Q&A with ‘Twilight’s’ Michael Welch



Q&A with ‘Twilight’s’ Michael Welch

By Christy Lochrie

for The Columbian

Michael Welch plays the role of Mike Newton, a human in love with Bella Swan, in the “Twilight” series. He’s one of many actors enjoying a career boost with the launch of the movie based on the series’ second book, “New Moon.” Before our interview with Welch, we asked Vancouver “Twilight” fan Elisa Cotton, who runs the fan Web site talkingtwilight.com, what she’d like to ask the 22-year-old actor. We combined her questions with a few of our own.

Your character is in love with Bella Swan, but the feeling isn’t mutual. Do you draw on personal experience to play that role?

Yeah, I do. I had a very similar high school experience. I was in a situation of unrequited love, much as Mike is. Absolutely, I was able to reconnect with those feelings and that’s why it’s been easy to connect with Mike.

Did you think “Twilight” was going to become so popular when you auditioned for your part as Mike Newton?

When I auditioned, there was quite a bit of industry buzz surrounding this film. That said, I certainly didn’t anticipate the subsequent reaction that we’ve gotten. I think a lot of us anticipated that this might have been popular, based on the books. But when the movie release was announced, the Internet exploded. There were over 50,000 posts on IMDb.com overnight. You can never really anticipate the kind of reaction that we got.

What doors have opened for you as a result of your role?

All kinds of doors. I’ve been getting offers for films that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have been offered. We’ll see what happens from here. A career is best when it’s built a brick at a time on a good solid foundation of work. At this point, I’ve been getting more offers for larger roles in smaller films.

At 22, you’re a young actor, although you’ve been at your career for 10 years. Where do you see the next 10 years taking you?

I just hope to keep growing and getting better. I think it was (Sandy) Meisner who said it takes 20 years to become a great actor. So I’m about halfway there. I hope to be able to do a little bit of everything.

How do you stay grounded with all of the media attention and fanfare that surrounds the series?

You have to keep a good perspective on the whole thing, otherwise the celebrity world can kind of swallow you up. Part of how I’ve been able to keep a good perspective is to understand that I’m a lucky guy who got involved in a great project.

What’s your weirdest fan story?

I think that the weirdest thing that’s happened to me was when someone met me and started crying hysterically. If it’s never happened to you, it’s a unique experience. She was sweet as can be, a nice girl, but kind of overwhelmed. I’d kind of like to take that girl and show her a day in my life and show her how unspectacular I am. That’s the big secret behind the celebrity world, is tricking people into thinking that you’re some kind of great big entity. But I try to stay as focused on my work as I can and all of this other stuff is just gravy.