Nikki Reed burst onto the scene five years ago as the writer and star of the controversial Thirteen, a gritty story of preteens running amok in Los Angeles sans rules. Twilight marks Reed's third time working with Thirteen director Catherine Hardwicke. In the five years since that movie's release, Reed has made a career of playing the proverbial bad girl.
By the time I interviewed the young actress late on a Saturday afternoon, she had already been through a lengthy whirlwind day of press. While it's hard to feel too much pity for celebs lavished with top-notch digs at five-star hotels, a day such as this can certainly be exhausting, especially in terms of sheer repetitiveness.
As I was about to enter Reed's hotel room for my interview, the actress stepped outside, giggling and asking if she could hang outside for a minute before we got into the interview. "I just have to get out of that [expletive] room," an admittedly loopy Reed told me. I said that I'd be happy to do the whole interview out of the room if she preferred, so we bucked the traditional approach and went for a walk around the Beverly Wilshire Hotel while she gave an amusing, high-energy interview.
ReelzChannel: This is your third movie with Catherine. How has that relationship evolved?
Reed: I've known Catherine for a long time. We have a really great dynamic; we work well together. There's this really funny misconception that she's my stepmother. She's not, but we work well together. It's been really cool to see her develop as a director and watch her step into different genres.
[At this point in the interview, Edi Gathegi, who plays Laurent, passes us in the hall. He and Reed share an inside joke and discuss meeting for a drink with the rest of the cast later that night.]
RC: Was Catherine stressed at all doing a movie on a larger scale?
Reed: Lords of Dogtown had a similar budget. This just seems bigger because of the fan base [and] what it's become since we shot it.
RC: And how has that fan base reacted to your casting?
Reed: Being honest with you, and I actually mean this, I don't look any more. I would go crazy. In the beginning, it was very tempting. I honestly was expecting people to be very excited that I was playing Rosalie. And that was kind of [not the case].
There's a lot of people and they're very vocal. And I think, with negativity, you only hear about the plane that crashes. I am that character now and I really don't think anybody has an issue with it.
There was a time when I needed to be convinced. I would constantly be going to Stephenie [Meyer] and to the producers saying, "You see what I look like, right? All right, I'm going to dye my hair and I'll be right back."
RC: There were people at the screening that didn't recognize you.
Reed: I love that. That's awesome because "Nikki Reed" has this thing where it's associated with "the dark, sexy seductress." That whole thing and it's so not me.
People say to me, "Why would you take a movie where you're a supporting role and you're signed on for a trilogy?" It's a logical question, I mean, it was a small role in the first one. But there's not many times in my life where someone's going to go, "We can make you look like Gwyneth Paltrow." If they wanted to make me look like Gina Gershon or Shakira or Eva Mendes, I'd be like, "Yeah, that makes sense." But to have this kind of exposure to this instant fan base looking nothing like myself, not even remotely.
RC: Was there an added pressure to establish Rosalie in such a short period of time, especially since you didn't know whether you'd get the chance to play her again?
Reed: Someone just asked me how it feels to play the [expletive] again. Funny enough, Rosalie is the [expletive] in the books and it's not until the third book that [Meyer] really describes her character. One thing that I was trying really hard to do was not just play the [expletive]. I don't think that she's a [expletive] at all. Not only do I like her, I really love Rosalie. What I wanted to do in this first movie, for people who are not Twilighters, I wanted all of us who are just complementors to [introduce] those characters so they know about them, so that they weren't just playing what was in the script.
It's Rosalie's concern for her family. It's her envy of Bella. She still has a choice to live a life, where as Rosalie doesn't. That's what I wanted to get in there, as oppossed to just playing that one note...[Reed pauses and grins wickedly] that people think I'm really good at. (Laughs)