Peter Facinelli on the sensuality of vampires, on-set romances and Twitter

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Facinelli plays Dr Carlisle Cullen, the patriarch of a family of vampires in the film adaptations of Stephanie Meyer's The Twilight Saga. Interview by Matilda Battersby

Peter Facinelli isn’t your typical teen heartthrob. That's not to say that he doesn't have the looks or the charm. But at 37 he's slightly more mature than the usual suspects. He’s also happily married (to fellow actress Jennie Garth) and has three young children.

Facinelli plays the Cullen family patriarch in the film adaptations of Stephanie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga alongside teenage and twenty-something actors Robert Pattinson, Kirsten Stewart and Taylor Lautner. But despite the coterie of young blood to contend with, Facinelli has developed a cultish fan base of his own. He has more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter and legions of Facebook fans. Not mention a 15-year film and television career that includes Six Feet Under, The Big Kahuna and, most recently, Nurse Jackie.

Here he tells The Independent about the sensuality of vampires, on-set romances and Twitter:

At the moment you’re best known for playing doctors: Dr Fitz Cooper in Nurse Jackie and of course Dr Carlisle Cullen in the Twilight franchise. Do you ever worry about being typecast?



No. It’s just an occupation. I don’t play the occupation I play the person and they are vastly different. The fact that they have the same job is just happenstance. Besides, Carlisle is a vampire.



Nurse Jackie, a dark comedy series about Jackie Peyton, a New York-based nurse, has only recently hit screens over here. Can you describe your character in the show and what attracted you to the role?



The show is a look at hospital life from the view of the nurses. My character is sort of the nemesis of Jackie, played by Edie Falco. He has a tumultuous relationship with her. There are times when he has great admiration and respect for her and times when he can’t stand her. It’s a love/hate relationship. It kind of reminds me of the kid in third grade who likes a girl so much he ends up tugging her pigtails. He’s egocentric and self obsessed, although strangely likeable. He also has sexual tourettes, which means that occasionally he’ll just reach out and grab at her breast. It makes for good comedy.



You’re an active Tweeter and I understand that this inspired the makers of Nurse Jackie to do something a bit different with Twitter on the show. Can you explain this?



Well the writers were talking about doing a Twitter account for my character. They then realised that I have a very active Twitter with lots of followers so they thought it might be fun to have art imitate life, so to speak. They wrote it into the script and set up an @DoctorCoop and now they’ve set it up so that when the show airs and you see my character Tweeting they’ll go out in real time to the Twitter fans. It’s a way of incorporating social media into television.



You’ve alternated between doing film and TV roles throughout your career. Which do you prefer?



I tend to go where ever the material is good and the writing is good. If it happens to be in television then I will go there. I like the immediacy of television because you shoot it and then people get to watch it. But then film is exciting too because it’s such an event. People get in their cars and buy popcorn and make a night out of it. If I had to choose between doing one or the other for the rest of my life it would be films.



You met your wife, actress Jennie Garth, on the set of ‘An Unfinished Affair’ in 1996 and you’ve been together ever since. Can you tell us a bit about how you got together?

We were shooting the movie and we met and hit it off. She was going through a tough time as she was in the midst of ending a relationship, so we became friends and I supported her. We continued to be friends and eventually got together. We met on the set of ‘An Unfinished Affair’ and I like to joke that the affair’s not over yet!



What do you think of the sometimes fraught on-set Hollywood romances that appear in the tabloids, from the perspective of someone who has made a successful marriage with a former co-star?



I don’t know too much about other people’s relationships. I just know about mine, and every day I love my wife a little bit more. The idea of doing anything to jeopardise it is unthinkable. But I do think it’s inevitable that if you throw people together a lot sometimes things will happen. Not just in film, in any working environment, but probably more so in film and television because people are taken far away from their normal lives. It’s like a reality TV show where people are left isolated on a desert island. They start relationships because they are out of their reality and as a result they’re sometimes not very real.





How have you coped with the attention from fans that Twilight must have brought you?



It doesn’t really affect me on a daily level. I don’t get mobbed like Robert Pattinson (who plays his step-son Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga). I really enjoy corresponding with fans. Any time you meet someone who is excited about your work it’s gratifying. It’s better than having people throw rotten tomatoes at you! The most attention I get is kids ringing the doorbell of my house.



Why do you think people are so interested in vampires and the supernatural?



I think there’s a sensuality about vampires. A monstrousness. They offer up eternal life in exchange for blood. There’s something intense about wanting someone so much that you have to devour them. The biting of the neck. It’s sexy.

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam