Off the set, "I drive a hybrid. It's an Escalade hybrid, but it's a hybrid," says Billy Burke. But in the new NBC drama "Revolution," premiering Sept. 17, he's not driving any vehicle at all. The series takes place 15 years after a sudden, global electricity shutdown, creating a new Dark Age, literally. Burke, best known as Charlie in the "Twilight" movies and recent recurring roles on "The Closer" and "Rizzoli & Isles," leapt at the chance to play Miles, the anti-hero at the center of the action-adventure.
Although a lifelong fan of the genre, "I have never been given the opportunity to do things like that. I've been hanging around a long time, doing a lot of stuff, and I've been very grateful for it. But presented with this, it was the biggest gift I'd been given in a very long time. So couldn't be happier about it," he says. The role required more physical preparation than he was accustomed to. "This was the only thing that was ever gonna get me in a gym, and it did. After we shot the pilot and found out we got picked up, I immediately started training with our stunt coordinator, Jeff Wolfe, who did a lot of the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies. He's an amazing stunt coordinator and choreographer, and he's been there shepherding us throughout the process. And the good thing about it is it's fun, so we get to go there every day and have a good time doing it."
Burke grew up in Bellingham, Wash., "wanting to get out. I've visited several times since I left. It's a beautiful place. The Pacific Northwest is always going to be home to me. But I was a kid growing up in a small town just wanting to see the rest of the world," he says. He spent time there over the last few years making the "Twilight" movies, the last installment of which, "Breaking Dawn Part 2," is due out Nov. 16. Now that it's coming to an end, "I'm neither happy nor sad about it. It was what it was, it was great while we were doing it and it really opened a lot of doors for me. I had a great time playing that guy but all things come to an end sometime. There were moments that were bittersweet when we were shooting the last one," he confides, adding that he pretty much stayed out of the hoopla surrounding the movies. "I made no secret about having never read the books and was oblivious to a lot of things that were going on, just like the character. I just went along for the ride."
As for what he'd do if a technology blackout happened for real, and what he'd miss most, "I consider myself old‑school. I could probably get along without a cell phone," he muses. "I guess it would be the razor that keeps my face at this length."