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The Twilight Saga's Chaske Spencer

promo artwork for The Twilight Saga: New Moon featuring Chaske Spencer

By Justin Tucker

Whether we like it or not, the Twilight franchise is here for the long haul. For the past five years, audiences have been packing megaplexes to follow the adventures of the teenager Bella, her vampire husband Edward and her werewolf best friend Jacob. It’s a bonafide cash cow that has thrown its cast and crew into superstardom.

Chaske Spencer, who has played werewolf leader Sam Uley since 2009’s New Moon, is one of the many cast members who are breaking into the spotlight. For the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2, Spencer was in Chicago to speak with the press. From a suite on the 21st floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, I met with the up-and-comer where we discussed the Twilight saga’s massive success, what’s next for the actor and tips on how to be a cool uncle.

UR Chicago: The Twilight films have grossed over a billion dollars. It’s definitely a phenomenon that’s not going away. How does it feel to be part of one of the most successful franchises in history? How has it changed your life as an actor?

Chaske Spencer: Well it’s definitely opened the door to more gigs. [He laughs.] I don’t know. I’ve said this in other interviews, “It hasn’t really me yet.” I don’t really know what it’s going to be five years down the road when I look back on Twilight. Right now it seems like it’s just there. It’s just an entity that’s there. But I don’t know how I’ll feel about it a year or two down the road. I imagine it will hit me then, like I was a part of this franchise that was huge in film history.

Regardless about what you think of Twilight, it still made a lot of fucking money and launched a lot of careers and it’s [made] a huge pop-culture impact... A lot of movies are geared towards [men] and teenage boys. This was geared for a female audience. Some people don’t take that into consideration. There’s never been movie that’s done this for a female audience and that’s why I’m really happy to be part of that.

So maybe if I’m around, you can ask me that question five years down the road. [He laughs.]

UR: The Twilight series has been helmed by a variety of directors including David Slade, Chris Weitz and Oscar-winner Bill Condon. What was it like working with this array of talent?

CS: Oh, I learned a lot from all of them... Each one of them brought a different intensity and talent to each project. I have a special place in my heart for Chris Weitz because he cast me. All of them are super nice guys. I liked watching David Slade. David Slade has a history of his own with the films he’s made and I liked how he was really precise on what he wanted and the focus he had. Bill Condon is a sweetheart and what he did with Breaking Dawn: Part 1 and 2 just really — no pun intended — eclipsed my expectations of what I saw when I read the books.

They’re very talented directors. It was really grateful I got to work with them, learning about how they interact with their cast and crew and watching them work. I pay attention on set and I will always keep that in my Rolodex in case I want to direct something.

UR: Breaking Dawn: Part 2. Fifth and final film in the series. Are you sad it’s over?

CS: I don’t know. It’s weird... It’s just there. [He laughs.] It’s just there. It’s like the first question. I don’t know how I feel about that. It was great to be a part of it. I’m sure it will hit me at some point...

It’s always going to be around. The fanbase is so huge and they’re so dedicated that it’s gonna be [where] their kids are going to see it, you know? I’ll just say I’m pretty grateful to be apart of it.

UR: What’s next for you as far as roles go?

CS: Well, during Twilight I did some other movies in between gigs and I got to really do more character work on another two films — Desert Cathedral and Winter in the Blood — and I worked with other great directors as well. Some really nice, talented people. Twilight allowed me to have those experiences and gave [me] those opportunities to work on other things. I just signed on for another film and maybe in a few months something else. It’s definitely helped me in my career and to continue working.

UR: Most of my readership is urban hipsters. Their interests are perhaps outside the mainstream or on the fringes of the mainstream. Perhaps more discriminating tastes...

CS: So in other words, they don’t like Twilight! [He laughs.]

UR: Well I don’t know. I can’t speak for all of them. But why should they want to go out and get Breaking Dawn: Part 2 on DVD?

CS: Why? [He pauses.] Well, the soundtrack is great!

If you’re speaking to this type of audience... if you want to get the DVD, go get it for your niece or for your mom. [He laughs.] They would really appreciate that and you’d get some brownie points for that.

You look at the books and what these directors did with these films, and granted, Twilight’s very controversial in that some either like it or they hate it, but there’s obviously an audience out there that really, really liked it. And what I took from it was just Melissa [Rosenberg, screenwriter] and the directors and how they interpreted those books and how they made these films and how they connected with an audience. I don’t know how it happened, but it happened.

UR: You mentioned your niece or your mom. I actually took my niece and my nephews to see Twilight and New Moon, and I’m a cool uncle for it, you know?

CS: [He laughs.] Exactly! You go to another echelon level of being cool with your aunt or your niece or your mom!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

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