like, ‘No.’ I probably would not have gotten the part if I had to act like a wolf.
I didn’t hear anything for months and then it was a very short list, and then four days later, ‘You got it.’ It was pretty crazy.
Booboo, who is responsible for giving you that name?
Booboo: My mom gave me the nickname when I was a baby. I guess I just reminded her of what Booboo would look like, so that’s how I got it. My real name is Nils Allen Stewart Jr. It’s very fancy.
What was it like as a woman playing a werewolf?
Julia: For a female, it’s not the best situation being a wolf. I think it’s fun to be around guys all the time; it’s a very familial situation. Also, it’s wonderful to be in the woods in the wilderness. Outside of that, there aren’t very many advantages. You don’t know if you can have children.
It’s very hard to feel feminine, and then the whole mind-reading part is tricky too. I think I would prefer to be a wolf. It would be really cool if I were a guy, but for a girl I think the cons outweigh the pros.
Your characters obviously go through a lot of growth and change, what have you learned personally from Leah and Seth?
Booboo: Seth is very easy-going, really happy guy. In the movies he just wants everyone to pretty much get along. I definitely learned a lot from how easy-going he is about things, and I think that’s really cool. Just playing the character, I really got to learn to be more calm I think because he’s such a calm guy.
He just doesn’t care if you’re a vampire or shape-shifter in everyday life.
Julia: I think I should have played Seth! I need to learn that lesson. I think playing Leah, you kind of learn that you are responsible for the course of your life and for the decisions you make. So if you are not happy, it’s up to you to do what you need to do to fix the situation.
That’s a lot of her journey in Breaking Dawn, and it was very liberating to play that out. Hopefully I can use some of that in my life.
How exactly did you stay present as an actor when your physical presence is being embodied by a very large CGI mammal instead of by you?
Booboo: When I first saw my wolf I was like, ‘Wow, this is so cool.’ Phil Tippett’s like a beast at doing all the CG. But then I looked at it and I was, ‘My wolf is so skinny. He looks like he hasn’t eaten in two months!’ I still thought it was pretty cool though, seeing yourself as a wolf.
I think they did such a good job of portraying us as wolves and you get to see more of that in Breaking Dawn. I get asked all the time if I had any say in the wolves and I didn’t. If I did, my wolf would be black and like a monster wolf with wings.
Leah seems to shift a lot between being incredibly angry and incredibly hurt in this movie. Can you talk about balancing those emotions?
Julia: The balance between the hurt and the anger was a huge part of what happens to Leah in Breaking Dawn. The crux of that shift happens when she breaks off from the old wolf pack. I felt, as an actor playing her, such relief at not being in that situation and being so angry. It’s so exhausting to be angry all the time; I had no idea.
There is this one scene with Taylor [where] he lets her stay. I just felt like tons had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was really fortunate that the arc of my character was in the script, because it made finding that balance so much easier. It was really quite obvious and really rewarding.
Booboo: It was great and cool. I had a great time filming with Julia and I’m not just saying that because she’s sitting next to me. It was really cool. I think we could be brother and sister.
Julia: We spend enough time together!