Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy has arrived onstage suspended upside down like a bat, but he went a step more goth for the latest Twilight film, guest starring as a vampire in Eclipse, which hits theaters today. The British singer tells Rolling Stone he had never read Stephenie Meyer’s book series, but he thought the movies might be a good match for his music, so he approached music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas at last year’s South by Southwest festival with a pitch.
“I didn’t assume there would be any interest, but just as an aside, I told her, ‘It would be excellent to be in the film, too,'” Murphy says. He’s had previous experience, performing Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in the 1983 vampire film The Hunger and has a hunch one of his tracks was key to the birth of Twilight: “I’m sure ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ helped inspire the naming of Bella,” he says. “I’m not a Twilight geek, but if I had to choose between Bela [Lugosi] and Bella [Swan], I would choose Bella Swan.”
Patsavas told him the casting for Eclipse was complete, but four months later director David Slade called, saying, “‘Come be in my film,'” Murphy recalls. Slade offered Murphy a role as the Cold One, one of the original vampires, in a brief but “pivotal” moment, to illustrate a story about the beginnings of the werewolves’ struggle with the vampires. “It’s an imaginary flashback,” Murphy says. “Almost like a dream sequence.”
His shoot for his minute-long scene took a whole day, including makeup and choreography training so he could do the stunts himself. “They technically have this neutral gray canvas object that represents the wolf,” Murphy says, “and that gives you something to fight back [against]. I couldn’t fight a real wolf, though — I’m not that brave.”
Now that Murphy’s performed in one vampire movie and acted in another, he says he’s open to continuing to play the undead as long as the roles are compelling. “I don’t mind being typecast. I’ve been typecast for years!” he says. He likes True Blood (“Why don’t they cast me as a vampire king?”) and he’s intrigued by the upcoming Neil Jordan/Neil Gaiman film of The Graveyard Book (“They should ask me to play Silas, shouldn’t they?”).
But above all, he wants to revisit his current role in one of the two upcoming Breaking Dawn films, or get his music onscreen. He says the Eclipse team considered using a slow song from his upcoming album Ninth called “Never Fall Out” in the film. “What I like about Twilight is that it’s not overtly adult,” he adds. “It’s actually very beautiful, with no sharp teeth or protruding fangs. I think it’s truly a post-modern story about vamps, and I think it works in a way. If you think about it, Edward’s love for Bella leads him back to humanity, which transmutes his love into something pure and perfect,” he tells RS. “I love that there is hope for what we consider to be the damned.”