We sat down with one of the stars of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Amadou Ly. Amadou plays Henri, a French vampire. It was great to be able to learn more about his character and hear about his experience on the set, with his fellow actors, with the ghosts in his hotel, and so much more. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 opens in theaters everywhere this weekend. Follow Amadou on Twitter @amadouLy.
Patrick G. Keenan: Have you met some Twilight fans?
Amadou Ly: It was really amazing. We had a Twilight event and it was really amazing to walk in there and expect them to not know you at first but when you walk in there and they are like ah… It’s really exciting. It was really lovely to meet them in person. Twilight fans are very cheerful. They control the energy and I love that. I’ve been in contact with them via Twitter and Facebook. We really appreciate their love.
Patrick G. Keenan: You play Henri. Is there a French accent to it?
Amadou Ly: Yes, and we are speaking French with a French accent as well. The special thing about the character is that he is not in the book.
Patrick G. Keenan: I was going to say that the hardcore fans will know the book and would go this is who’s playing Henri but you will mess them up a bit. They were not prepared.
Amadou Ly: I know but actually we did them a favor in a way because adding this new character gave this film a whole new flavor. French is sexy. There is that sexiness that we bring to the characters.
Patrick G. Keenan: So you are a vampire and you’re French. Do you have a partner?
Amadou Ly: Oh yeah, my coven Yvette (Janelle Froehlich). Janelle is an incredible actress. She’s such a loving and sweet lady. She’s amazing.
Patrick G. Keenan: What was the audition process like for this? Was it easier than you expected?
Amadou Ly: When I received the script I automatically connected with it. Which is not weird but I felt that the piece that they were asking me to audition for I went through that in life, so it was only a matter of expressing that with their words. I put in a lot of work so when I went in I was pretty confident. I actually walked out of there saying to myself, “I got this.” We had an amazing casting director. They just made the room so friendly. And the writers really helped. They did an amazing job.
Patrick G. Keenan: That’s awesome. You’re from Senegal? How long have you been here?
Amadou Ly: I am. I’ve been in the U.S. for eleven years.
Patrick G. Keenan: Your accent isn’t very thick. Did you work on it?
Amadou Ly: Yes. That is something that I definitely worked on but mostly by just listening to people. I’ve been in this country long enough to pick it up.
Patrick G. Keenan: Are you one of the vampires that helps the Cullen family or are you one of the nasty rumor starters? You’re not a Volturi?
Amadou Ly: The thing is that I can’t confirm that. I can tell you that I hate playing good guys. I love playing bad guys and I think from the big muscles that we had to build to get ready for the film, to get ready for some chopping up. I might be throwing some of your favorite vampires around.
Patrick G. Keenan: Oh, so there is a big battle in this one?
Amadou Ly: There is a battle in this one.
Patrick G. Keenan: It’s vampire on vampire violence I take it?
Amadou Ly: Oh, you’re good. There is a collective fight. You have to understand that Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is like no other, compared to the other films. We have action, romance, every single thing that you can think of they included. We were working with such an amazing director (Bill Condon). He really put the vision to work and he was able to literally see it. There is a surprise that the fans are going to…I want to see their reaction as they are watching the film. They already know the book so they had to mess with it a little bit.
Patrick G. Keenan: Do you have anything going on next?
Amadou Ly: I’m shooting a swimming pool film, an indie project, at the end of November. I’m playing a Sudanese immigrant facing deportation. I actually faced deportation before, six years ago, so it’s going to be a good one. It’s going to be hard to go back to that memory of it.
Patrick G. Keenan: So it’s not a comedy, I guess.
Amadou Ly: Like I told you, I love playing the bad guy.
Patrick G. Keenan: But you’re not playing a vampire because I don’t think they deport vampires.
Amadou Ly: Maybe they should start deporting them [laughing]. The thing is that they are not going to deport you if you are in Twilight.
Patrick G. Keenan: But if you’re a bad vampire?
Amadou Ly: Hopefully, Homeland Security is not a big fan of the… Oh, see now I’m giving it away [laughing]. Hopefully they like the bad guys in this one.
Amadou Ly: Here’s something cool: we shot a scene in Paris, well it was supposed to be in Paris, the scene was so romantic because you have Michael Sheen and all these lovely guys…
Patrick G. Keenan: So there’s a Volturi in this scene with you?
Amadou Ly: Well, you know what you will see me in both, on the Volturi and Cullen side. I’m not going to tell you on which side I’m on but that scene was really good because it the environment was amazing. It was romantic but then again dangerous because you had all these crazy vampires and there’s that. It was really lovely working with Michael Sheen.
Patrick G. Keenan: We were just talking about him. He’s such an amazing actor.
Amadou Ly: Oh yes. The great part is that I had just watched Frost/Nixon.
Patrick G. Keenan: Wasn’t that absolutely amazing? And then he can go and do something like 30 Rock.
Amadou Ly: Amazing! When I grow up I want to be like him. I told him that. You have to see him in this film. Honestly, I think other than Esme (Elizabeth Reaser) they are going to be talking about Michael Sheen.
Patrick G. Keenan: Did you watch the other ones to prepare for this one?
Amadou Ly: Oh I had to. I had to watch all of the films twice to prepare for the audition. It was good. It was hot going to the audition so I wore this big old jacket and walked in there like I’m getting this.
Patrick G. Keenan: You auditioned in L.A. and filmed in Louisiana?
Amadou Ly: We shot in Louisiana and the town took care of us. There is a massive fan base. Walking on set for the first time and seeing all these familiar faces, I was very nervous at first. I was asking myself if I was dreaming or if this is reality?
Patrick G. Keenan: It’s huge. You are in one of the biggest franchises around. People in Senegal are going to be watching it for you. There are fans everywhere. I think you could go to the darkest corner of the world and there would be Twilight fans waiting to find out if you are good or bad.
Patrick G. Keenan: Did they put you through any physical training for it for all of the fight sequences and stuff?
Amadou Ly: We did. We also had stunt doubles. I had a stunt double. Some of the stuff we were able to do but of course they aren’t going to let you do it. We had amazing stunt doubles and we had some training. Look out for the fight scenes.
Patrick G. Keenan: Did you do any green screen stuff? Marisa was telling us about the cardboard shape-shifters that she had to deal with.
Amadou Ly: I did. I guess since I was prepared for it I didn’t think twice about it. This is my very first film. I’ve only done short films. It was a learning process for me. Even if I wasn’t working, I would stay on set and just watch.
Patrick G. Keenan: How long was your shooting time?
Amadou Ly: Two months.
Patrick G. Keenan: That’s really good for your first feature. They are going to keep being good for you.
Amadou Ly: I like hearing that. We had ghosts in our hotel. The Volturi guys, the baddest guys in the film, would run and say that there were ghosts. At first when I got in I was like what, I’m a big man and I’m not scared of a ghost. At about 3 AM my bed started to move and shake. I didn’t know what was going on and I thought maybe it was an earthquake but then I started thinking about what the guys were telling me about. I called the hotel and asked for another room because that was horrible.
Patrick G. Keenan: So you probably got Dakota Fanning to protect you? I think she would be the bravest one.
Amadou Ly: She probably was.
Patrick G. Keenan: She’s one scary vampire.
Amadou Ly: I wouldn’t want to mess with her.
Patrick G. Keenan: Michael Sheen ‘s character at least has a little bit of a sense of humor. He smiles once in a while. That little Dakota Fanning just gives you those looks.
Amadou Ly: Oh, yeah! She’s great in it too. I have a scene with her and she’s awesome.