Shiloh is Talking Again and He is Playing Nice this Time.....

Leader image for Shiloh Fernandez Talks Red Riding Hood, Skateland and Dissing Kristen Stewart
The most striking observation made during a recent chat with Shiloh Fernandez is that the 26-year-old is a gentle and thoughtful soul in person — sincere, open, and regretful of comments he made recently about his run-in with Kristen Stewart years ago when reading for the role of Edward Cullen in Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight. Fernandez may not have been meant to play the famous sparkling vampire, but he got another shot at working with Hardwicke when she cast him as the village bad boy in Red Riding Hood, the first romantic lead role in his young career to date. (Plus, he’s an avid Movieline reader. So, you know — bonus points!)
By sheer coincidence, the two films Fernandez shot in the past few years both hit theaters this season — Red Riding Hood, in which his poor woodcutter Peter lights Amanda Seyfried’s heart aflame (it opened to $14 million over the weekend), and the indie character drama Skateland bows in limited release May 13. Movieline spoke with Fernandez about both films, the story of how Amanda Seyfried almost didn’t like him, his upcoming British incest love-triangle, and the collaboration with Thomas Dekker he hopes to film soon.
You were able to explore the sexual symbolism in the Red Riding Hood story a bit, but how mindful were you of playing with the budding sexuality of these characters in a PG-13 film?
The hood and the hood symbolism? That was just crazy! But yeah, it’s PG-13 so to toy with that idea, but not to go overboard with it was important. Catherine gave me and Amanda a book called The Uses of Enchantment, so that’s all about the sexuality and her feelings toward her father, especially. It was neat to play those layers; I think that once you accept a role you want to find your place within the film but also play your role, so that idea has very little to do with me and more to do with Catherine’s vision of the film and where I might fit into that. But that’s why movies can be so intriguing: They’re so subjective and everyone can take a different thing away from them. That’s why I wanted to be an actor. That’s why I like it, because sometimes when I see actors they’re communicating with me and me alone. I understand how you made that choice and how you’re feeling. You’re living my life. And I think that Catherine really had a huge daunting task in including that but also making a fun, thrilling movie. But I know that she’s very conscious of that and she talked a lot, at least to me in the beginning, about reading that book and what it said. Thinking about that symbolism and who I was to [Amanda Seyfried’s character]. Am I a father figure to her? Am I somebody that her father never was because he’s always drinking? Does she want to be with me because there’s something similar between us? There are all those things that are really intriguing to think about, and I hope that part of the story appeals to the audience that might naysay this film.
You’ve done a lot of work in indie films, so what was the appeal of Red Riding Hood — a film that would inevitably throw you into the realm of teen idol worship?
I really do think Catherine Hardwicke is a very, very talented director. And I love how she’s really cornered this market on youth and really captured that. That’s fascinating to me. And it’s really a phenomenon. To be a part of that is an honor. For her to be the person she is and to take a chance on someone like me means a lot. I think that the performances she got out of her younger actors in Lords of Dogtown and Thirteen were fantastic, and that she chose such talent for Twilight is really impressive.
You play the town bad boy, essentially — a dangerous-looking type, the lover from the wrong side of the village. Were you naturally drawn to Peter, or did Catherine see you in the role from the start?
The role, you know, it’s funny. I’ve thought a lot about this because when they were giving out the scenes for auditions they had every boy read for both parts. Auditions are hard enough for me; I don’t want to have to be challenged with doing two completely different characters, so I showed up playing Peter; Peter is the part that I would get, and I’m not the proper and prim wealthy boy. That’s just not who I am. So I’m going to go play Peter and do the best job I can. And after my first audition I think that maybe someone on the producing side had another choice in mind for that role, so Catherine called and said, “I want you to come in for Henry.” That was kind of shocking, but I had to think about why I was attracted to Peter and why I might find myself attracted to Henry. Peter’s obviously the hero, in a way, but I think that Henry doesn’t get the girl and is just trying his best, and that’s maybe happened to me on more than one occasion than what happens with Peter, where it’s like, “No, I can’t be with you for the greater good of your life.” It’s not that he’s bad, but the way he goes about things is unorthodox and he’s not somebody that shares his feelings very often, and I can connect with that. In every instance, he went against his instincts of saying “No, f*ck you lady, I’m taking your daughter.” Or “F*ck you dude, I’m gonna slit your throat because you messed with me.” You know, those instincts that you have as a human being he somehow calms and is able to look at the bigger picture and the love of his life and say, “I want your happiness — I’m going to put you before anything.”
I’ve never been recognized and I can’t imagine it happening tomorrow. Is there going to be this sudden shift?
You gave an interview in which you suggested you may not be expecting Red Riding Hood to earn critical acclaim. Why so?
If I said that, I hadn’t seen the movie yet. I think the reason is that I don’t want to have some sort of expectation of what this will do for me. Like, every question that you get is, “Are you ready for this?” And I’m like, “What the f*ck? No.” I’ve never been recognized and I can’t imagine it happening tomorrow. Is there going to be this sudden shift? That’s hard for me to understand. I guess what I meant with that quote was, the movies that I’ve done maybe make it into two theaters. Maybe. And that’s kind of been my forte, that’s what I’ve been doing. So to expect a movie that I’m in to be accepted and universally enjoyed is something that’s beyond me. It’s not that I don’t expect it, it’s just that it’s very new for me. I’m really happy that this movie is a bigger film, and I want to do big films and reach people and have them enjoy things that I do, but it’s just never been the case before.
Speaking of those indie films, you’ve got Skateland opening in limited release right after Red Riding Hood. What did that smaller project offer you the chance to explore in contrast to your bigger studio project?
I’m really proud of Skateland. I think it’s a young movie. We’re all really passionate and new, and we made a good film that people might think has kind of been done before but what makes it different is that there are strange moments, there are just things that feel a little bit off. And I think that was planned, but that’s why I like it — it really is a true independent film, and whether or not it has this coming-of-age formula that people have seen, if you watch the movie you’ll be surprised by it. These are the kinds of films that I want to do. They’re both the kinds of films that I want to do, and they’re the only films I’ve done in the past two years. I’m so proud of both of them, and I think for what I want to do they’re shining examples.
You and Catherine have both talked about how Amanda didn’t approve initially of you being cast until you read with her in person. What’s the story behind that?
I don’t know! I’d met her twice, once at dinner and once at a party. I really don’t remember her not liking me. They kind of told me later, and I thank God because I showed up to this audition with her not knowing that she had some sort of preconceived notion of who I was. But I guess that’s true; they’d answer it better than I would. I always liked her, but I’ve actually never seen any of her other movies. But she is f*cking talented. She is really good. Honestly, shockingly good. But I knew the part I wanted to play and I knew how I wanted to do it, and obviously from the experience of Twilight I knew she would have a lot of say in that choice. The way I felt about it in the audition process was that she was extremely intriguing to me, and really kind of in control of these scenes although the way that she did it, it was kind of offbeat. It almost felt like I was holding on and she was leading the charge and all I had to do was be there with her. It was challenging, but you just have to be open to that. Especially in auditions where you’ve prepared your bit, your shtick, and then the other person is doing something completely different and you have to let go of everything you’ve practiced and basically respond.
Catherine famously made you, along with her other candidates, kiss Kristen Stewart in auditions for Twilight. Were there any similar chemistry tests on Red Riding Hood?
Yeah, we did a bunch of auditions with Red Riding Hood, too. I’ve really never played the romantic role. Skateland, sort of, but aloof. That’s not really a romantic lead, he’s a charismatic kid who’s probably attractive to some people in East Texas. But Twilight and this movie would be more considered romantic, and I just never get those opportunities. I would say that Catherine has a different take on how she finds that chemistry. There was a quote that I gave about Kristen that came off very poorly and they didn’t use my [full quote]. I felt bad because it was something about her being nervous, and truly it was me. She had the part and I came in so nervous and so wanting it that I probably blew it. I probably wasn’t ready as an actor, wasn’t mature enough to match her, because she is a fantastic actress.
Robert Pattinson recently said he spends his spare time in his trailer watching Two and a Half Men. So life after that role ain’t that grand after all.
Well on set I spend my time in my time watching The Biggest Loser. No, I’m joking. It’s The Bachelor. No, I’m joking. I’ve said it before, I think he’s handled himself amazingly well and he’s a very interesting person. 
So in response to this, I say hell yes she is a better actor than you.  Sorry but your career is just beginning and well Kristen has been doing this for a while. It is an art for her not just for "fame" as I think it might be for you sir.  I saw Shiloh this weekend in RRH and he wasn't bad, in fact he was pretty good.  I just wish he would stop discussing his could have been and focus on what his future projects look like. It just seems a little low to discuss Kristen, Rob and Twilight in every interview. Move on press and Shiloh.....

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