Girls shrieking Michael Welch’s name is nothing new.
The 22-year-old actor, who plays Bella’s lovestruck classmate (also coincidentally named Mike), appeared at a fan meet-and-greet at the Gusman Theater Saturday night.
“Mike! Mike! Mike!”
No one seemed to care that his role is pretty minor; you would have thought Taylor Lautner or Edward Pattinson were in the house.
“I’ve gotten to know the fans quite well over the past two years,” said the hunky blond. “Nice, good folks. I think it’s great. You really do get a sense of not only the large cultural impact but also how this is affecting people individually. You get to absorb some of that.”
At the recent Los Angeles premiere, Welch — who costarred in TV’s Joan of Arcadia — really saw how hopelessly devoted they are.
“People were camping for a week on the street. It’s insane,” he said, adding, “It’s crazy to get to be a part of something that creates that kind of passion and that kind of joy in people.”
But Welch can understand why the movie is such a hit.
‘‘The element that really is the hook to me is that idea of eternal teenage love — that feeling of being in love at 16 or 17 years old, when it’s hormonal and impractical,” he said. ‘‘Becoming a vampire, you stay that age forever.”