Peter Facinelli was recently named “worst vampire” by Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers, stating that “Facinelli is a solid actor, but playing Carlisle Cullen, the white-haired head of the fang-challenged Cullen vampire family, he looks about as terrifying as ‘Project Runway’ winner Austin Scarlett, whom Carlisle closely resembles.” The good-natured actor responded via Twitter that he was thrilled to be #1 at something and further commented, “As Carlisle is a compassionate humanitarian, and anti-vampire in nature, being the worst vampire was quite the compliment. Although, you had me at ‘solid actor’. : )”
The actor’s response falls in line with my reaction to this title being bestowed upon him. I can’t help but think that Travers is completely unaware of the character behind Facinelli’s role in the films. If he had any inkling as to the character of Carlisle Cullen, he would have known that Carlisle Cullen is the antithesis of the traditional vampire (even in Stephenie Meyer’s mythical world). As the son of an Anglican priest, his compassion goes against the very grain of vampire nature and instincts, enough so to allow him to treat and operate on humans. Even when he turned humans to join him, he never swallowed their blood after biting them and only turned humans on the brink of death. He has spent centuries feeding on animals because he cannot bear the thought of taking a human life while a “traditional” vampire does so without a moment’s hesitation or a second thought.
If Facinelli portrayed Carlisle Cullen as an intimidating, vampire-like being, it would have been a betrayal of the character created by Stephenie Meyer. It’s pretty hard to blend in to the world of humans and seek gainful employment as a small-town doctor when you give everyone the creeps.
The creepy, scary, intimidating vampire roles in the Twilight films belong to Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Cam Gigandet, Xavier Samuel, and Jamie Campbell-Bower, to name a few. That is not the domain of actors like Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, or Ashley Greene who portray vampires who do NOT feed on humans and strive to retain their humanity.
This fan of vampire books and films says, “Well done!” to Peter Facinelli for being true to the qualities of the character he was cast to play.
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