Noel Fisher is most definitely an actor on the rise, as he keeps landing roles alongside Hollywood's elite. After portraying the young Private Lenihan in Battle: Los Angeles last year, the Canadian actor landed a role as Vladimir in Summit's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, and portrayed Mickey Milkovich on the Showtime series Shameless, being elevated to series regular in Season 3. He can next be seen in the History Channel mini-series Hatfields & McCoys, which debuts Monday, May 28 at 9 PM ET.
The actor portrays Ellison "Cotton Top" Mounts, the nephew of Kevin Costner's "Devil" Anse Hattfield. I recently had the chance to speak with this up and coming young talent. Here's what he had to say.
I'm really looking forward to this. I'm a big fan of historical dramas like this. I was wondering how far you delved into the history, before you read for Ellison?
Noel Fisher: Well, in terms of before I got the thing, I actually didn't know anything about it when I went in to audition for the part. I was born and raised in Canada, so I didn't know about this crazy feud that was going on south of the border. But, once I got there, we actually did do a lot of research. Bill Paxton had a lot of books that he recommended, so I did as much reading as I had time for.
Can you talk about the name? Why is he called 'Cotton Top?'
Noel Fisher: What makes sense to me is, first off, he was blonde, so that would make sense in that regard. Also, he's mentally challenge, so it could be a name for being soft in the head, that sort of thing. I'm not entirely sure if there's a historical reason for the name. I didn't actually find that.
Can you talk about where you actually shot this? How much historical context was there, where you were actually shooting it?
Noel Fisher: We shot the mini-series in Romania, actually. One of the actors grew up in Kentucky, actually, and knew a lot about this feud going on between the Hatfields and the McCoys. He was saying that the countryside of Romania looks exactly like Kentucky and West Virginia (Laughs). It was perfect.
Do we get a lot of background into your character, or who the families really were? Or is it all about the feud? Did you get a lot of screen time with Kevin Costner?
Noel Fisher: Well, it starts before the feud. "Devil" Anse and McCoy were both friends, I believe, in the Civil War. They fought together, and that's kind of where we take it up. It's just so interesting to watch this friendship just disintegrate, when they get home to their families. Ellison is the son of one of Anse's brothers, and I did get to have quite a bit of screen time with Kevin Costner. One of the reasons the feud got as big as it did, was because the families were very close-knit. Both families kept their people very close at hand, and especially because Cotton Top was mentally challenged, he needed to be taken care of, in some ways. "Devil" Anse kind of took that on.
You've done both episodic TV and movies before, so how would you compare the experience of shooting a three-part mini-series? Is it more like a movie, or more like a TV show?
Noel Fisher: I would say that it's somewhere in the middle. I guess that's kind of what they were aiming for. (Director) Kevin Reynolds shot it very much like a movie. Everything that I've gotten to see on the monitors while shooting, and the little bit of ADR stuff that I've seen, it looks like a feature. It's just these beautiful shots, with a very sweeping kind of look to it. Overall, I do think they were going for a movie vibe, and I think they got it.
I read you're going to be a series regular on Shameless now. What kinds of things are you looking forward to now that you're a full-time member of the cast?
Noel Fisher: I'm just looking forward to getting to do it. Personally, I don't know anything that's happening in the next season. I haven't been given any tidbis or any sneak previews. I wish I kind of knew, but I'm really looking forward to it. It's a really great show to be on. The writing is great, just ridiculously good, and it's a lot of fun. I'm just looking forward to getting back in it. I think we start in June, so I'm just waiting.
Will it probably debut around the same time, in January?
Noel Fisher: I think so. I think that's working for them, so I don't imagine they would change it.
It's always cool to see a show like that evolve, and who will be elevated. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Mickey next.
Noel Fisher: Me too, man. It's a really fun part, and I have a blast playing Mickey.
You're also playing Vladimir in this little indie movie called The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2.
Noel Fisher: Yeah, not many people know about it yet (Laughs). It's going to do the festival circuit. It's like that little indie that could. No, that's going to be awesome. I had a great time shooting that, and I can't wait until I can see some of it. I'm excited to see myself all vamped up on screen.
When we talked before, you said Vladimir is one of the only two Romanian vampires left. Who do you have the most screen time with, and what can we expect out of Vladimir?
Noel Fisher: I would say I have the most screen time with the new vampires. There is a slew of new vampires from all these different covens all over the world. There's the Irish coven, an Amazonian coven, all sorts of groups of vampires. I get a lot of screentime with them.
So you haven't seen anything from it yet?
Noel Fisher: No, I wish I had. I don't think they need any ADR from me. It's like the first time I've been bummed out for not having to do ADR. I would love to go into ADR and get to see some of it, but yeah. I think it's going to be pretty bad-ass. We spent a lot of time doing some really cool sutff.
Is there anything you have lined up before Shameless starts. Is there anything starts?
Noel Fisher: Not right now. There's a lot coming down the pipeline, so I'm kind of relaxing for the small bit of time that I'm going to be able to relax.
You've been mixing it up a lot. Is there any type of character you'd like to do, specifically, or do you just react to the material?
Noel Fisher: I've tried to make a habit of just responding to good material. If the writing is good, that's really what makes me gravitate towards parts, whether that's a 3,000-year-old vampire, or a Southern kid, or a Marine, or whatever it happens to be. If it's good writing, and I connect to it, that's what I really go for. I try and keep an open mind, and just do whatever feels good.
In this downtime, are you preparing for this onslaught of new fans with these Twilight kids, who may not have seen your work?
Noel Fisher: Yeah. I've really had a great introduction into the Twilight fan base through Twitter and Facebook. already. So far, they've been awesome. I love them, and they just show so much support, for me or anything I do. I think they'll be happy for me, and for anything I do. It's a really nice thing, so I hope they're happy with it, and I think they will be.
What would you like to say to your fans about all this awesome stuff you have coming up?
Noel Fisher: The fans have been awesome, and I think it's going to be a big year. I hope everybody is ready for a wild and a very different ride. There's the closeted bully, a mentally challenged kid from the 1960s, and a 3,000-year-old vampire from Romania.
That's about all I have. Thanks so much. It was great talking to you again.
Noel Fisher: Cool. I'll talk to you soon.
You can watch Noel Fisher in Hatfields & McCoys, which debuts Monday, May 28 at 9 PM ET.