Marlane Barnes, a 23-year-old actress, recently had her debut on the big screen in the Twilight Saga’s latest film, Breaking Dawn Part 2. In her breakout role, Barnes portrays the character Maggie, the youngest member of the Irish Coven. For those of you who aren’t diehard Twilight fans, Maggie travels to the Cullen’s home in Forks to learn more about Bella and Edward’s daughter Renesmee.
Although she was born in Portland, Maine, Marlane has roots in Arkansas where she was raised. She caught the acting bug at a young age and became involved with theater. Marlane studied acting at the University of Arkansas and went on to get her Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Texas at Austin.
Most people know her from her role as Maggie in Breaking Dawn Part 2, but she has also appeared on episodes of the popular Nickelodeon show iCarly as Tina. She’s a sweet girl with a big heart, and she shows it by acting as a spokesperson for the Spay/Neuter advocacy organization SpayFirst! In this exclusive interview, we catch up with Marlane as she dishes on Breaking Dawn Part 2, celebrity crushes, and fostering pets.
TheCelebrityCafe: What was it like working on the Twilight Breaking Dawn Part II film?
Marlane Barnes: It’s really exciting to work on a film of that size. It was actually one of my first gigs when I moved out to Los Angeles, so I was really trying to take it all in and just experience it all at one time. I think, you know looking back, one of my fonder memories was just the camaraderie that happened in the hotel where we were all staying. I feel like, you know, there was this common area on the ground floor, and if you ever felt lonely, or didn’t have something to do, or weren’t working that day, you could go down there. There was usually always somebody getting a drink, or reading or something. You could hang out or go to a movie or something like that. So, it was a really interesting experience in that way, and I think it’s really unusual. It’s probably not something that I will be doing again, at least not for really a long time.
TCC: You’re originally from Arkansas, so did you enjoy being in the South to film Breaking Dawn in New Orleans?
MB: Yeah, it was really fun to be in the South again! It was fun, because when we had Christmas break in the middle of shooting I could just go to Louisiana. I had a cousin who was in town while we were shooting and she came with her husband and her kids. We all went to the zoo one day. So, I could just do normal family stuff. I have my roommate from when I lived in Austin and she drove over. We went to see a plantation. There’s a lot of plantations in Baton Rouge and I had never seen anything like that actually, even being from the South. It was really huge and beautiful. It was so fun!
TCC: In the movie you play Maggie, who is a part of the Irish coven, if you could have been a part of another coven in Breaking Dawn, which one would you have joined?
MB: Hmm, if I didn’t look the way that I looked... I thought that the Amazonian coven was really fun and their costumes were great. They were really sexy and you know, indigenous. They were fun and they had neat powers. I also have good hair for that. I think I could brush my hair out and get a spray tan.
TCC: If you could pick any special talent to have as a vampire what would you pick?
MB: I think that the ability to travel without using an airplane would be really important to me. I always laugh thinking about Aro and Caius on the plane on the way over. I always thought that that was kind of funny. You know that Kristen [Stewart], Bella, goes on a plane to go to Italy to see them and I kind of thought, well she wasn’t a vampire yet, but they still need cars and stuff. I think being able to sail over the ocean on the wind would be cool.
TCC: Do you still keep in touch with anyone you met while filming Breaking Dawn?
MB: Yeah! It’s really hard I think, kids doing the entertainment industry, because our schedules are all so unpredictable. So, I’ll make plans with people and we’ll have to reschedule and it’s really hard to stay in physical touch. But there are definitely people I talk to pretty regularly, so I would count them as friends.
TCC: It is nice that we have technology to close some of those gaps.
MB: Yeah, there are definitely people I feel like I could text randomly and be like, “Hey, I’m in your part of town,” and we would hang out. I feel like it’s one of those things where time will tell as we get further and further out from being brought together regularly. We will see who stays in touch.
TCC: So now that you have had this big step into the entertainment industry, do you have a celebrity crush or someone that you want to meet or work with?
MB: Well, the second I heard you say celebrity crush, I’ll have to tell my boyfriend to put earmuffs on, I thought of Ryan Gosling. I just love everything he does and I think he’s beautiful. And you know, especially because he does awareness campaigns about adoption instead of buying from a breeder, and I think that that’s really sexy!
TCC: You’re the national spokesperson for SpayFirst! Tell me about how you got involved in that organization.
MB: I started getting foster dogs. I have a foster dog right now. It’s a volunteer position basically for a rescue. They pull a dog from a shelter, they need a place for it to go, so they find it a home and the dog comes to stay with me for a little while. I was doing that and a friend of mine knew another person who was involved with SpayFirst!, and they were just like, “Hey we need someone to call awareness to our organization.”
SpayFirst! is a little more orchestrated towards creating spay and neuter clinics in low income communities and then getting the local government on their side. Right now we spend millions of dollars of public funds on animal control, and less than 10% of that has to do with operating affordable spay and neuter programs, which is crazy to me because in a lot of places it’s against the law to not have your animals spayed or neutered. So to me, if you’re going to make a law about, you also need to provide affordable ways for people to comply with that law. That was something that happened to strike me.
I volunteered also for the humane society in Arkansas when I was a kid. Something that had been instilled in me at a very young age, I think I was 10 when I started volunteering there, was get your animal spayed or neutered. We don’t need them to be reproducing and having these unwanted litters. The shelters have to figure out something to do with them, and unfortunately most of the time what they come up with is they kill them. So, that’s no good. We need to get in there at the start and one of the big ways to do that is to spay and neuter.
TCC: Since you heard about it from friends, is that one of the big reasons you became so passionate about SpayFirst!
MB: As far as SpayFirst!, it was definitely for me having come from Arkansas... I come from one of the communities, you know, where it’s a small town and there’s a lot of rural areas, and those are all low income communities. People don’t know that they should spay or neuter. There are a lot of mythologies out there that you should let your animal have its first litter, or it won’t be as good as a pet. Actually, they become better pets. Or, they just can’t afford it. And you know, if you make $35,000 a year and you have two kids, and car payments, and house payments, and whatever else, sometimes spaying or neutering your animal is literally just the last thing on your list and you’ll never get to it.
I think that having become involved in shelter work from a young age, and I picked it up again when I moved out here through fostering, I’ve been in shelters and I’ve pulled these dogs myself. I pulled two of them directly from a shelter and one of them I found in a shelter. To go into those places and see all these animals, you know I don’t know if you remember those SPCA commercials with Sarah McLachlan singing and it’s like really sad because all the animals are homeless. I never realized as a kid watching that that it’s not sad because they are homeless, it’s sad because someone is going to kill them. An animal could be homeless, that’s a temporary situation, but most of the time they kill them. That’s permanent. For me, every season kittens and puppies are being put to death because they were born and nobody wanted them. Literally every dog or cat that you neuter or spay prevents the death of maybe eight or nine.
TCC: Obviously you are an animal lover, and you mentioned that you foster some pets, but do you have any permanent pets of your own?
MB: I do. I have two cats and my boyfriend has one cat. I guess begrudgingly I will admit that our household has three cats. They’re great and they are my permanent pets. As a result, we don’t foster cats because cats are pretty particular about their environment, so we can’t be a kind of revolving door with cats, but we can with dogs... They grow to love the dogs I think because it gives them something to do. They grow lonely because they are indoor only cats. The one we have right now is a chihuahua. She’s the smallest dog we’ve had. She’s only eight or nine pounds and my cats are twelve pounders. I mean they’re big cats. She’s so small and she races around with them. It’s really funny.
TCC: How old is the chihuahua?
MB: She’s two and a half. I pulled her from this Los Angeles shelter and she was on a list. She had been there too long and they were gonna kill her. So, I went down and got her. I put her out over a network for Best Friends Animal Society and put a little flyer out about her, and I just had two people contact me yesterday about meeting her. So, I’m excited for her.
TCC: What advice would you give to someone who has no idea what steps to take to get their pet spayed or neutered?
MB: This is a hard question. I’m going to talk to SpayFirst! about having some kind of directory on their website. Honestly, I would just do an internet search for low income spay and neuter in your area. Search low income, spay and neuter, and then your city name, because these organizations exist. They want to get spay and neuter done for your animal and it is possible to find affordable options for a spay and neuter clinic. You just have to think outside the box of your veterinarian. Even in a mobile clinic they have everything that they need in order to do a spay surgery. There’s no reason to not do it.