Friday, March 6, 2009

The Best 'Twilight' Cast Performances You Haven't Seen

You've memorized the books, you'll be in line for the midnight DVD-release party, and you have "Kellan 4-Ever" tattooed across one (or both) buttocks. But are you fully prepared to be a true Twilighter?

First, you need to bask in the versatile skills the franchise's stars will depend on as they film "New Moon" and "Eclipse," practically back-to-back, beginning this month. With that in mind, we've compiled our top-five "Twilight" cast performances you haven't seen:

5. Kristen Stewart in "The Cake Eaters"
In this sweet, tiny little film, KStew steals the show as Georgia Kaminski, a terminally ill teen hoping to find love while grappling with the nerve-system-attacking disease Friedreich's ataxia. The potential pitfalls are obvious, as Stewart slurs her speech, limps around and depends on others to help her maneuver. But the talented actress sheds light on the affliction, giving a performance that is tender, sweet and — most disarmingly — sexy.

Where to See It: The movie opens in limited release March 13.

4. Edi Gathegi on "Life on Mars"
Sadly, this trippy, time-traveling cop drama was recently canceled. Its short life, however, gave us a great cameo by the man Twilighters know as Laurent. Stepping in for a flashback of an older character, Gathegi's performance built to a big payoff — basically, he had to make the audience care for his character as much as the show's star did. In a brief amount of time, the endearing Gathegi brought the goods.

Where to See It: Pray that the episode, titled "Things to Do in New York When You're Dead," gets rerun — or that season one eventually gets a DVD release.

3. Robert Pattinson in "How to Be"
In the months since RPattz's career explosion, this tiny independent film has become a phenomenon. Filmed in early 2007, the flick stars Rob as a young musician seeking wisdom from a self-help guru — and "Twilight" fans have been traveling hundreds of miles for its current cinema tour. "Cinequest we just did; it went really well," producer Justin Kelly said of a recent date at a San Jose film festival. "It's insane; people fly across three states to see it. It's fantastic."

Where to See It: The Independent Film Channel's Festival Direct service will make the film available April 29 on cable providers Bright House, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Insight and Time Warner. "We're supporting IFC's release with the cinema tour," Kelly explained.

2. Billy Burke on "The Closer"
If you're like me, you see "Matlock," "Columbo" and "Monk" and wonder: What's the point of watching if the star always catches the criminal? After years of suffering in silence through my wife's "Closer" obsession, I was recently rewarded by a tour-de-force cameo from Burke. Bella Swan's father broke out as Philip Stroh, a smooth-talking lawyer who might be in cahoots with his murderer/rapist client. By the end of the episode, Burke had shown tremendous range and walked away with a devilish glee — a performance that has haunted Kyra Sedgwick's homicide chief ever since.

Where to See It: The episode, titled "Power of Attorney," can be found on TNT's Web site.

1. Anna Kendrick in "Rocket Science"
Admittedly, it might be the most visible performance out of the five listed here. Still, Twilighters who haven't seen Kendrick's breakout performance in this 2007 indie flick need to put down their copy of Kristen Stewart's unauthorized biography and get to Blockbuster immediately. Cast as fast-talking debate queen Ginny Ryerson, Kendrick is nothing short of a revelation.

Where to See It: On DVD.

Check out everything we've got on "Twilight" and "The Twilight Saga's New Moon."

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