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THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 2

The Volturi
Michael Sheen, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Christopher Heyerdahl play the legendary Volturi Coven: Aro, Caius, and Marcus. This venerable trio of eternal vampires weigh and impose the laws of the vampire world, and are protected by the Volturi Guard: portrayed by Dakota Fanning and Cameron Bright, in the roles of the powerful siblings Jane and Alec; as well as Charlie Bewley and Daniel Cudmore as enforcers Demetri and Felix. In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, the entire Volturi travel from Italy, making stops to draft supporters, to the Pacific Northwest to judge the Cullens.

Others siding with the Volturi include: Masami Kosaka as the Japanese vampire Toshiro, killed by the Volturi in London; Brazilian stunt actor Lateef Crowder as the physical enforcer Santiago, first seen in the Volturi Oculus room, again at the final confrontation on the snowy field, and in Alice's vision chasing Jacob and Renesmee; and Amadou Ly and Janelle Froehlich as Henri and Yvette, two among the many witnesses on the Volturi side of the climactic showdown.

"Aro is an ancient vampire who has a position of power to maintain order and law within the vampire world... sort of a cross between the Pope and the Mafia," comments Michael Sheen. "Each of the three Volturi deal with the boredom of being centuries old differently: Marcus seems to be a vampire of few words and longing for annihilation really, he's had enough; Caius seems to take pleasure in being cruel; and Aro is completely insane."

Aro and Marcus have supernatural gifts: When Aro touches someone, he can read every thought the person has ever had; and Marcus can see the relationships or connections people have to one another and sense the strength of their bond. Despite Caius' having no special talent, Aro was drawn to Caius' ambition and capacity to hate. Caius has always been interested in the punitive side of governing.

"Marcus is the oldest vampire alive and he's never really very happy about being. He's the judge observing from afar," says Christopher Heyerdahl. "He's the one who seems to take the job of judge to an extreme. He's also this constant ebb and flow of feeling and thought. Waves of wanting to disappear, while some massively important thing is going on in which he really has no interest. Marcus is wonderful because he doesn't say much and there's something so sweet about playing a character who speaks only when it's absolutely necessary."

Jamie Campbell Bower adds, "I've always seen Caius as a henchman to a king who, if the king faltered or if he had the opportunity would kill the king, Caius would try to step in and take the position of power. He seems to be constantly angry and very upset with the world." The majestic Volturi Guard includes vampires who also have unique gifts. "My character has always been able to hide behind her power to inflict pain upon someone just by looking at them," explains Dakota Fanning. "Alec can release a mist that cuts off people's senses - so they're a duo. What I love about playing Jane is she looks innocent and childlike, but actually she's extremely dangerous and villainous."

"Felix is an elite guard who is very good at tearing vampires apart and being ultra-aggressive and strong. I consider being good at tearing arms and legs off a power," laughs Daniel Cudmore, who is 6 foot 6 inches tall. "It's fun to play someone who's just vicious and doesn't really care too much that he is that way. It's just who he is."

"Demetri is described as the world's best tracker, much more powerful than James or Alistair," says Charlie Bewley. "He can track the tenor of someone's thoughts. Demetri has never shirked from what he is and that is a very aggressive vampire."

In this film, the audience first sees the Volturi in their castle in Volterra when they receive the false information from Irina Denali that the Cullens have an immortal child. "Writing for Michael Sheen is so much fun, his character is so rich, and I got to actually create a couple new scenes for him," says Rosenberg. "In the book, everything happens from Bella's point of view, and you hear about things after the fact that may have happened over in Italy. In this movie we can actually cut away to it, so I was able to imagine what was happening in the Oculus Room. Michael Sheen is just delicious. Aro wants what he wants. He gets pushed to his limits at the end and lets loose. Michael is such an extraordinary actor to embody that character."

The Volturi are coming after the Cullens under the pretense of upholding the law forbidding immortal children, a vampire taboo since it is impossible to reason with a small child insane with thirst. Long ago, the Volturi banned immortal children because they risk exposing the secret vampire world to humans, a concept illustrated in a flashback scene to a 12th century Russian village.

"There are only a few opportunities to get out of the world of Forks and to have Aro and his crew in period drag was great and it was the first scene in which I got to work with Dakota Fanning," shares Condon. "There's also a ceremonial torch that you see starting in the Russian village, and again in the showdown. The pageantry of the Volturi arriving on the field makes me think of Rome and the papal visit with the Cardinals - they are holding court, passing judgment, and delivering punishment."

However, the Volturi are also condemning the Cullens because Aro wants to collect the talented vampires in their coven. "Aro has always coveted Alice and her gift. He is also mistrustful of the strength of the Cullen clan and their choice to be vegetarian, but it's all a ruse to get Alice," explains Godfrey. "A legitimate crime of an immortal child gives Aro the perfect excuse to gather all of the Volturi and as many witnesses as he can and go to Forks and put them on trial. Through that he'll probably destroy all of them in order to keep the gifted ones."

Condon adds, "Aro has been underground in that ridiculous place in Volterra for centuries and has really gone crazy. I love the way that Michael Sheen takes such huge risks. The moment where he explodes into that mad laugh perfectly captures to me the tone of what this movie needed to be. Another director might have played this movie very straight and that would have been an interesting choice. But because of its roots in young adult fiction, to me there is a level of theatricality to it that is important."

"The Aro laugh is interesting because I wasn't sure if anyone would let me do it because it's quite extreme," smiles Sheen. "But I liked that because he does play this false persona so much and has this very soft voice, I wanted something now and again that cut through to what was actually true... like a flash of lightning. You suddenly got a true sense of what was actually going on inside his head. The laugh was quite a good way of being able to get that across in a very economical way and surprising way that gives a sense of total insanity, a crazed, nightmarish thing. On the surface the laugh seems to be a pleasant thing, but it actually reveals how deeply insane he is. It's something that would echo long after you'd left a room, the laugh just stays with you in this horrible funny and chilling way. You'd never want to hear that laugh anywhere near you."

Initially dismayed that Alice is not present on the battlefield, Aro is quickly enthralled with the discovery of Renesmee's true nature - half-human/half-vampire. "When he first meets Renesmee, Aro has a combination of both curiosity and fear maybe, and anger," reveals Sheen. "Just before Renesmee touches his face you are really scared for this little child. It should feel horrible and weird, but then the tables are turned when she puts her hand to his face and suddenly she has the power over him. When he discovers her gift, the power shifts completely."

The Volturi have never seen or heard of a vampire/human hybrid before. "She's gorgeous," says Heyerdahl. "Something very new has been brought to us... a growing, vibrant, intelligent, calming, loving being who may be capable of joining vampires and humans... it's really the future."

"Aro's feelings about Renesmee change so much in quite a short period of time - from threat to useful to a new found fascination. He's drawn to Renesmee, but at the same time it's disappointing, because it means he can't really punish the Cullens anymore and this threatens his super objective of trying to peck these people that he's always wanted to be part of his collection." After Caius kills Irina as punishment for wrongly reporting Renesmee as an immortal child, simmering tensions nearly boil over. As a prelude to the fighting, Jane inflicts her pain, Alec spreads his numbing mist over their rivals, and all the Volturi become aware of Bella's talent.

"Once the two tribes confront each other it becomes clear that the Cullens have some defensive skill that the Volturi weren't aware of before. Aro is stunned," shares Sheen. "There's some sort of protective shield happening from Bella, the newborn vampire. Her power makes sense because even before she was a vampire, she somehow was able to keep Jane's skills off herself. This changes things a lot. Of course, Bella becomes infinitely more interesting to Aro as a potential chess piece in his game."

"Jane has no love for the Cullens, especially Bella. There is definitely a jealousy there. Jane is not very happy to see that Bella as a vampire, or that she has a special power, or that she's even alive," laughs Fanning. "Bella's shield pretty much makes Jane useless, and that is very frustrating and adds to their rivalry. Jane is most loyal to Aro and there's a moment where Aro tells Bella that she's beautiful as a vampire. Aro sees a new jewel that he wants to add to his collection and Jane is no longer the golden child. Because of Bella's shield, Jane actually has to have some physical skills, other than just being able to look at somebody to cause pain." Heyerdahl adds, "Bella's true power is love. That power of love is what pushes her to save her family, the man she loves, and her child. Without that, she would never be able to discover she could expand her shield."

"Bella is a tricky little thing, isn't she? Jane and Alec not having their special little powers, is actually rewarding for Demetri and Felix because we're now important," says Cudmore. "Our brute strength and ability are key when the massive battle ensues."

As the preamble continues to escalate, Alice and Jasper arrive on the snowy field. When Alice shows Aro her vision of what the result of the impending battle will be, the audience gets to see the unique talents of the various vampires square off against each other - gift vs. gift and strength vs. strength.

"Aro's no fool. He sees the possibility of our eminent death, if he takes this step, then it is highly possible that we will all be wiped out, and specifically him," adds Heyerdahl. "Lives would be lost... Alice shows that to Aro to try and prevent him from starting a battle in the first place," adds Fanning. "If he can see what his future would be, then maybe he won't start the battle."

Since the stakes are now his life or his death, Aro knows he must choose peace. "Aro doesn't fight those kind of fights," says Stephenie Meyer. "He's not a man for a fair fight. He's a man for executions. He doesn't go into it and put himself at risk. All of a sudden he's actually at risk here. That makes the decision. Bella's ability that puts Aro at risk changes everything. What we did with the battle was come up with a way to show him and the audience that. He gets to see his death and realize this is what's coming for him if he pushes this, and it makes it very clear why he doesn't. I like that because Aro's not a brave person."

One final assurance is needed, evidence that the Renesmee will not be a threat, since her rapid growth makes the future a big unknown. To satisfy Aro's last straw, Alice produces an example of another vampire who was born, carried by a human mother. The Ticuna Indian Nahuel and his aunt Huilen travelled back from South America with Alice and Jasper to provide that proof and a path to peace, allowing Aro an out to back down.

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