Taking a bite out of the Holy Land

Kellan Lutz, one of the stars of the ‘Twilight’ vampire saga, has joined other celebrities on a week long exploration of Israel.

American celebrities 311 (photo credit: Yissachar Ruas)
American celebrities 311
(photo credit: Yissachar Ruas)
If you hear a mob of screaming girls in the next couple of days, get out of the way – they’re probably running after Kellan Lutz, who plays one of the vampires in the Twilight movie series. Lutz is visiting Israel this week with a group of entertainment professionals from America, on a trip sponsored by America’s Voices in Israel.
Speaking at a press conference at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem last week, Lutz said, “I felt like I was a Beatles member” after more than 30 young women showed up to see the young star at the Old City’s Jaffa Gate after Lutz tweeted that he would be there the night before.
“It was a special time,” said Lutz, a soft-spoken but forceful guy who is much blonder and more tanned than he appears when playing his vampire character, Emmett Cullen. “I just wanted to hang out and learn more about the country.”
He also surprised reporters by saying he had been to Israel previously on a vacation trip.

“It was new and intriguing for me,” said Lutz. The actor admitted, though, that many of his young Hollywood friends thought his choice of a vacation spot was “nuts” and wondered why “I didn’t go someplace tropical.”
“But I just love history, and I wanted to come see the history here,” said Lutz, who was eager to join when he got the opportunity to come for this second visit.
“I’ve met the most kind and loving people I’ve ever known in Israel,” he said, and “by God’s grace, I was able to bring my mother along on this trip.”
Lutz’s mother, Karla May Pope, stood to one side during the press conference and photo shoot on a terrace overlooking the Old City at one of the Inbal suites, but gushed that her neighbors in Arizona were “really jealous I got to go on this trip.”
Lutz, who is currently starring in the romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage, didn’t comment on his romantic status, a topic of much interest on the Internet.
But when asked if he was interested in getting together with Israeli model Bar Rafaeli, he said, “She’s a really nice person, but she’s not single.”
MIGUEL FERRER, a distinguished film and television actor, best known to audiences for his roles on in the television shows Crossing Jordan and Twin Peaks, and to movie audiences from Traffic and RoboCop, said this trip to Israel had changed his vision of the country.
“The mentality in the States is that you’re dodging bullets from the moment you leave your hotel room,” he said.
Two days into his visit, he said that the opportunity to see the Golan Heights was especially fascinating. “As much as I thought I knew about the history, I learned much more.”
He was also happy to have the chance to see Tel Aviv as well as Jerusalem.
“They are disparate worlds. You have the juxtaposition of a very modern city with a very ancient city. It’s a country of conflicts and a country of miracles.”
Ferrer, the son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney (which makes him George Clooney’s cousin), said that he thought the term “character actor” was redundant.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career. Maybe it’s naïve but I like to think my best work is still ahead of me. Anyway, it keeps me showin’ up,” he said.
“I have the best job in the world. I get to have a great time with a female but don’t have to go home with her.
I get to kill somebody but I don’t have to go to jail.”
Latin singers Carolina La O and Didier Hernandez, born in Colombia and Cuba respectively, were also thrilled at the opportunity to see Israel. “For me and my family, this is a dream come true,” said Carolina.
Hernandez said he felt right at home here , since “so many Israelis here look as if they could be Latin American.”
Seattle radio-show host John Carlson said, “Israel is safer than Seattle,” although he added that seeing the Syrian and Lebanese borders was an eye-opening experience.
Carlson had high praise for the welcome the group had received all over the country. “If Americans have the chance, I hope they come here,” he said.
But there is so much to see that the press conference soon ended and the guests were off for more sightseeing.
As Ferrer, eager to get going, stood waiting to board the tour bus, I couldn’t resist joking, “Watch out for the scrambled eggs,” a reference to a hotel meal of great significance in the life of his character, a witness in a drug case, in the movie Traffic.
“What? Why? Oh, right, I should have gotten that,” he said, laughing and putting on his sunglasses.