Noot Seear is no stranger to playing a vamp, at least where fashion folk are concerned. The 25-year-old Canadian catwalker has spent the last 12 years strutting down runways for the likes of Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler, displaying the kind of chiseled cheekbones and perfect pout that could lure any unsuspecting fellow.
This fall, she’ll get to show off a more literal take on her man-eating side when she makes her film debut in “New Moon,” the much-anticipated second installment in the “Twilight” series, which hits theaters Nov. 20. Seear tackles the role of Heidi, a member of an elite group of vampires known as the Volturi. Her special talent is — what else? — seducing human prey.
But looks that could kill were only part of the job description, according to “New Moon” director Chris Weitz.
This story first appeared in the July 20, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We wanted someone who had an unearthly and unlikely beauty, but could also convey humor and menace,” explains Weitz, who reportedly also considered AnnaLynne McCord of “90210” before eventually settling on Seear. “It’s rare to find a stunningly attractive person who also happens to have the ability to act.”
Certainly Seear has the first part of the equation down. Discovered by a scout at 13, the model (born Renata Seear) left her native Vancouver for New York City, where she booked the Calvin Klein show within a week.
“And that was it. I wasn’t going back to Canada,” she recalls.
Twelve years later, Seear has a solid portfolio full of high-profile gigs, including print ads for Chanel and Pantene Pro-V. And while she’s probably most recognizable for posing as Mona Lisa in a 1998 Yves Saint Laurent campaign, Seear is by no means a household name. “I have this representation where they’ve never overexposed me,” she says.
Seear plans to bring that same measured approach to acting. “I’ve always been biting at the bit to get into this industry,” says the model, who has trained with famed acting coach Alan Savage for the past few years and has already had bit parts on Canadian TV shows. “Alan was always like, ‘Be patient, you’ve only got one shot at this,’” she says. (It doesn’t hurt that Seear’s New York agency, One Model Management, has helped the likes of Devon Aoki make similar career switches.)
But when the opportunity to be part of the “Twilight” juggernaut came about, she knew it was her time. “I started reading the books, and I couldn’t put them down,” she says.
She admits she was worried her modeling years would hinder her acting chops. “I was really scared because you’re not allowed to look in the camera [when filming a movie], but in the modeling world, you’re supposed to,” recalls Seear, whose problem was solved by the heavy-duty violet contacts she had to wear on-screen. “I literally couldn’t see 2 feet in front of me. They would tell me, ‘Look at Kristen [Stewart],’ and I was like, ‘OK. Where is she?’”
Seear is as excited about the film’s debut as the franchise’s cult fans. She’s already picked out her dress for the premiere (Balmain) and is anxiously awaiting her upcoming Heidi action figure.
And the model, who’s already signed up for two more “Twilight” installments, shows no signs of slowing down. “Modeling was great to me. I made a lot of money doing it,” says Seear, who plans to move to Los Angeles later this year to focus on acting. “[But] what makes acting different is that you get a voice. You’re not just a picture.”