So youíre going to play the part of Mike Newton in Twilight. What was the audition process like?
Well I originally auditioned for Edward, and as Iíve mentioned before, Iím really glad I didnít get it! I was never quite right for it, mainly because Edward is described as unearthly beauty and thatís not quite a responsibility I want and not one I think I can pull off. But thatís fine you know. I think Robert is the perfect man. So I first auditioned as Edward. Then they had me come back as Eric and I had a lot of fun with it. At this point, I hadnít read the books so I was just reading what I was given. And finally Mike just seemed to be a perfect fit. The decent, likeable, athletic guy who has a crush on a girl who he doesnít have an equal shot with. I think thatís someone many people can relate to. In the audition, we had a mix and match session, which is when all the potential people who are up for a role get together in a room and they try to determine which group of people has the best chemistry. Iím glad they kept bringing me back until they found the role for me!
In the mix and match, did you get put with Kristen, Robert etc?
Robert wasnít thereÖI did work with Kristen and Justin Chong though. It was really awkward though. Itís strange in that situation when there are about 5 people in the scene and each person has one line and weíre all trying to get the job. Itís just weird. But when I got to work one on one with Kristen, I think that went really well.
So you hadnít read the books before getting the role. Did you read them afterwards?
Yeah I read the first book. I didnít want to read the others at that point because I knew there was a possibility of more movies and I didnít want to get ahead of the story. But I will read all of the books eventually.
What was filming like?
Filming was pretty intense. First of all, Kristen was still 17 during about half the filming so we had to play by the child labour rules which can be restricting on a set. Then also the weather in the North West is insane. Vampires canít be out in the sun so itís crazy to work around that. I had fun! The high school group was a fantastic group to work with. It was pretty surreal. We would film something during the day and then there would be footage from that scene on youtube at night! It was insane! Iíve never been a part of something thatís generated so much excitement!
Did lots of fans visit the set?
A lot of people who worked as background were Twilight fans. A lot of Twilight mums would hang out around the set so whenever the cast went to and from set, weíd talk to them and take some pictures. There were lots of fans around.
Do you think the cast managed to portray the characters from the book?
I donít see how you can get a better Bella and Edward than Kristen and Robert. Once I heard that Kristen was playing Bella, it seemed like it made the story fit. Sheís so interesting and has a mysterious quality about her thatís perfect for Bella. Iím not worried about the cast at all. I think the fans are going to be happy overall.
Which was your favourite scene filmed and why?
Thereís a scene where Mike asks Bella to the prom and I think that was my favourite scenes, because it was my best chance for one on one acting. A lot of what these characters do is to provide relief throughout the film and that was the one opportunity that I got to do alone with Kristen. It was interesting actually because I had a similar experience in high school so the more we did it, it started to get painful because I was re-living my high school years. It was fine though because thatís what acting is all about! Taking your experiences and putting them out there.
Was it hard to become Mike Newton?
I found him similar to myself. If I had grown up in different circumstances, I very well could have been Mike Newton! There wasnít a lot of stretching. Mostly I came from myself and I was real. It wasnít a big stretch to tap into the character.
Can you tell us any set secrets?
I know this isnít really a set secret but Justin Chong has an amazing taste in food! He found all the best places to eat in Portland and took me there.
Did you have any embarrassing moments on set?
We were in the middle of a scene and Catherine told Justin to nail me in the head with a volleyball. That was quite surprising but not really embarrassing. Itís hard for me to get embarrassedÖpart of acting is letting go of all that and just accepting situations.
Mike Newton has a crush on Bella. Did you have a crush on Kristen?
I will say that I do have a girlfriend. But apart from that, Iím genuinely interested in Kristen but not in an attraction sort of way. As a fellow actor, I think sheís amazing! Thereís a genuine intrigue for her as a person, but no crush.
Youíre amazing at tuning into a character and transforming into them. Whatís your secret?
For Stargate, for example, I literally was a clone for someone else so I had to look at his mannerisms etc, but really impressions are how I got into the business. That was my speciality as a kid; doing impressions. Itís part of what has always been intriguing to me. If youíre not a particular confident person for example, you can still play the most confident person in the world! Thatís the fun of acting! So I guess I donít have a specific secretÖjust details are very important.
And now some random questions for fans to get to know you better.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Monkey. Pudding. Stew.
If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Iíve always wanted to go to AustraliaÖI donít know why! I like the people, the energy, the kangaroosÖ
What are your hobbies?
I love to play the drums! I love to jam with people whenever I can.
If you were stuck on a desert island with only three things, what would they be?
Iím going to need a portable never ending boom box, something that can play music unlimitedly, the full collection of Pink Floyd, and one of those paddles with the string and the ball to entertain myself.
Do you have any pets?
I have a dog. Heís a mix of Maltese and Poodle.
Tell me a secret!
I used to play Magic the Gathering. Itís like Dungeons and Dragons, without the dressing up. You have sorcery, creatures etc and you kill other wizards. I was heavily into that for a while.
When I was 12, I was the number 2 best tennis player in the Santa Clarita Valley under the age of 12.
Whatís the strangest thing youíve had in your mouth?
When I was about 13, I was dared to eat a spoonful of whatever concoction my ďfriendsĒ made. Iím not sure what they put in but Iím sure they put ketchup, rust, carrots etc. It was disgusting!
Whatís your secret addiction?
Right now, itís actually politics. Iím entirely obsessed! I donít get righteous on everyone, but Iím just personally interested and I love following it. Itís a great game.
What was your nickname at school?
In elementary school, they called me Michelle. In high school, they called me white Mike.
What irrationally annoys you?
When technology doesnít work!
Whatís the weirdest rumour youíve heard about yourself?
Iíve gotten the gay rumour a few timesÖany young kid whoís interested in drama might be interpreted that way!
Do you have a myspace? If yes, what is it?
I have a nice little internet network. I have www.myspace.com/officialmichaelwelch which is me and I also have a website, www.michaelwelchonline.com. There are some awesome fan sites around as well! I have a PO box as well for fan mail and you can find that on my website.