Sometimes a casting director scores a star so perfect for a particular role, it's almost diabolically scary. For example, who better to play the ages-old leader of a vampire clan called the Cold One in last year's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse than legendary Goth-rock ghoul Peter Murphy?
The part seems tailor-made for the ex-Bauhaus leader, who first graced the silver screen in Tony Scott's definitive 1983 bloodsucker flick The Hunger. Murphy's scene-stealing appearance featured him moaning his band's signature dirge "Bela Lugosi's Dead" from inside a nightclub cage suspended over stars Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie.
"I was always the Cold One — I was the Cold One, pre-Cold One!" chortles Murphy. "So I was myself in Twilight in a sense — it was a great little wink to those in the know. The director was David Slade, and he wanted to give the film more of a harder edge. He's from Nottingham, and he was very much a hardcore Bauhaus aficionado in the early '80s. I was actually just talking to the music director, to try and place my music in one of the Twilight films. But then I told her 'I'm perfect for some sort of cameo in this, because of my past, The Hunger, and my whole reputation as an avant-garde, theatrical, mystic magician/illusionist.' And I left it at that."
Sure enough, Murphy's Nosferatu-like qualities got the whip-thin rocker hired. Soon, he was up in Vancouver on a mountain-nestled set, doing his own stunt work and sitting down for 6 a.m. makeup alongside the three young Twilight stars.
"They were very well-adjusted, considering the pressure they were under," says the ex-Brit, who currently lives in Turkey. "And you can imagine, with that whole franchise they have to be so secretive about where the actors are, because I swear there are really hard-core people who follow them."
Murphy retains his own cult following, whose tenacity was finally rewarded this summer with a new album, Ninth, his first in seven years (as well as a newly released EP, The Secret Bees of Ninth).
Album opener "Velocity Bird" finds him crooning a bit of personal advice for stalwart fans. "It's the charismatic fatalist rock star coming out with a personal statement," he says. "Then the stanza is, 'Be yourself if you want to be me,' which is my homeopathic, existential little insert."
The musician's deep sepulchral voice sounds especially ominous on dirges like "I Spit Roses," which is about him finally calling it quits with a recently reunited Bauhaus. But he still stays busy, touring with Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails and issuing cover songs on iTunes (NIN's "Hurt," Joy Division's "Transmission").
He also recorded five songs with his old partner in Dalis Car, Mick Karn, before the bassist passed away this January. And he's been auditioning in Hollywood for upcoming roles he can't divulge yet.
Meanwhile, Murphy's kids are poised to carry on in the dramatic family tradition. His 19-year-old son Adem is enrolled in film school, while daughter Hurihan, 22, just got her bachelor's degree in contemporary choreography.
And how old, exactly, is the Cold One? "I'm four thousand and thirty-three at the moment," he cackles. "Hey — if you start counting years? You're fucked!"