Here at Fanhattan, we brought you all the big stars of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, but we know how Twihards think. If there’s a character on one page, you want to know everything about them, so we went out and found some of those memorable vampires too.
Marisa Quinn only ended up in one scene in Breaking Dawn – Part 2, and if you’ve read the book you know it’s that pivotal scene with Huilen at the end they couldn’t remove. We got to speak with Quinn and find out about other scenes she shot, so we hope they end up on the DVD, and more about her unique heritage and acting experience.
Fanhattan: How does it feel to join the Twilight family in the final film?
Marisa Quinn: A dream come true. Nothing short of a dream come true.
Fanhattan: Was it really?
Marisa Quinn: Yeah, it was because I was a fan of the books and the movies and everything before I ever got cast. When you fall in love with something like that, so epic in scale, you just never really believe that you have a chance of actually being in it. When the audition came in, I was like, “Oh, no way. There’s no chance I’m going to get this one.” Then something just clicked inside and I was like, “Someone’s got to book this role, so why can’t it be you?” And it turns out it was.
Fanhattan: How competitive were these auditions?
Marisa Quinn: They were really competitive. Everybody in town wanted these roles so they saw a lot of people, to my understanding, but my whole method is just there’s only two people up for a part: you and the person who gets the part. You have to just make sure they’re the same person. I just tried to put everything out of my mind. There was a long line of girls behind me but I was the first one in the door and that’s that. I went in and did it.
Fanhattan: Do you know what you did to make such a good first impression?
Marisa Quinn: I hope I did. I had no idea but I did hope.
Fanhattan: You never found out later what it was?
Marisa Quinn: No, they never tell you. They never tell you. I guess I did something right.
Fanhattan: Were you auditioning for Bill Condon or were they putting you on tape?
Marisa Quinn: It was actually on tape. They cast this role quite late in the process. I believe I was the last person to be cast or one of the last people to be cast. So I was on tape. Bill Condon was already shooting. He was already in Baton Rouge. It was all on tape, I did it once, the casting director was like, “Great, thank you so much.” I was like, “Do you want me to do it again?” She was like, “No, that was great.” Usually that means, “Okay, get out of here.” But I guess this time they really meant that I did great.
Fanhattan: When did you first read Breaking Dawn?
Marisa Quinn: Gosh, when was it. Probably two years ago maybe. I was a little bit late on the bandwagon. I have to be honest and say when I first heard about Twilight I was like oh God, please. My younger sisters were very into it and they’re quite a bit younger than me, and I was like oh please, if they’re into it, why would I like it? One time I was home for Christmas, they made me sit down and watch the first movie. I was like oh God, fine, I’ll watch it. And I fell in love. Oh my God, I couldn’t wait to see the next one. I made them drive to their friend’s house to get a copy of New Moon so I could start reading that. I took all the books home on the plane. It was so funny. I was hooked but I was definitely a convert. At first I thought it was really silly and as soon as I saw the first movie, I had to read all the books.
Fanhattan: So were you Team Jacob or Team Edward?
Marisa Quinn: You know, I was always, always Team Edward and I never thought anything would sway me. I got on set and I was scheduled only to film with the vampires because in the scene that I’m in, all the wolf pack are actually CGIed. They weren’t actually present as human beings. So I was only hanging out with Jacob’s cardboard cutout. I never expected to meet any of them and I was just on my way to get some tea during one of the breaks, and I literally ran into Taylor Lautner. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do. I was rendered speechless. He was so beautiful, his smile was sparkling and his eyes were sparkling. I couldn’t say anything. He’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry, are you okay?” And I was like, “Oh, uh, uh, yeah, thanks.” There he was and I walked out to my trailer and my costar, JD Pardo who plays my nephew Nahuel just [said], “What just happened to you? There was this weird look on your face.” I was like, “Oh my God. I think I’m Team Jacob.” It was so funny. I had no idea that he would impact me that way so who knows, maybe I’m a flip flopper. If I’m in Jacob’s presence I’m Team Jacob and if I’m in front of Edward, I’m Team Edward.
Fanhattan: I’m Team Jacob. Even with a small role in Twilight, I thought, “This kid’s cool. This is the guy she should be with.”
Marisa Quinn: Right? He is so much fun. He’s a lot of fun. I love that character.
Fanhattan: When you read Breaking Dawn, what were your thoughts on Huilen, long before you knew it was even a possibility you’d play her?
“Oh my God. I think I’m Team Jacob.”
Marisa Quinn: What I loved, what stood out so much about Breaking Dawn for me was how global the story became. As a woman of color myself, it just felt so amazing to read about a character that was my same skin tone and that was from South America. I’m not from South America. My heritage is Lipan Apache and Mexican but I am Latina, so that there were Latina characters at all, and they were vampires was the coolest thing for me. I could only imagine in my head that all the other races in the world that were across the globe that were reading this book were feeling the same thing, and how wonderful it was for Stephenie to include us, all races and all cultures in her book and in this beautiful series. I just felt really special because of that. I felt like the book was really special because of that and I definitely connected to that character because the way Stephenie described her in the book looks a lot like what I look like in real life. I definitely, when I read it, imagined somebody that sort of looked like me but I didn’t really imagine myself in the role per se. When I finally got the audition, I was like oh wow, I can see myself in that!
Fanhattan: Did you only film the one scene for Breaking Dawn – Part 2?
Marisa Quinn: I definitely know it’s not one scene because we definitely shot a couple in different locations. I shot in Baton Rouge for several and then the other scene I shot in Squamish which is outside of Vancouver, but you never know how they’re going to cut it together, you don’t know what’s going to happen. I have my fingers crossed. If you’ve read the books, you know that my character is in a very pivotal scene and a very pivotal section in the book. So the scenes that I’m in in the book, we shot. How much of that will make it into the movie, we’ll see.
Fanhattan: Did you work with everyone in the climactic scene?
Marisa Quinn: They are all in it. In the big scene that I’m in, everyone is in it. The Volturi, all the Cullens, all the vampires from all over the world that came to aid the Cullens, all the Volturi backers. Everybody. Renesmee, the wolf pack. I don’t think there’s anyone missing. It was pretty surreal.
Fanhattan: Did you have any vampire makeup to make you more pale?
Marisa Quinn: You know what’s funny is that I thought there would be, but like in the book, the vampires of color tend to just kind of be maybe the lightest shade of whatever they were in their real life. But in real life, Native Americans and Latinas, we have color no matter what. So they wanted me to be not super, super tan but definitely to be a tan vampire. I just went in with my normal skin color and my character is straight out of the jungle. It’s only her and her nephew that hang out together. They’re not a part of the big coven. They don’t socialize in humanity so they didn’t want her to look fancy at all. They brought me in, they put some moisturizer and a little bit of powder on my face and they fluffed up my hair, they kind of messed it up and they’re like, “Okay, bye.” It was the easiest makeup and hair session I’ve ever had in my whole life.
Fanhattan: Did you get to meet Stephenie Meyer?
Marisa Quinn: I did and she was so fantastic. Just briefly, just like, “Hi, oh thank you so much for writing this amazing character.” And that was about that but she was very, very kind and sweet.
Fanhattan: So she didn’t have any notes for you?
Marisa Quinn: No, no, which I guess is a good thing because she watched from video village all the time. She was always in video village watching everything and making sure everything was authentic to the world she had designed. From what I heard from the other cast, if she doesn’t say anything, you’re doing it right. Okay.
Fanhattan: What doors has this opened for you?
Marisa Quinn: I feel like the doors are still starting to open because just now publicity is starting and people are starting to find out that I’m in this role. It was kind of hush hush before. So I think it’s just starting and the world is definitely opening up. People are calling my management and my publicist and inviting me places. It’s a magical time and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Fanhattan: What was the process of paying your dues as an actor? You started in New York?
Marisa Quinn: I did and it was really tough. I definitely wanted to throw my hands up in the air and say I’m done at least 5-10 times in the course of my career. Any time I felt like that, I just had to get a good cry out. The sun rises and you’re like, “It’s another day. It’s another day. Let’s give it all you got.” And you have to do that. Anybody who wants to get into this business, I say this one thing. If there’s anything else in the world that will make you happy, do that because it’ll be so much easier and you will have a wonderful, happy life. But if nothing in the world will make you happy except for being a performer, if you have to perform, if you have to act to be happy then do it and don’t let anything stop you, because a huge, huge percentage of what makes an actor successful in L.A. is just perseverance. If you stay here long enough and you keep at it and you go to class and you sharpen your skills and you’re giving it all you got all the time, it’s going to happen for you.
Fanhattan: You did a lot of commercial work and I unfortunately have not watched many commercials in the last 20 years since the invention of the VCR. Were you in some spots that our readers might recognize?
Marisa Quinn: Yes, for sure. I think my biggest spot has been the McDonald’s smoothie commercial. It aired last summer and this summer as well, that was a nice surprise. I got phone calls and Facebook posts from all over the place saying, “I saw you on TV again.” Great! Yay. Yes, it’s for the smoothies, mango and strawberry smoothies. Before that I was in a really cool Coca-Cola commercial for the Summer Olympics, not these past ones but four years ago. That was really neat. It was 1950s cheerleaders and football players and all of that against modern day football and cheerleaders and it was so cool. We got to cheer and do stunts. I was a cheerleader in high school so I got to dust off the old skills and tumble across the football field. We actually shot on a real football field and it was so cool.
Fanhattan: Have you kept in shape from your cheerleading and gymnastics training?
Marisa Quinn: I did, I did and I got to use them for an action film I did called Road House 2. I had a really cool fight scene and a lot of the gymnastics stuff was used in that fight scene which was really cool. Unfortunately, because we were in a really, really small space, the insurance people were like, “Uh, we’re not going to let her do everything because she’s got to shoot a whole month’s worth of stuff after this.” So unfortunately they didn’t let me do all of my own stunts in that but when we were in rehearsal, I was doing all the back handsprings and the front walkover, pretty much everything that ended up in the reel thing but when it came down to it, we were shooting in a really small kitchen. The insurance people were like, “Your stunt double’s going to do that one.” Dang it.
Fanhattan: In the smoothie commercial, did you just drink the smoothie?
Marisa Quinn: Yeah, it was really tough work, you know. [Laughs]
Fanhattan: How many did you have to drink?
Marisa Quinn: Just one. It was really quick.
Fanhattan: First take.
Marisa Quinn: It wasn’t a single take. I would say maybe three or four. All they needed to see was a sip of it and it tasted really good. It was a warm day out in downtown L.A. and I was in heaven. I was like really? I’m getting paid to do this? Awesome!
Fanhattan: Has being on a big budget studio film like Breaking Dawn ruined you for indies?
Marisa Quinn: Absolutely not. I love and adore indies and would just clamor at the opportunity to do something like that. I’m very into self-producing. My dream is actually to partner with somebody who has a really amazing script and executive produce or just produce and get something made from the bottom up I want to be in from the very beginning from the conceptualization of everything to the preproduction to casting, post-production, the whole thing. I did that for a TV pilot presentation we just produced this past year and that was so amazing. I’m completely addicted to producing now and I really want to get involved in independent film and tell stories that really need to be told. They might not be the blockbuster films. They might not get worldwide attention but they are stories that need to be told and if all they do is go to film festivals and small arthouse theaters, so be it, but the story’s been told.
Fanhattan: What is your company working on?
Marisa Quinn: We’re still shopping around the television pilot called Sweet Mary and Jane. We’re also taking it to festivals to get exposure and just network around. You can see the trailer online. It’s youtube.com/sweetmaryandjane. Then we’re looking for our next project.
Fanhattan: What’s another type of story that needs to be told?
Marisa Quinn: I am really connected to my heritage and my Latina culture and my Native American Lipan Apache. I would love stories in that realm. That’s what I’m looking for, and historical stories, maybe more of the old West type of stories in that era. We’ve seen a lot of that on the American side of things, but there was also an old West in Mexico that was happening. There was a lot of stuff that happened in Texas especially, Texas is where I’m from, there’s a lot of history that involves the Native Americans and the Mexicans in ways that are positive and not necessarily bad. In a lot of things like The Alamo and stories like that, the Mexican people are bad guys but we weren’t always bad guys. I’d kind of like to tell a story where we’re on the good side of things, not the evil people.