During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Christopher Heyerdahl talked about how he came to be a part of Hell on Wheels, what he enjoys about playing such a complex and complicated character as The Swede, that he’s developed the character through extensive research both in books and in his own Norwegian heritage, and the challenge of shooting the Western concurrently with his SyFy series Sanctuary. He also talked about playing the ancient Volturi vampire Marcus in the Twilight Saga films, the deleted scene from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 that he hopes will end up on the DVD, what audiences can look forward to with Breaking Dawn – Part 2, and what it’s been like to have the support of genre fans. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
HEYERDAHL: Yeah, we do. I suppose it will be on the DVD, but there was a scene that was cut from Breaking Dawn – Pt. 1. We originally book-ended the movie. At the beginning of the film, everyone received their invitation. It was a series of vignettes of the invitations to the wedding because the Volturi, of course, must be invited. Our reaction to the receiving of this lovely little invitation was very camp and great fun. I’ll look forward to seeing that on the DVD. But, they’re a good bunch.
How was Bill Condon to work with, as a director?
HEYERDAHL: We talked a lot about being a little more camp, and how every vampire story needs a bit of camp. So, we very happily played it camp.
When you became a part of the Twilight films, did you have any idea what you were getting yourself into?
HEYERDAHL: I had a pretty good idea. I was made aware of the books by my nieces, and my wife is a high school teacher, so she, of course, was in the middle of that, watching it go down, in and around schooltime. So, I had a good feeling that it was going to be a very popular event. Certainly, having seen Twilight, I knew there was such a strong movement with the films themselves. But, having seen the reaction to the books, it was a pretty safe bet that it was going to be a popular venture. It’s been a lot of fun. I love the vampire genre, and being able to play the oldest vampire, and certainly one of a band of old-timers, representing the old ways, was fun. And being a part of a project like that, where you get to witness how the new guard of actors in the business deal with the huge challenge of enormous popularity. I don’t think it’s easy for anyone, but I think that they are surviving it quite well.
What can audiences look forward to with Breaking Dawn – Pt. 2, in regard to your character and the Volturi?
HEYERDAHL: That’s always a difficult question to answer because I don’t want to put out any spoilers, but everyone’s read the book, so I think it’s relatively safe. There are some things that have come into the story, that are alluded to in the book, but aren’t necessarily expressed in word. They’re expressed in idea, in the book. Some of those things will be brought to fruition, visually, which was a lot of fun. It’s always fun to see a thought or an idea come to fruition. It’s almost like going into the mind of a character. You get to go along there, which is a wonderful thing for film. On stage, you can never really go into the mind of a character. You just follow along with a scene. Whereas with film, you can actually dive right inside. So, some of those events have been brought to life.
You definitely see a lot more of us. For the lovers of the Volturi, that’s going to be a positive thing. We certainly come in with our large wooden spoons and stir it up. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed by where the Volturi goes, and the aftermath. We really are a fun group of evil-doers. The interesting thing is that you’ve got this wonderful, complicated triumvirate of so-called brothers, who each have a different agenda, and you get to watch them try to ignite or ignore or tease or play with each other. You can only imagine that, when you’re hanging out for thousands of years, you’re going to get to know your partners quite well. A lot of times, each one of them tries to poke their fingers into their neighbor’s hornet’s nest to watch what happens. A little bit of that goes on, and there’s a lot of subtle pleasures that come out. You just get to see those relationships brought out a little bit more, in the second half. It’s good fun.
You’ve been on just about all of the favorite shows of any sci-fi fan, along with being in the Twilight films. What’s it been like to have the support of genre fans, with as dedicated and loyal as they are?
HEYERDAHL: The great thing about genre fans is that they’re not afraid to say who they are. A lot of other fandoms keep it a little bit closer to the chest. Genre fans are right out there. I went down [to Atlanta] to do Dragon*Con, which for the genre fans is the biggest fan-run convention out there, and there’s a huge parade where everyone is flying their flags and there’s so much support. Atlanta just comes out to observe. It’s pretty hard not to get involved and get swept along, literally and figuratively, by these massive amounts of people in this huge parade. It’s quite an amazing event.
So, being supported by a group of people like that is certainly a lot better than not being supported because they’ll let you know that as well. There are a lot of straightforward truths that have come out of a fandom like that. People in that fandom are very honest about how they feel. Because of that, shows rise and fall purely based on fandom, much more so than viewership, like with other shows. Fandom can keep something alive, and fandom can take it down. There’s a lot of power there, so because of that, there’s an enormous amount of, hopefully, mutual respect. So, I’m down with that fandom.