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Bella's buddy


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POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2009

A little coaxing from representatives led Michael Welch to audition for the role of “;Twilight's”; Edward Cullen—a character described as the “;most beautiful creature on Earth.”;

The film's casting directors had him read the scene in which Bella Swan and Edward first meet in the chemistry lab.

“;I was thinking ... hey, this is not me. Edward wasn't really working for me,”; he said. “;I didn't do particularly well, but I did well enough to get a call back as a different character.”;

Welch found the right fit in the role of Mike Newton, an athletic, somewhat geeky teen who is head over heels for Bella.

“;I've brought in a lot of my own high school experiences to play Mike,”; he said. “;Mike and I both shared an unrequited love—liking people who are into someone else—so it was not difficult to reconnect with that mindset,”; he said. “;You never forget your first love.”;

Newton continues admiring Bella from afar in the latest segment of the “;Twilight”; saga, “;New Moon.”;

“;'New Moon' is going to be a much better film in many ways,”; Welch said. “;'Twilight' turned out great for what we had to work with. But in a lot of ways, it was a little independent film that could. 'New Moon' has a higher quality of overall production value. A lot more money and time were invested in 'New Moon.'

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“;I think it's going to feel different and look different. As the story evolves, the films are going to evolve.”;

Welch called the whole 'Twilight' phenomenon “;indescribable”; and is grateful for the opportunities it has presented him.

“;Nobody really expected this kind of success,”; he said. “;It certainly opened up doors for me in my career. ... I got offers, particularly for leads in independent films and stuff like that.

“;It's hard to say where my career is headed. I'll just throw my hands up in the air and let it be. I just strive to be the best that I can be ... that's all I can really do.”;

“;Twilight”; started with a huge female fan following, but Welch believes that 'New Moon' will appeal to men, as well.

“;Guys can certainly go to 'New Moon' and not be disappointed,”; he said. “;There is the element of werewolves and all of the stuff that happened in Italy with the Volturi (a clan of organized vampires).”;

The next film, “;Eclipse,”; is scheduled for release next year and is geared even more toward guys. “;There's lots of fighting and action,”; Welch said. “;Overall, it just has a darker tone.”;

Welch may not have landed the role of Edward Cullen, but he has a fan base of his own.

“;When I go outside of Los Angeles, people get really excited; they want to meet me, take pictures. It's fun, an element I never get sick of,”; he said. “;Fan interaction is a direct validation of the work you've done. It's a nice little form of appreciation. It allows me to give someone a moment of joy.”;

And although his fan encounters don't measure up to Robert Pattinson's experiences after landing the role of Edward, he does have his own stories.

“;The more wild fan experiences happen with this group called the 'Twilight Moms,'”; he chuckled. “;I love the 'Twilight Moms,' but I've definitely been attacked by a cougar on one or two occasions.”;