VANCOUVER - Vampires and werewolves have different fitness needs, says local trainer Nathan Mellalieu.
“Vampires are designed to be elegant, I think,” says Mellalieu, owner of Studeo 55, where he says he and his staff worked out about 15 of the cast of Eclipse, the latest in the Twilight series to be filmed in Vancouver.
The second film in the teenage vampire saga, New Moon, opens in theatres on Thursday.
“Werewolves are a little more rugged,” Mellalieu says. “They’re a little brawnier, a little bit bigger, a little more raw.”
In addition to getting characters looking buff — including Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson,) Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene) — it was important to get them ready for action, he says.
“One of the big priorities the movie gave us is making sure these guys not only looked great but were in really great, peak physical condition,” he says, demonstrating a few moves from a workout he coined the Betsy, after a female cast member’s middle name.
“They had to be prepared to do these epic battle scenes,” he says. “They needed to be able to jump and leap and swipe and throw and jab — all these dynamic, combat-based moves that were unique.”
Depending on an actor’s character, different exercises were needed. Vampires had to look “like supermodels with superpowers,” he says, while the wolves could be brawnier and bigger.
He walks through a martial arts area where he worked with Pattinson.
“With Robert, he loved the martial arts stuff, and he was quite talented at that,” Mellalieu says. “He’s got really great hand speed.”
Overall, Mellalieu says, the actors playing vampires needed moves that sculpted an elegant but strong physique.
“The image of a vampire isn’t like an NFL linebacker,” he says.
“They still have to be athletic and explosive. So the styles of workout we used were either cross-fit-inspired workouts or martial-arts-inspired workouts.”
Unlike the vampires, the members of the film’s hunky wolf pack, including Jacob Black trained together.
“What the werewolves had going for them was, they were able to work out together as a little team,” Mellalieu says. “They had a really great camaraderie.”
Actress Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella Swan, didn’t use the exclusive downtown gym, says Mellalieu.
“I don’t know why we didn’t end up working with her,” he says, adding it might not have been necessary.
“From the character that I’ve seen and heard about in the movie, she didn’t really have to be a real physical presence. She was almost like the damsel in distress.”
Mellalieu says that although celebrities often get in shape at his gym, he and his staff have never experienced anything like the frenzy of Twilight-mania.
He shakes his head, adding there were even “girls hiding in the elevator.”
His firm had to increase security, he says, and put staff through more training.
Tabloids would call the gym, even offering to pay for information about the actors, he says.
Regular gym members didn’t seem bothered by the vampires and shape-shifting wolves.
“I think they all probably think it’s sort of cool,” he says.