Rachelle Lefevre’s signature auburn curls don’t so much “fall” down her back as they “cascade.” This is the first thing I notice as she approaches our table at an LA sidewalk café. Instantly recognizable for her portrayal of the blood-ravenous vampire Victoria in the film version of Stephenie Meyer’s bestseller Twilight, Rachelle’s rising popularity might explain the onslaught of looky-loo passersby. With book sales topping 42,000,000 and its on-screen counterpart so successful that production of sequel New Moon is already well underway, Meyer’s brainchild is nothing short of a phenomenon. Regardless of the saga’s cult following, however, I am not entirely convinced that Rachelle-spotting is what has caused all the neck swivelling. For lying at the feet of this soy-latté-sipping redhead is a bullystick-chewing blonde named Honey. One part tiny dog and three parts Mary’s little lamb, this sweetie gives her mommy a run for her head-turning money.
MD: Is it just me, or is Honey drawing people in?
RL: I have never seen people gravitate towards a dog like they gravitate towards her.
MD: As soon as I saw you, I went right for her. I didn’t even say hi to you. No offence.
RL: Everybody’s like that with her.
MD: It’s amazing how something so small can have such an effect. How much does she weigh?
RL: She’s flirting with six pounds.
MD: How long have you had her?
RL: One month and two days. My boyfriend and I had talked about getting a dog for about a year and a half. We’re both actors and so lifestyle considerations were important. We knew it needed to be right, so that we were comfortable enough with our jobs that we had an answer for every situation. Then it was about finding the right dog. We wanted to get a rescue. That was non-negotiable. And then, about a month ago, we were driving home and we saw a sign for doggie adoptions. We went in and we were cooing over this one little dog and the guy who worked there yelled from the back: “Show them Butternut!” That was Honey’s name then. And they put her in our arms and it was just like….
RL: Done. Literally, everything stopped and my boyfriend and I looked at each other, and we were like: “Where do we sign?”
MD: Is this your first dog?
MD: Now you’ll never be able to not be a dog person.
RL: Oh, fully! When we’re not with her, my heart hurts.
MD: Well, when you’re filming in Vancouver, she’s mine.
RL: You’re the eighth person this week to offer! We’ve now met the whole neighbourhood. It took me over a year to meet the people who live next to us. Now, after four weeks, we know everybody. She has a boyfriend up the street, Mr. Pickles.
MD: Honey and Pickles? What are they, the pregnancy cravings couple? In terms of filming, you’ve appeared on series like CSI: NY, The Closer, and How I Met Your Mother. What do you enjoy about these stints?
RL: I know people who don’t enjoy doing them. And definitely having to go from one job to the next is harder than having a steady job—that’s true in any business. But for me, I’ve never felt that way. I love it. I find it really liberating. Because the truth is, rarely are you the central storyline. So that pressure to carry it is not on you. You still have to do a good job—you still have to bring it. But there is a freedom where I can try new things. And you get to work with the most incredible actors. Neil Patrick Harris? Watching him work…I learned so much that week.
MD: You allegedly sent Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke a letter before you were cast as Victoria. Can you share its contents?
RL: The first part of the letter was how much I loved the books. I read Twilight right before my audition, and I read New Moon shortly after. So it was about why my desire to be a part of it was genuine. The second part was how Catherine had been on my wish list of directors since Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown. And lastly, it was about the character. The truth is, [Victoria] was who I felt connected to. Stephanie describes her as always on the balls of her feet, like she could pounce at any moment. She just seemed to be free and instinctive and I was attracted to that.
MD: How would you describe Victoria?
RL: She has been described as evil. But I don’t see her as evil at all. Nature is about a food chain, and she is just at the top of the food chain. Nature doesn’t have those moral applications. It comes down to instinct. And eating something…there’s no malice in it. I just see her as really powerful.
MD: Given the intensity of Hollywood, how do you think having Honey will keep things in perspective?
RL: She is adding to the perspective I was already trying to keep. There’s always a party, there’s always a premiere, and you can get invited to a lot of things. I’m certainly not a club-goer or a partygirl, but she’s just made it easier to not get caught up. Everything gets weighed against: Do I want to spend two hours in hair and make-up? Or do I want to stay in and cuddle with the puppy?
MD: And now for the most important question: Who would play Honey in the movie of her life?
RL: Unfortunately, she’s passed away now, but it would be Katharine Hepburn. Honey has all these little quirks and she will let you know: “I can do cute, funny, and sweet, but don’t mess with me.” In the same way that Katharine Hepburn—all petite and dainty—might have barked at a bigger dog. Katharine seemed so fiercely independent and Honey will cuddle with you, but she is not needy. She wants you to know, “I’m going to take care of me.”