Kellan Lutz Talks 'Twilight' Past & A Potential 'Magic Mike' Future

Though seven years have passed since its release, Twilight continues to be Kellan Lutz's most defining role as an actor — not that he minds. "It really just allowed doors to be opened and allowed me bigger and better opportunities," Lutz tells Bustle, adding that the Stephenie Meyer-penned franchise sped up his trajectory towards bigger roles like his turn as the titular hero of last year's Hercules and a CIA operative alongside Bruce Willis in his new film Extraction. And even though the fourth installment of Twilight came out three years ago, Lutz says he'd return to his role as Edward Cullen's older brother Emmett "in a heartbeat," citing Emmett and Hercules as two of his favorite characters.

Yet even prior to Twilight and Hercules, Lutz says that he gravitated towards heroic roles. He guest-starred in an episode of Heroes; he played Poseidon in Immortals; he appeared in Alexander Skarsgard's mini-series Generation Kill. And in Extraction, which premiered in theaters and on iTunes Friday, he plays Willis' son Harry Turner, who must rescue his kidnapped father from a terrorist organization. But it's not just heroism that attracts Lutz to roles like Harry and Emmett. He says that he finds himself drawn to parts that permit him to engage with the material on more than a superficial level, using the script to add to his vision of a character. In Extraction, he sought out "organic, authentic" moments with Willis, toying with nicknames and handshakes and improv lines while constructing the father-son relationship in the film. In Twilight, meanwhile, Lutz says he identified what he saw as Emmett's essence, vampire-hood aside. "He is the fun-loving, giant teddy bear protector," the actor says, adding that he later channeled those traits in his performance in Hercules.

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So what is it that draws Lutz to these roles? "I have a hero complex," he says without hesitation. He grew up a fan of the Die Hard franchise and always identified with Willis' character John McClane, but he says his predilection for playing the hero also stems from living with his "Wonder Woman" mother after his parents separated. He explains that he started modeling in high school, but wasn't even aware that acting was a route he could pursue. Yet he auditioned for a commercial, and when he landed the role, he says he realized that "you can use your personality in this media." A high-school science buff headed for college to study chemical engineering, he landed a couple of television guest-star appearances before earning a recurring role in 90210 beginning in 2008.

Once he turned to acting, Lutz knew he wanted to transition into film. He made his movie debut in Stick It, a cult favorite gymnastics movie also starring Missy Peregrym and Jeff Bridges. Accepted then followed, and though Lutz has focused on superhero roles ever since, he says that he would love to tackle a more comedic role in the future. He hopes to work alongside Channing Tatum one day, though he admits it's a long shot — "It's really hard to have two leading men in a movie... unless we're dancing topless and getting money like in Magic Mike, which I would love to do." He quickly adds, "I love dancing." Long shot it may be, but if Lutz's career has been any indicator thus far, he's game for anything that comes his way.