Chaske Spencer plays wolf pack leader Sam Uley in the blockbuster “Twilight” series films. Media Mikes recently caught up with Chaske to talk about his role in the films as well as some of the other projects he is involved with.
Adam Lawton: How did your role in the “Twilight” series come about?
Chaske Spencer: I auditioned for it through Rene Haynes who had cast me a bunch of other films. Everything really happened through her. They had the audition for all of the wolf pack members and I read initially for Sam and that was the role I ended up being cast for.
AL: Were you familiar with the story line for “New Moon”?
CS: I knew a little bit but not really that much. I had seen “Twilight” advertised around New York but I didn’t know too much about it other than it was about a vampire. After auditioning and getting the part I realized how big of a deal it was.
AL: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” will be your third time playing the role of Sam. Do you feel your portrayal of the character has evolved with each film?
CS: In “Breaking Dawn” you’re going to see a lot more of Sam as he is a very pivotal character in the series and he really comes out in “Breaking Dawn”. The previous films were kind of a build up for the Sam character. My favorite book that I went to for ideas about the character was “Eclipse” as it had a lot more of the back story.
AL: Have you been allowed to make the character more your own since “New Moon”?
CS: Not really. I came in after reading the books and doing my research and I had an idea as to how I wanted to portray the character. I just went at it and waited for the director to tell me if I was doing something wrong. According to him I was doing ok because unless they tell me I’m doing it wrong then I just keep going with what I got.
AL: What has been your reaction to the fans of the film and did you think the series was going to be as big as it has become?
CS: I kind of knew it was going to be huge especially after our first experience with the paparazzi. The U.S.A. Today article where they announced who was going to be playing the wolf pack along with me researching the first film I knew it was going to be big. I was expecting the reactions of it and the fans are great as they have pretty much given us a career. If it wasn’t for the fans of the books the studios would have never made them. The fans really give us a job and it’s been a snowballing effect through each movie. “Breaking Dawn” is going to be huge and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s a fun wild ride but I am ready to move on.
AL: What was it like shooting the last two films back to back?
CS: To me it seemed like we filmed “New Moon” and “Eclipse” back to back as there wasn’t much of a break between films. With “Breaking Dawn” it didn’t really seem too different. I enjoyed it and it made me work harder.
AL: Outside of films you do a lot of speaking and activism. Can you tell us what sparked your interest in that?
CS: I do a thing called “Be the Shift” which promotes youth to shift the systems that we have in place today. Most of those systems don’t work and we are trying to get youth to try and make a substantial change in those be it the actual environment or with their community. Any system designed to help people that isn’t working we encourage youth to help make it better and work for the people the way it was intended. I like to occupy my time and to give back plus I get a little uncomfortable with the spotlight so I use it to bring light to the charities I am associated with.
AL: Can you tell us about “Let’s Move”?
CS: “Let’s Move” is a great organization. I worked with the Obama Administration on this program and it’s informing people especially youth about the importance of exercising and to get up and move around. Childhood obesity is huge here in American and this program emphasizes the importance of exercising along with nutrition. My part in the program is to help out in Indian country with the Native American population. There is a lot of malnutrition in these places so I am helping to inform those people about eating healthy and exercising.
AL: How did you get involved with the Obama Administration?
CS: They kind of came to me knowing I was very involved in my activism and me being in “Twilight” helped out a bit so it was really a no brainer. I guess we both found each other. (Laughs)
AL: Can you tell us about any other projects you having coming up?
CS: I start work on a film titled “Winter in the Blood” in a few weeks and I have another project that I am looking at as well. I can’t really say too much about it just yet but it’s a big one! I am really looking forward to it but we just have to finish dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Since “Twilight” has happened it has opened a lot of doors for my career and I am really happy that I can be working as an actor.