Peter Facinelli Talks ‘Intense’ Birth Scene, Wedding and Being ‘Coach Pete’
As Dr. Carlisle Cullen in the Twilight series, Peter Facinelli plays the father figure to Bella and Edward as they meet, fall in love, get married and eventually have a child together.
We caught up with Peter at the New York premiere of Breaking Dawn – Part I to discuss the wedding, the birth scene and the many projects Peter’s juggling with his new production company, Facinelli Films.
He also just tweeted out some exciting news as to why audiences should stay past the credits (there’s an extra scene)!
As the patriarch of your own family — and being a parent to Edward and Bella onscreen — did you feel emotional when the wedding scene took place? Did you get a glimpse of you future with your daughter?
I think it’s different because in the movie I’m giving away my son. I think Billy Burke really captured what it’s like to give your daughter away; you’re sad, you’re anxious, you’re hopeful that the man that they’re with is going to take care of them the way you took care of them. When you’re giving away your son, it’s more like he’s stepping into manhood and it’s more of a sense of being proud. I felt that; I mean as you play your character you get into that role.
You play a pivotal role in making the decision whether or not to keep the baby, and the dangers involved culminates in this very intense birth scene. How realistic as a father is that moment?
Birth scenes are intense no matter which way you do it. Vampire birth scenes are like that to the tenth degree. It’s almost like a scene out of Poltergeist where the bodies are breaking and this thing is wanting to come out — and the doctor is not there. My character is out getting blood, and I always joke that most doctors say they’re going to be there for the birth and when the it comes they are out playing golf and somebody else has to sub; so Edward kind of subs for me.
What advice would you have for the Hunger Games cast now that they’re likely the next big franchise?
I don’t know if there’s any specific advice to give anyone. Everyone sort of deals with it in their own way. I don’t think there’s a specific way to say “Hey, if you do it like this you’ll be okay.” Rob and Kristen and Taylor had to deal with it a certain way. I went to NYU and studied theater and there’s no course with how to deal with having your life under a microscope. You learn as you go I guess. Staying grounded is definitely important. None of that really matters. As actors, our job is to create these characters. If the audience latches on, all of a sudden there is stardom and fame there. It’s not really an end result. Never is the goal, really, “I’ll be rich and famous.” There’s quicker and easier ways to be rich and famous. You put the work in, and hopefully people like it. My happiness comes from doing the role. Anything else after that is not under my control. You have control of your performance, but you’re a cog in the wheel of the movie. You sign on to a project hoping it does well, but if it doesn’t, it’s not the actor’s medium, it’s more the director’s medium.
Speaking of which, I understand you have another film out, Loosies, which you wrote, starred in and produced.
Well, that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to get into writing and producing. There’s more control on my hands. I’ve done more than 40 movies and I’ve never gone to work feeling like I wasn’t passionate about the day ahead. People always ask what my favorite role is, and I say all of them because I wouldn’t have taken on the role if I didn’t have the passion to play that role. Take a movie like Loosies: I had an idea and put it on paper and all of a sudden somebody said, “Yeah I want to make this,” and they put money up for it. It’s very rewarding, but it’s a long process. You’re involved with the casting, then you’re picking the director, and then you’re involved in the day-to-day shoot and post-production and the music. Every decision you’re a part of. It’s more work, but definitely more rewarding. Whether or not it’s good or not, it will be my fault if it fails.
Where can fans see it?
IFC actually picked it up, so it’s going to get a limited release in January. In the meantime they are doing a pre-theatrical release, which is nice because it’ll reach a wider audience. You can also get it on Time Warner cable video on demand, and it’s available for rent on iTunes. Its on the Sundance Channel website and you can rent it and watch it on there too.
Do you miss New York?
I get to come back for Nurse Jackie and I come back a couple times a year, so it’s always nice. I was excited to be able to shoot in New York. I’ve had this movie Loosies in my head for so long — every time I got on the subway, or every time I’d walk down a street corner I’d be like, “Oh man this would be a cool location.” I remember the director, Michael Corrente, because I grew up in New York he’d be like, “Where would you want to shoot some of these locations?” I’d say “Let me think about it,” and at the end of the night, I’d get in a cab and go location scheming and go find cool places and remembering cool places I saw. It was fun to have that collaboration with him.
Jaimie [Alexander, co-star of Loosies] said something that people wouldn’t necessarily know about you is how talented you were as a screenwriter.
I’ve written a couple of screenplays and we’ve gotten two of them made so far. I’ve got four movies in development, and a company I’ve started called Facinelli Films. My career is very versatile; I’ve done comedy, I’ve done drama, and the company is very versatile. We optioned a book on Whitey Bulger called Street Soldier. We have the movie that I got the rights to called The Last Word – a documentary about this guy that was wrongfully accused of committing murder and sentenced to death. Then they found out later who actually did it. The interesting thing that made it a cool movie is on his death bed, he put a curse in letter form on everyone that was involved in the case and 17 people that were involved in the case actually died of inexplicable causes. If you try to pitch that in Hollywood, they would be like “that’s too far-fetched,” but this is actually a true story. Then we have a psychological thriller we’re doing and I wrote the script for that. We’re in talks with a director for that. It’s like Misery in an RV park. I haven’t done the horror genre yet, so I don’t know if I can act in those. They can get cheesy. I was more interested in doing something like The Shining.
You have 3 young daughters. Any budding actresses in the family, and would you encourage that?
I encourage whatever makes them happy. My parents weren’t necessarily like, “Hey we’re in your corner as an actor you can go and do anything.” My father wanted me to be able to make a living and was scared that I wouldn’t be able to. They’re both from Italy, so telling them I wanted to be an actor was like telling them I wanted to go to Mars. For me, I want to be able to support my kids and say you can do whatever you want to do as long as you put the time and work in. I wouldn’t steer them in any direction. When they find their path in life my hope is that they find something they are blessed to do and love. My oldest one plays the guitar and is a songwriter … I’m encouraging her to be the best and I’ll pay for her singing lessons and guitar lessons.
Do they know that you are famous?
I think it’s weirder to them when we are going to events and people are making big deals. In our community nobody cares, you know? I’m the soccer coach, and nobody on the team is like in awe of me. I’m Coach Pete. I don’t know what that’s like for them. I always wonder. I know she thinks it’s cool when she gets to go to the Twilight premiere and bring her friends, but when we’re home, she’d be like, “Drop me off around the corner from the school.”
Lastly, you’ve got a birthday coming up. Any party plans?
From this point on, I’m just going backwards. I think you’re as old as you feel and I hate to put a number on it. I forget sometimes how old I am. You live day to day because that’s what you’re given and you try to make the best of that day.