For years Cam Gigandet was a hard-working actor taking roles on TV shows like Jack & Bobby and The O.C., competing against hundreds of other blonds who were easy on the eyes. Then he slammed Robert Pattinson up against a wall in a little movie called Twilight, and things started changing quickly. Gigandet is quickly rocketing up to leading man status, but before he gets there he had to survive a true acting gauntlet: a series of one-on-one scenes with Dennis Quaid.
In this weekend's Pandorum, Quaid and Ben Foster play two astronauts who wake up on their ship with all the lights turned off and no one else around-- except perhaps some aliens. Gigandet plays a mysterious figure who helps Quaid figure out the situation while the two of them are trapped in a control center together. "I'm a flashlight for Dennis," he puts it cryptically, and given the various twists and turns of Pandorum, that's pretty much all he could tell me.
Luckily, we had plenty else to talk about, including the life-changing power of Twilight, getting an acting masterclass from Dennis Quaid, and filming a nude scene while covered in what could best be described as ultrasound gel. Check out the interview below, and see Gigandet in Pandorum starting this Friday.
I imagine since being part of Twilight you've been able to make a lot more choices in terms of the roles you take.
Yeah, that's opened up so many doors, and I'm so grateful for what that movie's done. It was really kind of a special little slice of life that brought me where I am today. Thankfully I got to do other things.
Do you feel somewhat grateful that you were there for the first one only? Robert Pattinson's life is never going to be the same. You don't have to be chased down the street by screaming girls or anything.
Yeah, exactly. We talked about this before we even started the movie, and that was one of the big selling points. Me, myself, I wasn't interested in doing that for the rest of my life. It was kind of the perfect balance for that movie.
Are you sticking with movies for now, or would you go back to TV?
No, I have too much fun on movie sets.
What's the big difference between movies sand TV for you?
It's very different and very new. As far as TV I think i would get too bored. I get bored easily. I want to try new things and put myself out there and take some risks.
The plot of Pandorum and your character's role in it are being kept very secret. What can you tell me about it?
That's one of the big things that you learn in the end of the movie, how I fit in, and how everything kind of fits in. What the movie is about is these crews are sent, or this entire crew is sent on a mission to find or start a new civilization. We meet two characters, Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid, and they wake up from the these [long-term sleep] pods and can't remember anything. Not only that, but the entire place is pitch black, nothing's working. I come into the story and find Dennis, and while Ben Foster is trying to find answers on his end, I kind of help Dennis come upon his own answers and find the truth in his own way.
When you're filming a movie that's secretive like this, can you even tell your family what your character is?
I can tell my family. It's weird. I've never had this sort of obstacle. It's also very fun, because you have this secret that you don't have to share.
Paul W.S. Anderson has compared this movie to Alien. Do you think that comparison is true?
Yeah. Whenever I read, when I read the script originally, and even while I was filming, it seemed so original, because it has so many different layers and it's about so many different things and you can look at it from so many different angles. I think it's its own masterpiece in a way.
What's it like to work with actors who are in costume as these zombie alien creatures?
We're all hanging out on set one day, and they finished one of the alien things, and he came out, and looking as close as I possibly could, I could not tell it was a real person. [In the movie] I don't actually have to deal with the aliens. I'm up with Dennis, and we are stuck in this control center, so 99% of the movie [for me] is just between me and Dennis. We had a really good time because it was just him and I not having to worry about anything else that's going on.
What's it like being able to hone in on your performance like that, trapped in a room with Dennis Quaid?
There's definitely a lot of pressure, because you're stepping out of your box, but then the added pressure of having to do that in front of Dennis Quaid of all people. It's one of those challenges that every actor dreams of. I loved doing it.
How did you two work together on these intense scenes?
He makes it very easy. It's a very dark, complex movie, and he brought a lot of light to the set in general. He made it very easy on me to take risks and experiment and play around and have fun, which is what you want in any actor. He definitely made it easy for someone as young as I working with someone as experienced as him.
So I read that there's a nude scene for you. Can you talk about filming that?
That was, yeah, one of the worst experiences. It wasn't just because of the apparent nudity. They had to put this stuff on my body that was similar to what you'd get at an ultrasound. But it's freezing cold. I couldn't put a coat on or anything like that, so I just had to stand in this stuff. They built this heater around me, because literally every breeze that would fly through, I would freeze to my very core. It was actually very hard. But it was a nice distraction, because I wasn't worrying about anything else.
Is it weird being the only one? In a sex scene there's at least someone else with their clothes off.
It's definitely weird. But I was so freezing, I could really care less about anything else that was going on. Try to get me warm and that's all I care about. I'll run around naked. If I'm warm, I'm fine.
I read somewhere that this movie is intended to be the beginning of a series. is that true?
I hope so.
It could lead itself into another one?
Definitely. There's a lot of questions that will remain.