Edi Gathegi [on the right above] has been seeing a lot of red lately. After slowly carving out a career in such projects as Lincoln Heights, Death Sentence, Gone Baby Gone, and House M.D., the 29-year-old actor recently garnered attention as the vampire Laurent in the box office blockbuster, Twilight. Now, Gathegi is once again going for the jugular in the horror flick, My Bloody Valentine 3-D. A remake of an 80’s movie, the movie finds the small town of Harmony terrorized by a pickaxe wielding maniac bent on revenge, with Gathegi’s character turning up as a possible victim.
We spoke with the actor about both of his most recent roles.
Newsarama: Edi, was it strange going from a PG-13 friendly Twilight to something as hardcore as My Bloody Valentine?
Edi Gathegi: Going to a PG-13 movie was the departure for me because I’ve done a lot of rated-R films. Doing My Bloody Valentine was like going back home and growing up a bit. My Bloody Valentine is a fantastic film. I’m not really a big fan of horror movies because a lot of times things happen that aren’t plausible, character relations don’t make sense, or there is gore for the sake of gore. This script was fantastic! There were real people struggling with real life issues, while there’s a realistic killer on the loose, and is causing havoc and mayhem.
We have director Patrick Lussier, who edited Red Eye, which was an extremely suspenseful film, as well as all the Scream movies which brought horror back. He’s a master of storytelling and suspense. And then add in the 3-D element with axes flying at your face and you are scared at every turn. I just hope people give it a shot and word gets out there.
NRAMA: How does your character fit into the terrible events going on?
Edi Gathegi: I play Deputy Martin, so I am the Deputy to Kerr Smith’s Sheriff Axel. I am basically the number two guy trying to solve these heinous murders. Patrick always talked about how my character was the eyes of the town. With his intuition and gut feelings, Martin knew more than everyone else. It was fun to play this character who had his finger on the pulse and was more methodical than other emotional characters.
NRAMA: Are the gruesome deaths part of the fun of these films?
Edi Gathegi: I think people go to a horror movie to be scared sh**less and not know who is going to die or how. The more mysterious you make it, the more thrilled the audience is going to be. Cool death scenes are absolutely essential and satisfying when they catch you off guard.
NRAMA: Patrick [Lussier] also helmed Dracula 2000 and White Noise 2. What was he like as a director?
Edi Gathegi: Patrick is such a great guy and director. There’s not much I wouldn’t do for him. I respect him so much, enjoy his work ethic, and him as a person.
NRAMA: From your perspective, how was it different filming a 3-D project?
Edi Gathegi: There’s something interesting about 3-D because scenes play better in wide shots. For every scene, they tried to figure out how to do it in wide shots. On that stuff, the specific lenses or cameras are being done in post production.
NRAMA: Twilight is still showing legs at the box office but I understand you were unfamiliar with the novels before being cast. What attracted you to the role of Laurent?
Edi Gathegi: It’s true I had no idea what I was auditioning for but I had a wonderful time doing it because of Catherine Hardwicke. I knew I wanted to work with her, but was unaware of the story. It wasn’t until I found out I was being seriously considered for the part that I read the books.
I loved the story of this human girl, who falls in love with a vampire, how he struggles to love her back without killing her, and has to protect her from the bad vampires, which include myself, James, and Victoria. First and foremost, I wanted to be a part of this wonderful romance with the backdrop being vampires. Specifically with my character, he’s not really a bad vampire; he’s a traditional vampire. Laurent needs to eat human beings to sustain himself, but he doesn’t have an “evil side” to him. He’s actually one of the more sympathetic evil vampires.
NRAMA: Was it a lengthy audition process?
Edi Gathegi: No, no, but I’ll tell you that I found out I was the first one to audition for Laurent. I don’t even know how many actors had the opportunity because when I did my audition, the producers recognized me from my other work I had done and I guess they liked this audition. I think I was one of the only ones really considered for this role.
NRAMA: How would you describe Catherine’s take on the vampire universe?
Edi Gathegi: They have created a brand new mythology so these vampires don’t have fangs, you can’t kill them with garlic or stakes through the heart, we can go out in the daytime, but our skin shines like sparkles in direct sunlight. There are differences in the vampires compared to the traditional ones in popular culture.
On a basic level, we don’t sleep so we’re nomadic. We travel looking for the next human to drink which can be extremely boring. Instead of just hanging out, we are looking at things to get into. The Cullens peek James’ curiosity about why they are harboring the human girl Bella and that provides sport for him.
NRAMA: How much of the action and effects sequences are you involved with?
Edi Gathegi: Unfortunately, I never got into the harness. I was never allowed to do the wirework. I think a lot of that had to do with the constraint and my schedule. I got to do a lot of map and carpet stuff which is what you see in the movie with us coming out of the forest. Movie magic makes it seem we are moving very fast, but walking at a casual pace. That was the extent of my stunt work.
NRAMA: Were there any stand out moments for you?
Edi Gathegi: I love the final fight sequence because the choreography was wonderful, action packed, and thrilling. My favorite scene I’m in is this baseball scene. There’s a lot of energy, the Cullens are smacking around the baseball, and then we show up. It is very impending, suspenseful, and you don’t know if there’s going to be an all out vampire war out there on the fields.
NRAMA: There was a lot of hype surrounding the movie’s release. Did it live up to your expectations?
Edi Gathegi: It exceeded my expectations. It’s an amazing adaptation of the book. Naturally, no matter what kind of film you make, some are going to be upset at the fact that their beloved book was turned into a movie and then there will be those who accept it for what it is. It’s a movie that stands out on its own, with or without a book.