Fashion Model, Vampire, Lord Of The Jungle... just three titles that might cover the career of actor Kellan Lutz. The chisel jawed model became hot property when he played Emmett Cullen in the Twilight saga. This summer he rubs shoulders with Sylvester Stallone and company in THE EXPENDABLES 3 and this month he appears in a new version of TARZAN. The actor was in Dublin last month for the premiere of the new motion capture animation. Movies.ie went swinging with him afterwards.
You're no stranger to playing a beloved literary character, did you feel a different sense of responsibility with TARZAN than you did on TWILIGHT?
Kellan Lutz: Not necessarily a responsibility, because that's how I live my day to day life. I am very much a professional and I do my homework. I show up on time and I am well prepared. I do the best of my ability in portraying and honouring these characters. I want to honour them, much like any character I play. Most importantly, I was hired because of what I did, and I just wanted to make it my own.
What was the attraction of playing an iconic character like Tarzan?
KL: I love Tarzan. Growing up and as a little boy, I think every kid wished he was Tarzan; he's raised by apes and to just be that kid in the jungle. Going after this film, I did whatever I could; you take your meetings, you audition... I wore my underwear with a wig and Reinhard [Klooss], our director, loved what I did.
This version of TARZAN adds new elements to the classic story, this time around Tarzan has to protect his jungle home from a new threat in the shape of a corporation looking for a new source of energy, was this part of the draw for you?
KL: I am very much an environmental activist; I work with a lot of charities to protect the rainforest and to stop the poaching of the tigers and apes, and just really trying to save our Earth. We are blessed to have these creatures and we are responsible for them. I wondered how we were going to make [the film] unique, make it different because the story of Tarzan has been told time and time again, and there was the Disney version already that was animated. When I read the script and saw how passionate Reinhard was, and seeing where he wanted to go with the story - protecting the jungle - it felt like home. I am passionate about the character, I am passionate about what the cause is and the story that is being told, and the effect it will have on kids and adults in the audience. It's very modern and contemporary, and relative to the times that we live in.
The Dublin premiere of TARZAN is in aid of Ape Action Africa, why did you decide to support this charity?
KL: It's such an important cause that people do not understand. It's not ignorance, because they just don't know about it, so it's a lack of education. What I want to do is educate fans who will see these movies; use my platform, use my voice and go down there when I can. They are saving these apes who are being trafficked and sold for their meat. They are going to be extinct in 20 or 30 years at the rate they are going. There is bad going on everywhere and what this organisation is doing is trying to stop the poaching, stop the trading, provide these animals their environment, and educate people, let them know what's going on and how they can help. It's a small fund right now, so the more backers we get, I am proud to be part of it, I am proud of everything they are doing. That's why I am glad... It's reflective [of ‘Tarzan'] and it's great to have organisations like this who stand behind what we are doing with the movie and we can stand behind them. It's very complimentary.
TARZAN is now showing in Irish cinemas
Words: Brogen Hayes