Gil Birmingham was the special guest at the Official Twilight Convention in Nashville January 28 – 30, 2010. Birmingham is best known as the “father of Jacob Black” (Taylor Lautner) in the Twilight movies, but his role of Billy Black is actually of the chief of the Quileute tribe – a significant role in its own right.
As part of the convention programming, Birmingham participated in a Question and Answer session in the Tennessee Ballroom at the Opryland Hotel. Not only an actor but a musician as well, Birmingham was also featured at the Friday Night Musical Concert hosted by Peter Facinelli (see video below), so it was only natural one of the first questions was about his music.
Gil Birmingham on his Music
Birmingham said that his music comes from the deepest part of his soul and reveals what he is really feeling. He indicated he has been in love with music since he was 10 years old, and that he got his start singing in a band. After his concert, Birmingham tweeted: “Played guitar w/ Black Snow Sunday. Crowd excited. Played new songs to appreciative crowd..fans awesome!”
Gil Birmingham on Taylor Lautner
When Gil Birmingham met Taylor Lautner, his first impression was that Lautner was a great kid. He soon noticed how bright and grounded Lautner was, saying, “Taylor is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.” Birmingham commented on Lautner’s sweetness as a kid of 16 during the filming of Twilight and how dramatically Lautner changed his looks into the mature, buff young man he became for New Moon one year later.
Gil Birmingham on the Puppy Pack
Birmingham spoke with obvious affection of the “Puppy Pack” as he fondly calls the group of young men who play, the Wolf Pack – New Moon’s werewolves (Chaske Spencer, Alex Meraz, Kiowa Gordon and Bronson Pelletier), revealing he has known Chaske for 10 years, that that Kiowa has a unique howl and that Bronson is a “wild card.” Birmingham spoke of occasions when the cast would be calmly going over a scene until the “Puppy Pack” would burst in with their youthful exuberance and excitement.
Gil Birmingham on Billy Black’s Wheel Chair
When asked how he ended up in a wheelchair, Birmingham drolly replied, “Uh, they gave me the role.” He went on to reveal that he fleshed out a back story for Billy Black, stating that in the Native American community there is a great deal of poverty and diabetes. He said with diabetes at certain stages it might be too painful to walk one day, but a person could drive the next, so that was the condition he elected for Billy Black’s condition.
Gil Birmingham on Body Building & Acting
Birmingham told convention guests that he received his degree in administration and then was working in engineering, when he started body building. He got into acting through his body building when he was scouted and chosen for a Diana Ross video for “Muscles.” (See the video at the end of the article.) His girlfriend suggested that he start studying acting, and the roles started coming in. He revealed that he has two projects coming out soon, an animation project with Johnny Depp, as well as The Love Ranch, starring Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren, saying Depp, Pesci and Mirren were three of the actors he would most want to work with. When he was asked if he could call Robert Pattinson on speed dial, he dryly replied that he wondered if Pattinson was ever asked if he could get Gil Birmingham on speed dial.
Gil Birmingham on Charities
Birmingham is actively involved in several charities – one of the foremost is Project Lighthouse which distributes clothing, blankets, furniture, and other necessities to reservations.
Gil Birmingham on Nashville
Birmingham laughed as he told the convention goers, “This is my first time in Nashville. I’ve been here 24 hours and I have already gone down Broadway.” Calling Nashville one of the “hot spots for music,” Birmingham asked, “What is it with Elvis?” He has obviously spent too much time in Nashville’s gift stores where Elvis memorabilia is still King. In town during a rare Nashville snowstorm Birmingham tweeted, “Hangin’ in Nashville with Peter Facinelli. Fans are great. Will be jammin’ on guitar tonight. Darn cold here in TN.”
Birmingham seemed to enjoy his time in Nashville, and there is no doubt Nashville enjoyed having him here. I guess it’s a good thing he left the world of administration and engineering after all.
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For more Twilight secrets, see Twilight Secrets: What Secrets Did Peter Facinelli (Dr. Cullen) Reveal at the Twilight Convention?
Nashville Convention Sources:
Twilight Convention heats Nashville up with Peter Facinelli and Gil Birmingham (with slideshow)
Twilight Convention heading to Nashville; Kellan Lutz cancels Nashville Twilight appearance
Official Twilight Convention comes to Nashville with Peter Facinelli, Kellan Lutz and the wolf pack
Nashville Twilight Convention Brings Vampires, Wolves, Gil Birmingham and Peter Facinelli to Music City