“Twilight” Star Nikki Reed: “Fame Is Not Success”

Rosalie Cullen is the unedited truth-deliverer of the famed vampire clan from Forks, and the actress who plays her is just as forthright about her “Twilight” experiences. Nikki Reed joins PopcornBiz for a refreshingly honest chat about the second-to-the-last film “Breaking Dawn Pt. 1,” her brand-new marriage to “American Idol’s” Paul McDonald and life after “Twilight.”

PopcornBiz: How are you feeling about the "Twilight" phenomenon now that you're almost to the finish line? There's making the movies and then there's the hysteria outside of the movies. Where are you with all of it? Are you starting to get sentimental?

Nikki Reed: I don't feel particularly sentimental. I feel like we're all sort of ready to graduate middle school and move on to whatever the next chapter is. I think that so many amazing things have come from being a part of this series, and so it's best to just focus on that and let the pages turn. Time goes on. It's weird. Time doesn't stop for anyone. It doesn't matter who you are.

This film seemed very family-oriented. Obviously you guys have a sense of family, having done all the films together. Who's someone in that you formed the most unlikely bond with? Perhaps someone you might not have thought that would happen with in the beginning?

I'm going through all of the cast members to give the most honest answer. I guess the audience is not going to be interested in me talking about someone other than the top five, so I won't even go there. But it was great because I made friends with a lot of people. We had, like, 40 new cast members added into these last two and I was just so honored. I suppose that Michael Sheen is one that's sort of like an unlikely bond, only because he's quite a bit older than me and I tend to be really uncomfortable…some girls are really happy to welcome attention from older men, but I actually tend to be really uncomfortable with it. Michael, if we met at a party or something I wouldn't give him my telephone number ever – not that he would ask. But Michael and I…I was really sort of in awe because it's Michael Sheen.  If you sit back for a second and think about it, it's like, 'Oh, my goodness, HE’S in these movies?' It's so unbelievable. So there were moments when we were filming this last time where I would just sit and watch him. I said, 'I hope you don't think that I'm weird, but I want to just watch what you're doing because it's so incredible.' Then we started talking and stuff and he's really a great guy. But I think that when you take so many different personalities and you put the together it's sort of almost unnaturally creates bonds that wouldn't exist. That's sort of what's cool about doing a movie like this or any movie or any series that continues, a television show. It's that you're forced to be with people that maybe you can learn something from even if your personalities conflict.

What did you learn about yourself that surprised you throughout this whole experience?

Gosh. I've learned a lot. I think that I've learned a lot about people in general. I think I've learned about my inability to cope with large amounts of people. I've gone through like roller coaster rides of feeling confident or extremely insecure. I've learned that in order for me to feel good about my career choices I want to do a bunch of different things. I want to direct. I want to produce. I want to write. We had a lot of really powerful women on this set. Catherine Hardwicke who directed the first one. Melissa [Rosenberg] writes our screenplays. Stephenie [Meyer] wrote the books. That's where I want to be.

What's the thing about 'Twilight' that you'll be relieved or happy to put behind you for a while and not think about or worry about?

Probably the wigs – beyond uncomfortable! When I watch them back later I enjoy how different I look. Last night I saw the movie for the first time and I thought to myself, 'This is actually pretty cool, that I look so different.' It's bizarre. I think that's a good thing for me and for my career. In the short term it's not the best because people are like, 'People don't scream your name when you walk down the street,' and I'm like, 'That's wonderful.' And the fact that I get into meetings and I'm not just the girl from 'Twilight.' I'd done ten films before the series and hopefully I'll do ten more after.

Congratulation on your marriage. There's a thing that often happens when people get married and they feel surprisingly different once the ring is on and the documents are signed. How is it different now that it's official?

Well, we get to share health insurance! That's pretty cool, and there's something called The Family Plan with AT&T that I've discovered. I don't know – I don't feel like it different with him and I. I feel like it's different with other people. I feel like our families view the situation…he's from the South and so every time we went back home his mom was always very clear about, like, 'So, if Nikki is going to stay at the house I've made the bed up downstairs in the guest room.' It's like, 'Okay, but we live together in our home in Los Angeles.' But it's very different now. I mean, we haven't been back home since the wedding, but I'm assuming things like that will change. It's viewed differently. The South is like it's own culture. It's like a whole different thing. There are certain traditions and things that have been held onto. I don't want to say that they haven't progressed like the coastal cities, but there's an element to that I would say. So I think that they'll view us differently, but I don't think that we feel different.

Given that this is a great time in your personal life, Paul’s career is ready to break big and you've already probably itching to capitalize creatively on the 'Twilight' success, how are you guys planning time to be together but also be available to follow the roads that are open to both of you now?

That's a good question. I just want to say that I think there's a misconception there with being a part of something like 'American Idol' or being a part of something like 'Twlight.' Fame is not success. It's not. And especially living in a time right now in this industry, where I can make you famous tomorrow. You have however many hundreds of thousands people on a Twitter or on a Facebook or on a this and all you have to do is post your name and a picture or something funny that you do and it'll be remembered. And all those people see it. So, when you have an audience like that, that so many people come and see these films or fifty five million people a night go and watch 'American Idol,' there's something to be said for that audience, but it's what you do after that that supports a career. It's not being a part of this. It's not like any of us can just sit back right now. Even if you're Rob [Pattinson] or Kristen [Stewart] you can't just hang out and go, 'I've got a career for the rest of my life now,' because we're in such a time right now where if you're not good enough it's like, 'Next! I can make YOU famous. I can make YOU famous.' So I think what he and I are both doing are sitting. He's going to take a lot of time to make his next album. He had three albums before the show. He's the only person that's ever been on 'American Idol' that was touring before 'American Idol.' He auditioned as a joke and ended up making it that far, and said to his band, 'I don't know what to do – I guess they're going to keep pushing me through.' He needs to, right now, just sort of make something that makes him feel good. The same for me: I care about feeling successful in what I do. Even when I write a short story on my blog, which I do quite often, I feel that makes me feel successful. So I want to do good things: I want to direct something; I want to do something that makes me feel proud, or makes my parents feel proud just like they felt proud of my brother when he was teaching English in Brazil last year or painting in Florence, Italy. Those are the things that we both want to focus on.

Will the focus be self-generating a project first, then, or will you take something if it comes your way?

I would do either, but unfortunately we're in a time in this business where finding good material is less likely than creating good material. So hopefully, if I can get my a** together, I'll write something really great soon.


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