Around the planet, legions of obsessive fans are wringing their hands in anticipation for Friday, Nov. 20: The day New Moon — the second big screen instalment of the beloved teenage vampire story — sees the light of the projector beam.
The saga of gentle bloodsucker Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his mortal muse Bella (Kristen Stewart) takes a darker turn with this bigger, more ambitious sequel, which sees romantic complications ensue in the form of friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a werewolf who takes more than just a shine to the conflicted heroine.
But although it’s Pattinson and Stewart who receive the lion’s share of the heart-throbbing and tabloid attention, the peripheral players in the Twilight world have also seen their lives change almost overnight.
With the coming of New Moon, co-stars Michael Welch and Anna Kendrick — whose turns as Bella’s sweet but oblivious human pals help keep the narrative grounded in reality — are getting ready for the next step in their flashbulb and fan mail soaked careers.
“My character hasn’t changed all that much,” says Welch, 22, who plays swooning third wheel Mike Newton.
“Mike is still head over heels in love with Bella only this time he gets caught up in the whole vampire werewolf love triangle that develops.”
The followers of Meyer’s books have been generally positive about Welch’s portrayal of Mike, though as the actor says, the Internet is best to be avoided.
“The Net is a scary place,” Welch sighs. “There are tons of fans who have accepted me but just as many who criticize the weirdest things. Some of them fixate on how I look, like they don’t like my nose or whatever. I try not to read that stuff, but it's hard.”
Co-star Kendrick reprises her role as Jessica, who — despite being friends with Bella — still harbours jealousy towards her, especially when it comes to Mike, her not so secret crush. But, despite her raised profile in the franchise, Kendrick hasn’t fallen pray to the sort of media swarming that Stewart courts.
“I have my cake and eat it too,” she says. “I go about my day and no one recognizes me, I can still leave the house.”
This, however, may change, not only because of her stint in New Moon, but for her featured role in another cult property, director Edgar Wright’s upcoming comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
“Going to Comic-Con this year was a trip,” Kendrick quips.
“You have your Twilight geeks and your Edgar Wright geeks talking to me, both totally diehard and so different. But I think we should all just get along, you know?”