'Twilight' dad Billy Burke a rocker, too


It's a busy time for Billy Burke. The actor who plays Bella's father in all three 'Twilight' films is also a musician. And he's got a CD to promote, too.

Billy Burke
Billy Burke

By Madeleine Marr

Billy Burke was prepared for Twilight fever.

The 43-year-old actor, who has played Bella's father Charlie Swan in all three the films, had a feeling that a little camouflage would help keep the teenage fans at bay.

"I had a suspicion when I read the script and saw what the books were doing it would have an audience," says Burke by phone from Los Angeles. "My porn 'stache was part of the plan. I thought, do I want to be recognized every day of my life? How do I alleviate that?"

Nonetheless, Burke, who is married with a daughter who turns 2 next month, still gets stopped at airports and other public spots. ‘‘Kids are very savvy," acknowledges Burke, who has played cops in the thrillers Untraceable and Fracture and a Secret Service Agent in Along Came A Spider. "I'll notice they'll poke at their mom, then the whole thing starts. No one could have predicted the cultural phenomenon Twilight has become."

No time to rest, either: Burke is doing double duty, promoting the movie as well as his country-bluesy album, Removed (listen to a sample at billyburke.net).

 "I thought it would be a good idea to piggyback the two and it turns out I was right," says the Washington State native. "It's been a whirlwind. I get probably four to five hours a night. Sleep is my friend; it's been rough."

But a working actor can't complain.

"You spend so much time in this lifestyle bored, posing a danger to yourself, it's better this way," he says with a laugh. "I'd rather be busy than not."

Next up: filming TNT's new series, Rizolli & Isles, back playing an FBI agent, and gearing up to promote the dark comedy with Nicolas Cage, Drive Angry, in which Burke plays a cult leader. The character is a mix of "Jim Jones, Jim Morrison and a little Louis Cypher," says Burke, who wore prosethetic nails this go-around.

Working with Cage was up there.

"He's such a gentle, sweet guy who is genuinely interested in the outcome of the movie," says Burke, whose teen fans seem to be rubbing off on him. "It was dope."

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