Not eclipsed by Twilight

Does the name Xavier Samuel ring a bell?

If you're a Twi-hard, you'll know he's the killer cutie - literally - from 2010's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, where he played vampire villainess Victoria's (Bryce Dallas Howard) sidekick/lover Riley, who was out for protagonist Bella's (Kristen Stewart) blood.

Fast forward two years, and the handsome actor is becoming a staple in independent films Down Under.

The 28-year-old from Adelaide acknowledged that being "that guy from Twilight" has opened doors for him.

"It certainly presented a lot of opportunities that may not have presented itself otherwise," he told FiRST over the phone from Los Angeles.

Samuel, who spends half his time in Hollywood and the other half in Sydney and is enjoying the best of both worlds now, added: "There are many enthusiastic fans who loved that film. The wider the audience, the bigger the opportunities."

He still gets recognised when he's in the US, he shared, probably thanks to the various nominations - like Breakout Star for both the MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards in 2011 - he received from playing Riley.

He admitted that he "never got tired of the attention", but has now chosen to keep a lower profile. "I'm missing out on the limelight," he laughed.

Samuel is now fronting A Few Best Men, an Australian comedy in the vein of The Hangover and Bridesmaids. The movie opens here today.

Directed by Stephan Elliott (The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert) , the story revolves around British groom David (Samuel) who travels to the Australian Outback to marry Mia (Laura Brent), a pretty Australian girl whom he met while holidaying at an island resort.

Travelling with him are three of his best mates - Tom (Kris Marshall), Graham (Kevin Bishop) and Luke (Tim Draxl) - who somewhat disapprove of David's whirlwind romance.

Like David, Samuel, who once dated Iranian-born model Shermine Shahrivar, shared that he is a "romantic" and "believes in love at first sight".

However, he's still searching for "someone special".

"I've been single for a couple of years now. I'm still waiting for her, for that love at first sight."

A Few Best Men is Samuel's maiden attempt at comedy, and the biggest challenge was to "keep a straight face".

"The hardest thing to do on the set was trying not to laugh. Kevin and Kris are very funny.

"I really enjoyed comedy. But I don't really have any genre preference. (The project I choose) is usually about the people involved, being passionate and challenging yourself, and to go to a territory you've never been before as an actor.

"It's always good to push yourself to do different things," he said.

He added that while he admires the "many great Australian actors" in Hollywood, it's "always good to be an individual and not emulate their career".

Samuel worked with director Roland Emmerich last year on period drama Anonymous alongside Rhys Ifans and VanessaRedgrave.

He has also completed three Australian films - 3-D shark thriller Bait (opening here on Sept 27), sport drama Drift (starring opposite Sam Worthington about " two brothers who changed the surfing world in the 70s") and The Grandmothers (a drama with Naomi Watts).

To him, it doesn't matter if he's working in Australia or Hollywood.

"Essentially, the camera is still pointing atyou.

"There's a little more money in America so that means you have more time to experiment, to try different things, while in Australia, you have to get it right the first time because you seldom have the luxury to have a second take."

For one who has found his calling in show business, it's ironic that acting "never ever crossed my mind".

But Samuel isn't content to just fish for fans in two ponds.

"Perhaps I can come to work in Singapore. Yeah, why not?" he teased.

"I'd love to visit Singapore one day. My father's been there a couple of times and he really loves it. So I'll probably come over and say hello."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

Become a fan on Facebook