Exclusive Interview with Twilight Saga stars Tinsel Korey and Gil Birmingham
The Massie Twins recently had a chance to sit down with stars Gil Birmingham and Tinsel Korey, who play Billy and Emily respectively, in the Twilight Saga. Both have greater screen presences in Breaking Dawn Part 1 and are on a tour to promote the release of the DVD and Blu-ray, and to discuss what makes these werewolf roles such an adventure and what it means to be a part of one of the grandest pop culture phenomenons of the 21st century.
The Massie Twins: How is Arizona treating you?
Tinsel Korey: Great!
Gil Birmingham: It’s lovely!
TK: We head from here to Philadelphia and then Seattle the next day. It’s action packed!
GB: We’re going to Bulgaria, Russia, Siberia…
TK: Wait, what? (laughs)
MT: Gil’s tour is much more interesting than yours!
TK: (laughs) Except there’s no one in Siberia!
MT: So to start with a question you’re guaranteed never before to have been asked… have you ever been interviewed by twins?
TK: (laughs) No, actually.
GB: There were two girls once that I wanted to date…
TK: That wasn’t in reality. (laughs)
GB: Yes, and then I woke up… (laughs)
MT: Okay, so on to a real question: Can you tell us what it was like during the audition process?
GB: I went in with Catherine Hardwicke and she wanted me to sit in a wheelchair. I read with a young man trying out for the Taylor part… or the Jacob part. Catherine encouraged us just to play and I worked with a couple of young gentlemen, neither of which was Taylor at the time. There was just a chemistry right off the top.
TK: (to Gil) Did you have an auditioning process with Taylor at any point?
GB: No, they just matched up our performances.
TK: My auditioning wasn’t that hard. I heard the boys had a really long process. They brought me into a room that was so small I felt like if I sat down, I’d sit down on somebody. It was that small. I did the audition once and I thought I’d messed it up completely. So I went home and cried. And then the next day I was shortlisted, and then a week later they cast me. They just knew it was me! (laughs)
MT: Both of you were in TNT TV mini-series “Into the West.” Did you guys know each other at the time?
TK: I’d seen Gil’s work before so I knew who he was. There were so many cast members and it spanned a period of 100 years, so we were never in the same part.
GB: I’d heard of Tinsel. (laughs) You’re taking us way back.
MT: Were either of you familiar with the Twilight books before you went in to audition?
TK: I hadn’t heard of them. When I went into the audition I learned bits and pieces about Emily’s character, and then obviously I’ve read them since that point. My sister was the one who really loved Twilight, and wanted to go see it, so she was my introduction into that whole realm.
GB: I had never heard of it and my agent seemed pretty excited about landing the part. “This is going to be great,” she said. “You’ll love this.” Then my webmaster called me up to say my website crashed because I got 11,000 hits in the last half-hour.
TK: Your webmaster! (laughs)
MT: Both of you have musical backgrounds. Would you tell us a bit about that?
GB: Yeah, I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10 years old. That’s what I wanted to be – a rock star. Johnny Depp’s the same way. And then I got the opportunity to do some film work. I’ve played in some bands, but Tinsel’s the one who’s doing the recording.
TK: Yeah, I’m in the studio right now recording my first EP. I’ve always done music; it’s just that acting took off a lot faster. I’ve had some time now in the last couple of months to really focus and develop as a songwriter. It’s kind of like a mix of Norah Jones and Dido. I play guitar and piano too – a lot of people don’t know I’ve been doing that side by side for a very long time. I also box. It’s a really great stress relief. I’m a girly girl but I love UFC and boxing.
MT: (to Gil) On your website it said you went to the Albuquerque Comic-Con. What was your experience there?
GB: It was fun. I love the people there. I got to meet Lou Ferrigno. There are a lot of fans out there that always take care of you.
MT: Any plans to go to the San Diego Comic-Con?
GB: You mean that Wild West show out there? Yeah, you go to those things through invitation, but I’ve yet to be invited.
TK: Tear. (laughs)
MT: What’s your relationship with the Twilight movies? Do you own the DVDs? Do you watch them if they’re on TV? In the theater?
TK: We see them at the premieres. I have Eclipse and I’m hoping they’ll give me a copy of Breaking Dawn. It was funny – I saw New Moon on an airplane and was looking around to see if anyone was looking at me watching myself. (laughs)
GB: I would stand up in the aisle and announce: “Excuse me, does anyone on your screen look like anyone on the plane?” (laughs)
MT: What’s the coolest fan experience you’ve had so far?
TK: Last year I had my birthday at Chuck E. Cheese in Arizona and tweeted about it. A bunch of fans came out and we all played skee-ball and ate pizza, so that was really cool.
GB: (laughs) I’m a fan of Taylor, and my favorite Taylor Lautner moment was on Eclipse when he tried to stick as much gum in his mouth as possible. I think it was 36 pieces. Kristen Stewart said it was disgusting, and we said, “You could sell that on eBay!” With the fan thing, it’s really fun to watch parents’ reactions to their kids being so excited about meeting us. Teenagers don’t think their parents are cool and the parents struggle with that, but for that day, they’re like the coolest. That’s always a big joy.
TK: (pretending to be a fan’s parent) “Honey, do you want a picture? I’m going to get you a picture!”
MT: Was it hectic filming the last two movies at the same time?
GB: Not for us - more for the directors. But there was a lot more security. They had checkpoints where you couldn’t take cell phones. (to Tinsel) Did they do that for you?
MT: That was just for you!
TK: (laughs) That’s because you kept posting on Facebook.
GB: (laughs) (to Tinsel) Didn’t you get patted down on the set?
TK: (laughs) No!
GB: That was just me too?
TK: The hectic stuff was mainly for the directors and crew who had last minute scrambles doing a scene on the beach because Bella’s house was completely covered in snow. They had weather issues that probably got really interesting. I think what people don’t know about the movies is that it’s almost like shooting completely different movies. The wolves will have their time, then it’s the high school kids, then it’s the vampires and Volturi – there are still actors I haven’t even met yet, such as Jackson Rathbone. People are usually surprised to hear that we don’t know all the other cast members.
MT: What about at the premieres?
TK: Yes, but it’s so hectic with all the press, so there’s no time to mingle.
GB: When I did the first movie, I never met any of the Cullens. Then I saw Peter Facinelli at a coffee shop in Studio City. I said, “Hey, Peter!” and he thought I was just a fan. (laughs) I said, “I’m Gil Birmingham,” and he said, “Oh! I didn’t recognize you out of your wheelchair!” True story.
TK: (laughs) True story! As opposed to everything else which was false. (laughs)
MT: Last question – each of you tell us something about the other that no one knows. And make it juicy!
GB: This is pretty juicy. Most people don’t know Tinsel looks exactly like my sister.
TK: (laughs) That’s a true story. Every time I’m around him he just stares at me, and I ask: “I look like your sister, huh?” And he says, “Yup.” It gets creepy sometimes.
GB: And now you’re starting to act like her. She used to say I was creepy too.
TK: (laughs) I don’t know if nobody knows this, but Gil was in a music video for Diana Ross…
GB: (laughs) Everyone knows that!
TK: …and he’s in these short shorts carrying her around.
GB: It was my bodybuilding days.
MT: So we can YouTube this?
MT: You need to put that on your website.
GB: Okay, I want to change my story about what you don’t know about Tinsel…
- The Massie Twins
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