Dr. Carlisle Cullen: Vampire, Twitter Addict

Peter Facinelli on tweeting from the set, a bikini bet, and being named “Mr. Twitter.”

Last Updated: October 26, 2009 @ 6:54 PM

Peter Facinelli has captured the hearts of millions of teenage girls with his role as Dr. Carlisle Cullen in the "Twilight" series. No wonder the actor also casts a long shadow over the Twitter-verse, with over 1.2 million people following his updates on the micro-blogging site. His tweets are so popular that fans recently voted him Worldwide Mr. Twitter.

So far, Facinelli says he’s tried to use his new status for good — as well as a dollop of career promotion — asking his loyal fans to donate blood or give money to cancer research. One thing he hasn’t been able to do with his new influence is convince Kristen Stewart, the films’ star, to join Twitter. With time and tweets, maybe Bella will become a  convert.
Congratulations on being Worldwide Mr. Twitter. How did it feel to earn that title from fans?
I don’t know what my responsibilities for that are exactly. I’m not sure if I have to do people’s laundry or give tax incentives, but it’s endearing. It’s nice people would come together even on something as silly as Mr. Twitter. I’m just going to try to continue to entertain people and make them laugh.

How much time to spend on Twitter?
I tweet once or twice a day. When you’re working, you always have down time on set. It beats visiting the craft service table. When I’m with my family, I tweet less, because I’m spending time with my kids. But on the set, I’ll pull it out of my pocket and read responses. It’s like checking email.

When did you start?
Maybe four or five months ago. A friend of mine knew a lot about multimedia networking and he set up an account for me, because I’m pretty computer illiterate. So I started sending out messages to fans, and it seemed like a great way to connect with them. I get to entertain, promote things I’m doing, and share charity events that I do. It’s fun to get feedback and answer their questions, and it puts the media in your own pocket.

Did you expect you’d become so popular?
When I started out, I had 80,000 followers. I made a bet with a friend, who said he bet I couldn’t get 500,000 followers in two weeks. I asked the fans what he should do if he lost the bet. They said that he should dance down Hollywood Boulevard in a binkini to the song "Single Ladies." So they actually did it, and I won. I turned around and had the clothing store Affliction sponsor the event, and the fans came out to watch, and we were able to raise $10,000 for the Christopher Reeve Foundation. This silly little bet made a difference because of Twitter.

You sometimes tweet about your family life. Do you worry you’re sharing too much personal information?
My personal life is in the media anyway. I’d rather share information about what I’m up to or a picture than have someone jumping out of bush and taking a shot of me. But I don’t share information about where I am at any particular time, because people could show up there, which would be scary.

What do your "Twilight" co-stars think about your Twitter obsession?
They laugh. I’m always twittering or talking about Twitter. I don’t think they fully understand it, although Ashley Greene got an account recently. David Slade is directing the third one, so at the beginning of the shoot he set up an account, and I tweeted my fans to let them know. Now he has 15,000 followers. The business has changed. It used to be the more mysterious you were, the more they wanted to know. Now if people don’t know about you, they forget you. It’s not the same business it was.

Do studios get worried you’re going to give away plot points on Twitter?
The studios never came to me and complained. I’m sure they think it’s good that I’m connecting with fans. On "Jackie" and "Twilight," I’m twittering from set, so they’ll be vested in the projects. I might say that I just shot this scene or something, so when they get to see it, they’ll feel like they were there. It’s a promotional tool, but I’m careful not to divulge any secrets.

What kind of interactions have you had?
I don’t usually have direct interactions with them, because to just respond to one seems unfair, but because of Twitter, I get to know them a little bit. Usually the things that they’re talking about are how much they enjoyed the "Twilight" movies and "Jackie." But sometimes it’s more serious. I’ll get messages like, "I’m going for surgery, will you pray." This 19-year-girl sent me a message saying that she wanted to do a blood drive, because I’d inspired her to do things for charity. She left me a number of messages asking for my help, so I personally reached out and called her. I think it was a complete shock for her. I told her, "I appreciate what your doing, but you don’t need me. I help lots of charities, but I can’t run a blood drive every weekend, but I don’t want you not to because I’m not there. Whatever gets donated is more than if you’d done nothing."

Did you ever expect you’d become so popular?
When I started out, I had 80,000 followers. I made a bet with a friend, who said he bet I couldn’t get 500,000 followers in two weeks. I asked the fans what he should do if he lost the bet. They said that he should dance down Hollywood Boulevard in a binkini to the song "Single Ladies." So they actually did it, and I won. I turned around and had the clothing store Affliction sponsor the event, and the fans came out to watch, and we were able to raise $10,000 for the Christopher Reeve Foundation. This silly little bet made a difference because of Twitter.

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