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Tammy Swift, Published November 15 2009

Dickinson native sinks teeth into ‘Twilight’ role

The “Twilight” movies have raised vampire-worship to a blood sport.

And right in the middle of it all is Kellan Lutz, a Dickinson, N.D., native.

The former Abercrombie & Fitch model plays Emmett Cullen, the burly-but-laid-back brother to Robert Pattinson’s angst-torn lover/vampire Edward.

Since he joined the “Twilight” franchise, the 24-year-old Lutz has become a regular “It” boy in the notoriously fickle world of Hollywood.

He is slated to appear in “Eclipse,” the third installment of the “Twilight” series in 2010, as well as in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” remake and an indie drama “Meskada.”

And the muscular, 6-foot-1 Lutz is making female fanpires swoon, whether he’s gamely performing push-ups at a fan tour in Atlanta, appearing in a Self magazine photo shoot with his “Twilight” co-stars or finding himself suddenly handcuffed to an overzealous fan.

Even so, Lutz found a few minutes in his schedule to speak to The Forum.

On his early years in North Dakota:

“I was born in Dickinson. My dad grew up there; that’s where my parents (Brad and Carla) met. My mom is very charismatic; my dad is more laid-back. My dad’s family did a lot of construction in the area. They built the Ralphy’s (restaurant/bar) in Dickinson. They also built a lot of apartment complexes and gas stations.

“It was a really small town when we were all there. I remember it was very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. I fell in love with the cold there. I remember my mom showing pictures of me running naked in the snow. We’d take trips to Bismarck and Fargo, but there was something about being in that small town. I don’t know what it was. It just made me happy. The air is clean; the people are always so nice.

“I believe I was 6 when we moved away. After my parents divorced, I went with my mother and my father went to L.A. We moved around a lot (throughout the Midwest and Arizona) and tried to find a new home in a way. A lot of those years we moved around so much that I have very few memories of that time. I would see Dad at Christmastime in L.A., but he had his own hardships. He was on his own, too. He was trying to make his own life in L.A.”

On his grandparents in Dickinson:

“It was always fun to come back to see (his dad’s) parents, Ralph and Hazel (Lutz). They had an amazing house, with a sauna and chandeliers and mirrors on the ceiling. They were just so awesome. I could always make them laugh.

“But their health went pretty quick, probably from the hardships of trying to run a business. Grandma died two years ago, and Grandpa had died a couple of years prior to that. Since Grandma passed, they sold the restaurant and the house, but I still have some uncles and cousins there. I’ve wanted to come back.”

On his canceled appearance last summer at a Mott, N.D., tractor pull:

Lutz said his “Twilight” shooting schedule, which was especially heavy because he did his own stunts, kept him from attending the North Dakota event. “I wanted to do the tractor-pulling contest so bad. I loved tractors. My grandpa used to let me drive combines and one of those tractors to cut the lawn, and I thought I was so big. It’s a bummer. It’s always tough, but I was focused on doing the work (shooting for “Eclipse”). They get fearful if you fly out. My personal appearance guy and I were hoping for the best, and it’s tough when you’re not able to make it.”

On playing a dark-haired, pale vampire when he’s a blond, Nordic type:

“The more you stay out of the sun, the less makeup they have to put on you. I tan easily, so I try to stay out of the sun so they don’t have to do so much work in makeup. It’s fascinating that some people don’t even recognize me (as Emmett). It’s cool to be an actor who can change their look, build and walk, and not be seen as Kellan in a way. It’s fun for me.”

On the oddest thing a fan has ever said to him:

“ ‘Will you marry me?’ Or ‘Could I handcuff myself to you?’ – and they actually had handcuffs.”

On his current relationship with his dad:

“He’s just a successful, brilliant, intelligent man. He came over last night and we ordered $50 in Pizza Hut and watched the Lakers game. He came with me to Vegas for Halloween. It was so cool seeing him and hanging out with him. One of the main reasons I moved to L.A. was mainly because my father lived here. I had only seen him a couple times a year for 12 years. We never had a dad-son relationship.”

On his future plans: “We’re working on three action movies. I want to be like Jason Bourne and take over that franchise. I love doing stunts and shooting guns and doing fight scenes. Blowing things up and doing jiujitsu and shooting guns, that’s my forte.”

Kellan Lutz – at a glance


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525