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By Matthew Sorrento | November 16, 2009

Love it or hate it, everyone’s got an opinion on the “Twilight” phenomenon. The teen girl fad even extends to grown women, however odd it is to see them lust after an underage boy. But perhaps I’m the lost one – some of my professor colleagues at my day job love this vampire craze. While I gave a promo teeshirt to the daughter of one, two others happily grabbed posters, “Twilight” cards, and those slap bracelet things for themselves. Maybe it’s a girl’s – ahem, women’s – thing.

Not so, say Daniel Cudmore and Charlie Bewley, who play the vampires Felix and Demetri, respectively, in “New Moon,” which will surface in theaters this Friday. (Look out, all you other moviegoers.) Bewley, who can command a room with his fine Brit accent, halts any talk of the new film as girly stuff: “’New Moon’ is beefed up – as an action film. It’s testosterone-fueled – there’s werewolves, and they’re primal, aggressive, and scary. The series is huge now, but only half as huge as it could be” once the new male audience catches on. Cudmore – who comes off like a teddy bear, his six and half-plus feet notwithstanding – swears he loved reading Meyers’ top-sellers and that guys will be happy once their girlfriends drag them to the theater.

Having stopped at Philadelphia as part of their press run for the film, these actors seemed delighted to be on the “Twilight” juggernaut. As readers of the series know (and so I’ve been told), Felix and Demetri are new to episode two. When asked about entering the craze, Cudmore said it hasn’t been too bad – yet. “Fans haven’t really seen us perform as these characters yet,” he said. “But it’s a whole new world to enjoy.” They admit their visit to the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey the day before was thrilling, in the turnout, and unreal, with the cacaphony of screaming tweens.

They stress that the film does more than fulfill a marketing niche. “This is a very contemporary take on vampires,” Bewley said. “This is for a very sensitive audience of teenage girls, along with the male action. For [the girls] to absorb it, there needs to be a reality to these vampires. For me, you are just a real person, but you are a vampire.”

While Bewley makes his debut in “New Moon,” Cudmore came to the project having already starred as Colossus in two “X-Men” entries. Brace yourselves, you superhero fans: Cudmore sees some connection between the two series: “[Both of my] characters aren’t real. But it’s fun playing these unique characters that are already loved by people, and adding my own interpretation. And, there’s such grand scale [to both].” Though entering his first big budgeter wasn’t too easy, or even traditional: “[My “X-Men” audition] was at the very beginning of my career. It was a cattle call for the part – auditions in Vancouver, New York, Toronto, and LA. They kept calling me back. Then, finally, my agent called me one day and said, ‘What are you doing right now?! – Go to the gym. You have an audition. They want you to stand in your shorts and flex.’ So I went there and flexed, and it was like a porn audition – in my shorts, a half-naked white kid flexing. And pretty pale at the time. But it worked – I then auditioned for the producers and the director, and there I was.”

Gone are the Euro-chic Bewley and the big-brotherly Cudmore in “New Moon.” Both actors don hairstyles and jackets that make them look like demented coffeehouse dwellers. We’re in the “Twilight” decade, after all – love it or leave it.

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