Red Riding Hood - Shiloh Fernandez interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
SHILOH Fernandez talks about playing Peter in Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood, missing out on Twilight to Robert Pattinson and dealing with newfound fans.
He also discusses his audition process, a surprisingly raunchy sex scene that didn’t make the final cut and why he got to kiss Julie Christie every day…
Q. How was your audition process? I gather there were eight auditions?
Shiloh Fernandez: It’s true. I almost said “f**k it” in the middle of that. I started with really long hair when I auditioned and Catherine [Hardwicke] basically started cutting at my hair because Warner Bros maybe wanted someone prettier and that’s what ended up happening. I wanted to be a dirty woodsman. It was a rigorous thing but I don’t think you can be affected by it. You have no control over whether you get the movie or not. So, to become obsessed or frustrated by it is pointless. If you want the movie you’ll do what you can to get it.
Q. I gather you were No.2 to Robert Pattinson in the Twilight auditions, but Kristen Stewart and Catherine chose Robert. Was missing out on Twilight a blessing or a curse now that you can reflect on it?
Shiloh Fernandez: I don’t know… it’s just life. It’s not life or death, it’s life. Would I want the opportunity to make the films I want to make? Yeah. That would be nice to be in a movie that made lots of money. Do I want to be known as one character for the rest of my life? No.
Q. Can you imagine being adored by teenagers the way Robert Pattinson is?
Shiloh Fernandez: No.
Q. Will you be willing to be open and communicate with your fans or will you be as mysterious as Peter your character?
Shiloh Fernandez: Fans… it’s not a concept I understand yet. All the movies I’ve done have been tiny. So, this is a very big thing that people are going to the theatre to watch this movie. That’s a new experience for me. I am most likely not going to be a Twitter, if that’s what you mean. But I think that’s a really special thing. That’s why I wanted to act because I’m a fan of actors. They made me feel things and communicated with me, knew what I was thinking. In that way if people have an interest in hearing what I say or can make someone’s day, that’s a beautiful thing to do. But I can’t imagine that.
Q. Has Red Riding Hood started to open more doors for you?
Shiloh Fernandez: Yeah, but I think it’s like a double edge sword, There are smaller movies that are maybe interested in me and I might get some offers for them. But you get to this level now where there are other actors who’ve done 10 movies like this… all very successful. Now you’re competing against people on this level maybe you didn’t have to before. It’s gotten a little bit more difficult at the same time because there are all those actors who’ve been doing it longer and you have to fight for your spot again after doing independent films and being a little bit successful. It’s become difficult again getting parts.
Q. But do you have more confidence going into auditions?
Shiloh Fernandez: When I was naive and didn’t know anything I had no fear and now it’s like strategy – how do I get that part? Now I’m just confused.
Q. What were your ambitions when you first started acting?
Shiloh Fernandez: I think there’s a certain feeling in some of the movies I liked and it was just to be able to communicate that feeling. And it still is.
Q. Do you want to be a movie star?
Shiloh Fernandez: I don’t know. This has been an eye-opening experience. I haven’t made a movie since I did this in the summer time. It’s become something different than making a movie and that’s a new experience. I don’t know … I need to make a movie again. I like talking and I like talking about movies, I like that aspect. I don’t get recognised, so I don’t have that problem or whatever it is. Maybe… I just want to make movies.
Q. What movies and actors influenced you?
Shiloh Fernandez: I really like River Phoenix. He was brilliant to me. I like A Thing Called Love. I love country music sometimes. I liked Gilbert Grape growing up. It just reminded me of my life. There were certain feelings that were touched upon. I’m from a rural, really small town and I had a different upbringing and just understood the family dynamic of that and how messed up it was. That was another reason I wanted to act.
Q. Wasn’t your uncle a monk?
Shiloh Fernandez: There was that influence in my life on my dad’s side. My mum lives in Mexico now. They are so opposite and I don’t really remember them together. So I’ve led two lives that are very different. My dad’s structured, my mum’s loose. They are both really creative. My town where I grew up is one of the wheat capitals of the world. So, there are a lot of farmers who are very traditional and a lot of like hip ranchers with a new crop of young hippies. It’s just a very strange mix. I grew up out of town. It had one high school. But I really enjoy that life. It’s simple. Being able to travel and do certain things make you appreciate it more. When I finished this movie, for instance, I did a play and when I moved back to LA I gave up my house. I want to make some money, get a place somewhere else and travel. A lot of people love LA and I think it’s really neat but I’m a simple person.
Q. How was playing Peter the woodsman?
Shiloh Fernandez: The difficult part was they made me gain 20lbs of muscle and I had to eat all day long and go to train, which I was never really into at all. It was fun. What I liked about it was there was a sensitivity that came through. I’ve never played a part like that before and I don’t know that it will happen again. I am happy to be cast in that part, I’ve never been cast in a part like that before. I think they took a chance and I’m grateful for that. I enjoyed it.
Q. Have you ever been the wrong one in a relationship like your character, Peter?
Shiloh Fernandez: My girlfriend in high school, her mother at times didn’t want me to be with her. But it was just because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was unaware how relationships should be, probably didn’t do the right things all the time. Even in Red Riding Hood, he’s always doing the right thing. The appearance might be that he’s bad or dangerous but he wants to love her and make sure she’s happy. And I wish I was more like that. If I was like that and mother said: “Don’t be with him…” I’d be ‘okay’. He’s really just a good person the whole time, trying to do the right thing. I definitely learned a lot, I would hope no mother would say that to me.
Q. Is it possible to love somebody from childhood?
Shiloh Fernandez: Yes, I started going out with my high school girl friend when I was 14 and I’ve been kind of seeing her recently. It’s been like 12 years. I’ll probably always love her whether or not I’m with her.
Q. Were the sex scenes originally any longer or more risqué?
Shiloh Fernandez: I thought it was going to be tame and then on the last day of filming it got edited in a way not how it was shot. Basically, the father is killed and we ran outside and have a sex scene. But I think that was too weird. Catherine gave us these books called The Uses of Enchantment and she talked a lot about after death we want that connection. It’s therefore quite likely that people have sex after a loved one dies. So, I showed up and in the script – it’s like you’re taking your shirt off and it cuts. But I took the shirt off and she’s like: “Now take your pants off!” It was the last day of filming and I thought that was hilarious. She was like: “No, we got you this thing.” And she called the costume lady over and she brought this little thong. I thought this was a practical joke but it wasn’t. I wore a thong. We literally had a pretty intense love scene that didn’t make it into the movie. So it did go further.
Q. How was working with Catherine otherwise?
Shiloh Fernandez: It was good. She’s just really enthusiastic and has such a youthful nature and youthful quality it’s hard not to be sucked into that and drawn in. She likes to do things differently, if it’s improv or playing music or her getting in and reading the lines. Those are all things that aren’t so traditional. She really tries to get you out of yourself. And after auditioning eight times and that mundane quality of saying the same lines the same way she really tries to break you out of that. Yes, she’s infectious and really good with those intimate things and understands youth in some way that’s unexplainable.
Q. We hear Amanda also has a playful sense of humour and that she bought you a button to wear at this junket? What does your button say?
Shiloh Fernandez: Wanker! Amanda gave it to me. Shows what she thinks of me. She called me yesterday and said: “Hi, asshole!” She said I bought you something in Paris. I said: “You did? How sweet.” She said: “Yes, it’s a button, says wanker!”
Q. Was she quiet on set?
Shiloh Fernandez: No, she’s dirty. [She has a] dirty mouth [laughs].
Q. What did you take away from working with Gary Oldman and Julie Christie?
Shiloh Fernandez: It’s funny because I didn’t have any interaction with that CGI wolf and didn’t really have any scenes with those two but every morning in the make-up chair Julie Christie would kiss me on the lips. So, I took away that I got to kiss Julie Christie.
- Read our review
- Amanda Seyfried interview
- Catherine Hardwicke interview
- Shiloh Fernandez interview
- Max Irons interview
- Red Riding Hood Photo Gallery
- Watch the trailer