Meet the soon-to-be famous cast of ‘Twilight'

Rick Bentley
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

No one can accuse "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke of casting famous actors just to lure their fans to the theater. The "Twilight" cast is a collection of relatively unknown performers. Hardwicke could get away with it because there was a fan base for the original book that will see the movie no matter who stars.

Because they aren't so well known, the following is a guide to help you get better acquainted with the stars of the romance/vampire film.

Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen)

Age: 34. Hometown: New York

You've seen him in: "Hollow Man 2," "The Scorpion King," "Riding in Cars."

What he says about creating the vampire look. "There was about a week of testing all different kind of makeup. It was fun to see myself looking so differently with the contact lenses and the light skin."

Edi Gathegi (Laurent)

Age: 29. Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

You've seen him in: "Life on Mars," "House M.D.," "Gone Baby Gone."

What he says about the rabid "Twilight" fans. "I was at a premiere for 'Sex Drive' and there were a dozen fans with posters screaming my name. It took me off guard that they are so dedicated they will research to find out where we will be on any given night."

Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen)

Age: 21. Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

You've seen her in: "King of California," "Shark," "Crossing Jordan."

What she says about stunt work. "The wire work was amazing. It was super fun. It is not really that hard to take to."

Taylor Lautner (Jacob)

Age: 16. Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.

You've seen him in: "My Own Worst Enemy," "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D."

What he says about acting while wearing a long wig. "I was trying to talk to Bella and I was constantly spitting hair out of my mouth. They weren't looking for the best acting take. They wanted the take where I wasn't pulling hair out of my mouth."

Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria)

Age: 29. Hometown: Montreal

You've seen her in: "Swingtown," "Eli Stone," "Boston Legal."

What she says about the world of vampires. "When I was 14, I picked up Bram Stroker's 'Dracula.' I remember turning over the last page and immediately going back and reading the book again. What is so amazing about the vampire mythology is they are humans first. There is a continuity of memory. You are aware of your former life, but where does the humanity go?"

Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen)

Age: 23. Hometown: Dickinson, N.D.

You've seen him in: "The Comeback," "Stick It," "Generation Kill."

What he says about all of the Internet chatter about the cast. 'I think we all peeked at the blogs. I remember talking about it and saying they hated all of us except Ashley Greene. Everyone has their own ideas of these characters. They had actors in their heads they wanted to play these characters. And then this cast was thrown upon them."

Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen)

Age: 22. Hometown: London, England

You've seen him in: "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

What he says about working with Kristen Stewart. "I went into the audition having no idea how to play the part. Kristen did her part so differently than I expected I was shocked by her performance. That's when I realized there could be a lot of depth to the story."

Jackson Rathbone (Jasper Cullen)

Age: 24. Hometown: Singapore

You've seen him in: "Molding Clay," "Pray for Morning," "The O.C."

What he says about the contacts he wore to change his eyes. "I don't wear glasses. And I have never worn contacts. But my whole family has. They said it would be easy. I wasn't able to put the contacts in myself. There were two people who held my eyes open, said 'think happy thoughts,' and got them in."

Elizabeth Reaser (Esme Cullen)

Age: 33. Hometown: Bloomfield, Mich.

You've seen her in: "The Ex-List," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Sopranos."

What she says about playing her character. "The backstory was pretty specific in the books, although I have not read the fourth book yet with her tragic life and Carlisle saving her. She is a very loving and warm character which is really easy to conjure up."

Nikki Reed (Rosalie Cullen)

Age: 20. Hometown: Los Angeles

You've seen her in: "Thirteen," "The O.C.," "Lords of Dogtown."

What she says about stunt work. "It was painful for me. You are strapped into this thing hooked onto 40 cables. They lift you in the air. Then they say camera is not ready. So you are just dangling in the air."

Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan)

Age: 18. Hometown: Los Angeles

You've seen her in: "Into the Wild," "What Just Happened?," "Cold Creek Manor," "Panic Room."

What she says about the appeal of the "Twilight" book. "It is such a first-hand account you feel like you are doing it yourself. At the same time you also feel voyeuristic. It is like you are reading someone's private thoughts."

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