Michael Welch -- who plays the oh-so-not-lucky-in-love Mike Newton from the international sensation "Twilight Saga" -- joins us to discuss the upcoming new theatrical chapter, "New Moon," as well as his acting history including his new film starring the late David Carradine and what it's like to work with Norm MacDonald when he was twelve years old.

Michael Welch: Hey, Mike. How are you doing, man?

Mike: Good. This could get confusing considering that you, your character, and myself all have the same name.

Michael Welch: (Laughs) Right. I know.

Mike: How did you get involved with "Twilight"?

Michael Welch: I went through a pretty basic audition process; I was really lucky. I happen to know the casting directors really well going in to it. I've been acting for about eleven years now and I just knew them over time over a lot of different projects. So, I got in the door and I first auditioned for Edward (laughs)... which I'll be honest: I'm glad I didn't get it because I really didn't want to have to carry that weight. Then I auditioned for Eric, which is the part Justin Chon ended up doing. And then, finally, found the right fit with Mike. I went in, probably, four or five times and eventually we had one final call-back where we all read together and it just clicked. It just felt right.

Mike: And probably less make-up, too, right?

Michael Welch: Right (laughs), yeah, yeah. Absolutely. No make-up and no contacts and no getting hit by cabs in New York.

Mike: Did you read the books?

Michael Welch: Not before auditioning. Once I got the part and the film was announced and I saw how popular this series of books actually was, I knew that I had to see what I was getting myself into. I did read the first book... I'm taking them one book at a time as we film the movies because I didn't want to get ahead of the story. But, as far as I could tell, Mike Newton doesn't go through too much of a journey; he just, sort of, is who he is. Which is fine by me.

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Mike: The first time I heard about the "Twilight"books, I'm guessing, I felt about the same way my parents felt when they took me to see "The Empire Strikes Back." The feeling that you're getting older because you completely missed out on a phenomena? Does that makes sense?

Michael Welch: No, of course. Absolutely. I sort of felt that way, too. I had no idea what this was (laughs). It's so strange how something like this just seems to come out of nowhere and just blindside all of us. I hear you, man. I get it, though. After reading the book and particularly after seeing the movie, it sort of falls into that old classic story of eternal teenage love which goes back to "Romeo and Juliet" and even before then. That's something that will always be around. And it happened to tap into something that's very popular right now which is vampires. So, I think a combination of those two things plus Stephenie's writing and the Edward character is such a fantasy for young girls in particular. It was just a perfect storm and it just hit.

Mike: I don't know if you feel this way: I've heard from people that read the books that the character of Mike Newton is one-dimensional, but they really enjoyed your performance of him in the film. Do you feel that way and, if so, what did you do to flesh out the character?

Michael Welch: I saw a lot of potential in Mike. I can see how people would feel that way. I did see a lot of myself in Mike; I sort of had a similar high school experience to Mike in a lot of ways. The thing that I always wanted to do with that character was bring some life to him; I didn't want him to just blend in the way he does in the book. I wanted him to actually have an impact on the film. The way I decided to do that was just come from myself, come from my own high school experience. This is otherwise a very dark and intense story and the high school kids, in general, I felt, in a a lot of ways, were just there to bring some relief and bring some grounding of a high school reality into this story ... For me that was to show up on set and have as much fun as I possibly could.

Mike: Are all of Mike's major moments in the book "New Moon" included in the new film?

Michael Welch: Mike's dad owns a store and that's not in the movie. Mike's best scene in the book -- which was not originally in the film -- did wind up making it to the film. Which was the three-way awkward date.

Mike: I know a lot of fans would have been upset if that scene wasn't in. How late in production was that added?

Michael Welch: By the time I got a script, it was in there. But in some of the earlier drafts of the script... You know, Bella and Jacob have a very important moment in that scene and what they did was they took out that moment and put it in a different scene in the film. Kristen [Stewart] and Taylor [Lautner], lucky for me, really lobbied to get that scene back into the film because it is a very popular scene. I'm very grateful to them ... That's probably Mike's best scene in the whole series.

Mike: How would you describe Mike's personality from the first film to the second one? It's almost like in the book he's a little more aloof towards relationships than in the first one.

Michael Welch: In the film they kept it pretty similar to how it was in the first film. You're right, he does sort of change a little bit but in the film, because there's only so much room, it has to be all about Bella. [Mike's] still the kid who's hopelessly in love but never stops trying.

Mike: I was looking at your acting career and you were on some pretty cool shows: "Walker, Texas Ranger," "The Norm Show," and you played young Niles Crane on "Frasier." I think you were around twelve when you did "The Norm Show," What's it like being twelve years old and working with Norm MacDonald?

Michael Welch: Oh, man, are you kidding me? Norm is like so funny. And he is exactly like you would think he would be. He didn't know his lines until the last second (laughs). Just such a funny guy and it was amazing. Yeah, I got to not only work with Norm but I got to challenge him and blackmail him... it was pretty ridiculous. What a ridiculous life when at twelve years old, like you said, I get to play with Norm Macdonald. It can't get much cooler than that.

Mike: One of your most recent films is "My Suicide" which became a little infamous when the first reports came out -- which weren't true and I don't want to get in all of that -- but did you have any scenes with David Carradine and, if you did, what was that like?

Michael Welch: I did not personally get to work with Mr. Carradine but he's amazing in the film. It was so creepy when those initial reports came out that, basically, turned out to be false. It would be sick if this was the thing that brings this film into infamy. But you know what, honestly, I think it's one of the more important films that I've done. It's really good.

"Mike's Pulse" is a column written by transplanted Midwesterner and current New Yorker Mike Ryan. For any compliments or complaints -- preferably the former -- you may contact Mike directly at miker@starpulse.com
or submit reader questions for celebrites to Mike on Twitter.

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