Lisa has a long list of credits to her name; she’s worked at regional theaters across the country and performed in the national touring company of “Les Misérables.” On Broadway, she played Missy Hart in “9 to 5,” Head Nurse in Lincoln Center’s TONY award-winning revival of “South Pacific,” and Rona Lisa Peretti in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” for which she won a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble Performance.
She’s also performed in many concerts, and her debut solo CD, “Songs of Innocence & Experience: The Songs of William Finn,” was released in the Spring of 2011.
Read on for Lisa’s thoughts on working with Stephenie Meyer, filming that epic fight scene, and playing a vampire who can turn a situation to her favor.
Jane Boursaw: You’ve done so much theater in your career. What’s it like switching from theater to a feature film?
Lisa Howard: It’s a little bit challenging. It feels like such a different craft because in a day’s work of theater, you’re working with the process, your character, all of that. A one-day shoot on a film, you might have shot five minutes of a scene. I like it, but it’s just totally different.
With theater, do you sort of make tweaks as you go along, or is the show pretty well set before you even start?
Definitely through the rehearsal process, the director helps shape the show into what it’s going to be. And then when you’re doing a show for however long it runs, your job is to try and re-create that every night. But there are a lot of different factors, including the audience, so it does evolve and change.
I was reading about the character of Siobhan on the Twilight Wiki, and it’s so interesting to me that they have this whole back story for all the characters, which I don’t recall from the books. From a fan viewpoint, that’s great, but does it also help you with character development?
Yeah, due to demand, Stephenie Meyer [author of the “Twilight” books] actually put out a companion book that has a lot of the back story she didn’t necessarily write into the books.
Did you meet Stephenie Meyer when you were doing the film?
Oh yeah, she was always there. She’s great.
It must be something for her to see her books come to life, and it seems like the films stayed pretty close to the books? Well, sort of.
Yeah, there’s so much detail in the books, and of course, not all of it can make it into the film. We wish we could have every moment, but there’s just not time. It would be a four-hour movie.
I’m kind of sad that the franchise is over. But especially with how “Breaking Dawn Part 2” ended, I keep hoping there will be more to the story.
I hope so. I hope it involves the Irish coven.
Talk a little bit about the Irish coven and your character of Siobhan.
They do drink human blood, but they’re still civilized, I guess you would say. And they come to help the Cullens fight the Volturi.
What was it like for you coming in at the end of the franchise?
It’s neat to walk into something that’s already so huge, you know? I didn’t have to do anything to spark interest in the film, because it already had such a worldwide fan base.
No, I’ve never done anything like that, so it was a lot of fun.
That fight scene at the end … it looks like you’re all out there on the ice, but is that how it was done? Or was a lot of it green screen?
We spent a lot of time doing that scene, I’ll tell you that. We were in that snow for a long time.
So were you actually outside?
No, it was an arena with a huge green screen around us. I mean, it was enormous — a very large field with green screen around. And it’s all choreographed moment by moment.
Siobhan’s powers are that she can visualize something and sort of make it into reality?
It’s more that she’s able to will a situation to turn out in her favor. So maybe she was the one who made it all turn out okay — we’ll never know.
Yeah, maybe it’ll come out in those future books I’m sure Stephenie is going to write. So if you could have a super power, what would it be?
I think I would choose Siobhan’s power. It’s a pretty universal power, and you could use it for a lot of things. To be able to make any situation come out favorably for you … that’s pretty great.
Yeah, I’m thinking I’d be on my way to get a power ball ticket. So I wanted to ask you a little about your theater work. Do you have any projects coming up, or are you planning on doing more films?
I have a show on Broadway next fall called “It Should Have Been You,” so hopefully, everything with that comes through. And I’m working on a horror film, so I’m excited about that.
Here’s another peek at “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2”: