The Wolf Pack


Twilight: The Wolf Pack

The Cullens are a family; the Volturi are a completely different kind of family—and then there are the werewolves, who Chris Weitz describes as more of a fraternity. “Not in the sense of like Alpha Omega Chi,” says the director. “They are a band of brothers whose job it is to protect their land and their tribe and even the people around them who don’t necessarily understand what they’re doing.”

In the story, the Quileute wolf pack evolved as protection against the vampires. The werewolf trait is dormant until tribal land is threatened, and then those chosen by fate for this role have no choice and little control over the transformation. The real-life Quileute have no tradition of lycanthropy, but according to legend, the tribe is descended from wolves that were changed into men. Even the tribal name “Quileute” comes from their word for wolf, “Kwoli.”

Chaske Spencer plays Sam Uley, the serene, self-assured leader of the pack. He took the lead on the set as well, earning the nickname “Alpha” from his fellow actors. “As Sam, I felt like I had to take care of my boys,” Spencer explains. “It was easy—we liked hanging out with each other on and off screen, and we really got into the characters. It was a real brotherhood.”

Sam was the first young man of his generation to experience the transformation and he has had to guide the ones who followed. “His priority is to protect his people,” says Spencer. “That’s his job. It’s not a job I think he really wanted, but it’s what he’s been chosen for.”

All the actors playing wolf pack members are of Native American descent. Spencer is Lakota (Sioux); Bronson Pelletier, who plays Jared, is Cree-Metis; Kiowa Gordon, who plays Embry Call, is Hualapai; Tyson Houseman, who plays Quill Ateara, is Cree; and Alex Meraz, who plays Paul, is Purepecha (Tarasco).

Meraz’s heritage played a key role in his characterization of Paul. “In the wolf pack, you see a little bit of what it’s like to be native people on a reservation, especially the sense that the indigenous community regards itself as a family, the way the wolf pack does,” says Meraz.

“My tribe is from Mexico, and my grandfather was a shaman there,” he goes on. “Our people were fishermen, like the Quileutes. In preparation for my audition, I prayed and asked for permission to portray this tribe. You have to pay respect to the people from the past, the present and the future.”

To get into fighting trim, the actors went through “wolf camp” and trained hard throughout filming. “They brought a lot of energy to the set,” says Kristen Stewart. “They were always working out and practicing wolf cries. It brought a new energy to the movie. They’re warm and fun and frisky. They’re also full of life in a way the vampires aren’t.”

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