Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

Over the Hedge

Doesn't truly achieve liftoff until the inspired conclusion pulls out all the stops —Matt Anderson (review...)

Critters ponder life Over the Hedge

" I didn’t think you liked Elton John. "
— Gwynneth Paltrow, Sliding Doors

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Visiting Denver on the day of a partial lunar eclipse, Tinsel Korey and Booboo Stewart sat down for a two-on-one chat about The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which opens June 30, in time to take advantage of the long July 4 holiday weekend and only 12 days ahead of a total solar eclipse (for those in the southern hemisphere).

The Twilight Saga has turned into an enormous cultural phenomenon, with tween girls and “Twi-moms” and “Twi-grandmas” transforming Stephenie Meyer’s books into global bestsellers and the movies into blockbusters. They embrace the story of a teenage girl torn by a lifestyle divide of paranormal proportions. Should Bella Swan (played by teen “fenom” Kristen Stewart) join Team Edward (led by teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson) or Team Jacob (led by another teen sensation, Taylor Lautner)? For those still in the dark, the choice is as dramatic as the historic enmity that separates vampires from werewolves.

Given the immensity of the Twilight series, it’d be easy for the movie to totally eclipse Tinsel and Booboo. But they’re a pair of good spirits with level heads and it’ll be fun to watch them as their multi-talented careers progress.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Tinsel returns to the Twilight saga after making her series debut as Emily Young in New Moon. She’s not Team Edward. She’s not Team Jacob. She’s Team Sam, a team Tinsel created on-the-spot when asked where her allegiance lies. “I stay loyal to my man,” Tinsel said of her character, who bears a massive scar incurred during one of Sam’s temper-induced transformations into a wolf.

Eclipse introduces a new character, Seth Clearwater, who attempts to forge a truce between the shape-shifters and the vampires. That’s where Booboo comes in.

“I think it’s going to be awesome,” Booboo said of the opportunity to meet the “Twi-hards” at a free evening screening of New Moon at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver. “The fans are so loyal and none of the fans are like insane,” Booboo said. “They just want to know you and they want to be friends with you (that) type of thing, rather than, like, take you to their house and keep you forever, or something. They just want to know who you are and they just want to spend time with you.”

Both Tinsel and Booboo eagerly point out Eclipse represents a bit of a departure from the previous two movies. This one has more action that’ll appeal to the boys, while there’s also plenty more romantic tension for the girls as the love triangle, so to speak, evolves between Bella, Edward, and Jacob.

“It has a lot of great action pieces and what’s cool about them is Eclipse, if you haven’t seen the first two, if you want, you can just kind of start with Eclipse to get into it,” Booboo explained, “because I think for a lot of the guys, they’re gonna be like, ‘Oh, maybe I don’t want to watch the first two, there’s not enough action’ or something. You can start with Eclipse and still get into the story. Then, if you want, go back and watch the first two.”

As for the series’ widespread appeal, Booboo said, “I think it’s so famous because three generations of people like it, like grandmas and the moms, then their daughters, granddaughters... they all like the same thing, they can all relate to something.”

“I think also this is the first time that a film like this, like an action film, has been geared towards women,” Tinsel said. “Normally it’s all towards men and I think this is the way of females saying, ‘Hey, thanks for thinking of us at the same time.’ And it’s about first loves, right? It takes people back to that first time, those extreme emotions that you feel when you have that. It’s not just a book, it’s a full experience.”

New Directions

Each of the Twilight movies has been brought to the screen under the vision and stylings of a different director. Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) directed the first movie, with Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) handling New Moon, and David Slade (30 Days of Night) tackling Eclipse. The fourth book, Breaking Dawn, will follow the lead of Harry Potter’s final novel and will be split into two movies, to be released in 2011 and 2012, under the direction of Bill Condon (Dreamgirls).

Tinsel explained her view of how the two directors she’s worked with differed in directorial style. “Chris Weitz, I think, is an actor’s director, you know, a lot more feelings and emotions. David Slade is just a lot more technical, because there is so much action and stuff, he was a lot more technically focused.”

Booboo, who’s new to the series, but not new to acting, liked working with Slade. “David Slade, the director, did such an amazing job with the project, bringing more of a dark side, more action to it, but still keeping romance in it so the girls will be happy, but the guys who go see it will be happy, too.”

While both Emily and Seth are in the novel Breaking Dawn and Tinsel is optioned for the movie, it still depends on the direction the final screenplay takes before either Tinsel or Booboo will know if they’ll be back. For now, everybody’s focused on Eclipse. And, in the world of movies, nothing is really guaranteed. In Eclipse, Bryce Dallas Howard takes over the role of Victoria, a role previously played by Rachelle Lefevre.

Privacy in the Spotlight

As some in the media are known to relish, the series’ young stars, particularly Pattinson and Stewart, have been shoved into the spotlight, slapped onto a Petri dish and slipped under a microscope, and have had just about every word and action dissected.

For one thing, Ancestry.com has divulged a report that Pattinson is actually a direct descendant of Vlad the Impaler, a real-life historical figure known for his sheer brutality and, more importantly, as the real Dracula. Surely it’s attention-grabbing for Ancestry to promote its online research service by tying the young actor, who plays a vampire in the Twilight series, to the legendary historic figure and create an art-imitating-life aura around the Twilight phenomenon.

It’s something that doesn’t sit well with Tinsel. “I thought that was a really big invasion of privacy and even though I’m not Rob, I’m offended for him,” she said.

“I think they’re amazing people,” Tinsel said of Twilight’s headliners, Pattinson and Stewart. “I think people just like to dissect things; I think everyone in this cast has been dissected to microscopic levels. People see and interpret what they want to interpret because you don’t actually have interaction with those people. They’re both absolutely lovely people. People ask me about Kristen all the time and they’re like, ‘She’s really shy and reserved.’ I’m like, ‘She’s a professional and she has a lot of pressure, and she’s playing this character that people are in love with. And so people can make whatever things they want to make of them, but they’re both lovely people.”

“Agreed,” Booboo said.

Tinsel

“I’m an Aries, so I’m a very opinionated person,” Tinsel said of herself. “I’m a very emo person, and I’m an artist too, so I have that ‘woe is me’ sort of thing. I’m the type of person that a hundred people in the room can be like, ‘You’re awesome!’ and one person’s like, ‘Meh, she’s all right,’ and I’ll focus on that and dissect it, but I’m slowly starting to move past that and be like, ‘I don’t care.’ It’s a work in progress.”

Seemingly a clash of interests with her musical and artistic interests, Tinsel is also into boxing. Regarding that clash, Tinsel also proves to be quick-witted as she quipped, “If you don’t like my music, I start swinging.”

“For me, the problem is every single time I get serious about music, acting seems to jump in the way and then I get pulled out of it,” Tinsel said.

She’s been meeting a lot of great musicians in Los Angeles and knows she needs to get a full album out there to advance her musical ambitions. “My fans have been really patient with me, but this year!” she said, setting expectations for that album finally seeing completion. For now, while not on the Twilight circuit, Tinsel performs at the occasional festival, but without an album to promote, it doesn’t make sense to rack up the expenses of a full-blown tour.

based on the music that is already available online, there are plenty of reasons to expect Tinsel to gain a larger musical following. Her music covers shades of the blues and jazz and her vocals are reminiscent of Norah Jones’ style, while mining a different background and collection of experiences.

One of Tinsel’s songs that has earned a lot of attention is Into the West, an evocative song she wrote after having been inspired while working on the Steven Spielberg-produced TV mini-series of the same title. “The great thing about that song was that it’s actually been received well by all different cultures and people and people just seem to feel it. I put my heart and soul into it, so I think that’s what people are gravitating towards.”

Regarding what feeds her musical inspirations, Tinsel said, “I think it’s the simple moments that can be captured more in music, you know? It’s a lot of human study, and watching, the simple things that happen in life.” And political issues also get her mojo going.

As for performaing live, Tinsel said, “You get nervous at the beginning, and once you’re on stage you feel this energy and then you just kind of fall into it. It’s great because you get a reaction from the crowd and you can feel it and there’s all this awesome energy stuff that’s happening, so it’s cool.”

Also on the horizon is her first lead role in the indie movie Stained, in which she plays a borderline schizophrenic bookstore owner whose past lover re-enters the picture and stirs up a lot of chaos. “It was a really, really dark role,” Tinsel said of the experience, “and a lot of crying and a lot of emotional stress, but the end product, I was happy with it.”

Booboo

Booboo, whose birth name is Nils Stewart, Jr., got his nickname as a baby and has stuck with it since it’s a name people remember. Similar to Tinsel, he’s already an accomplished musician, actor, and martial artist. In addition to a slew of TV and movie roles, Booboo worked as a motion capture stunt double for Beowulf in Robert Zemeckis’ animated adventure.

On the musical front, Booboo performed in the tween group T-Squad and toured the country while opening for Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and the Cheetah Girls.

“We did some fun tours,” Booboo said of that chapter in his then 12-year-old life. “It was insane. We did the Honda Center for Cheetah Girls one time, that was 15,000 people. It’s fun though; it’s easier to perform in front of thousands of people than it is to perform in front of, like, a hundred people because you know everyone’s staring at you. You can see everyone’s face right there and you get so much more nervous.”

“I think if you don’t get nervous before you go on stage, something’s wrong,” said Booboo. “Or for me, I just get really nervous. But I think it’s really cool that people actually come out to see you perform.”

Interested in dreaming up music different from the T-Squad’s pop sound, Booboo, who’s been playing guitar for 6 1/2 years, is now working on some alternative rock with his sisters. Booboo and Fivel have a track available on iTunes and a full album is in the works.

“It’s a noisy house, I think. Everyone’s always singing super loud or doing something loud. But, you know, it’s really fun,” Booboo said of life in the Stewart house. “We all get along, we’re always with each other traveling.”

But it’s not all fun and games. “Our parents keep us really grounded,” Booboo said. “The first day, when I got the call saying, ‘You got the part of Seth,’ my mom made me go do yard work.”

Booboo’s also working on a comic book project called Millennium Man, about a kid with super powers that allow him to control electricity. It’s the type of project that requires a lot of concentration and turning off all the gadgets, except for maybe his iPod.

“It’s definitely the hardest job I’ve ever done,” Booboo said of his duties as the comic book series’ illustrator. “It’s so hard, you just have to focus. Aargh! I messed up his eye. Erase it. Argh! I erased the whole face. Darn it!”

Mutual Causes

In addition to their creative pursuits, both Tinsel and Booboo find satisfaction in giving back to their communities.

The two are collaborating on a venture far from the world of werewolves and vampires, working with Chaske Spencer at United Global Shift. The organization helps those with ideas for community improvement projects find the resources needed to make their ideas a reality.

Aside from that, Tinsel is also starting up a foundation with a short-term goal of bringing art programs into Native American communities that don’t have them. “For me, if I didn’t have art, I don’t know where I would be,” Tinsel said. “As young people, you always have all these emotions and you don’t know where to put them. I think art is a positive place to do it.”

The foundation has a five-year goal of expanding the programs into Third World countries.

Booboo also finds working with the Muscular Dystrophy Assocation rewarding. As he noted, “It makes you realize how much you have just being able to walk and use your hands.”