Since the release of the first film, the Twilight phenomenon has just continued to grow exponentially. With the highly anticipated final installment, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, hitting theaters on November 16th, fans will finally get to see the conclusion of the romantic epic that has entranced millions worldwide.
At the film’s L.A. press junket, author/producer Stephenie Meyer, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and producer Wyck Godfrey talked about their reaction to Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) vampire effects, the changes made that deviate from the book, balancing the humor with the serious nature of what’s going on in the story, how they felt about the effects for Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), what the last day of shooting was like, and how Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson handled playing parents. Stephenie Meyer also talked about what she’ll be focused on next, whether she’d ever consider doing more stories about other characters in the Twilight universe, and if she’d ever be willing to let other people give their take on the characters, in some form. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
In addition, we posted 6 clips and over five minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the final Twilight film. Also, here’s our coverage of the Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Michael Sheen and the Taylor Lautner press conferences.
Question: Stephenie, now that you’ve seen all of your characters assembled together, across that vast battlefield, who was closest to what you saw in your head, when you were writing the books?
STEPHENIE MEYER: I think Lee Pace (as Garrett) actually stood out as someone who really was just so much fun and really looked the part. MyAnna [Buring] was really great as Tanya. She fit, very nicely. There were actually quite a few. And Valorie [Curry] as Charlotte, looked really great. There were a lot. They did a really good job of matching the descriptions this time.
What was your reaction to seeing Bella’s vampire effects, in this film?
WYCK GODFREY: It’s interesting with effects. You start by seeing very, very rough concepts, so you get into the process of giving notes, giving notes, giving notes. Almost by the time that they’re finished in the movie, you’re at that point going, “They look good to me, but I can’t remember what it felt like the first time I saw them.” I really liked the way Bill [Condon] handled her shield. I thought that that was a subtle effect, but it was visually representing what we needed to have it represent in the movie. All in all, when you’re standing on set in Louisiana, in a giant stage with nothing but fake white snow on the ground, it’s hard to imagine that it’s ultimately going to look like this battlefield for the meeting that Stephenie described. I think we’re really happy with the way that part turned out.
MEYER: When you talk about Bella as a vampire, the effects we first saw weren’t anything, but the performance was really marked from the first time she put in the contacts. The Christmas scene was actually the first time we got to see her. I know I was nervous because I was like, “Is it going to be different? Is it going to feel like something new?” I was so impressed with her. I remember that we were standing around the monitors doing very quiet happy dances. She was really awesome. That part was really pronounced, from the very beginning.
Can you talk about the changes made that deviate from the book?
MEYER: When Melissa and I sat down and were first talking about, “Are we going to make Breaking Dawn into a movie? Will it be one or two? What are we going to do?” And we knew the end would be something we had to be cracked. We sat there and hashed it out and came up with something that, in a way, I feel is off screen in the novel because we only see what Bella sees. This was just a way of making visual what some of the other characters might have been seeing. It does feel very surprising. Watching it, I still have that moment where I go, “Oh, right, we did that, didn’t we?!” There’s definitely something new to see, but to me, it doesn’t feel like it’s going hugely off the page, at all.
MELISSA ROSENBERG: I remember that moment. That was one of my most fond memories, sitting in that steak house going, “I don’t know how to do this. Should we do it? I don’t even know. How do you make a cinematic ending without violating the storytelling of the book?” And then, we just hit on it, kind of at the same time, over these juicy steaks. One of the exciting moments for writers is that moment of inspiration, and we shared that, in that moment. We were like, “This is a movie! We can do this!”
When is the best time of day for you to write?
MEYER: That actually is one of my huge challenges right now because I write best at night, no question. I can focus. You know you’re not getting any phone calls, I can shut everything down, and I’m just more creative at night. My kids get up really early. They get up really, really early for school, so right now, I’m trying really hard to write during the day and I’m not very good at it. It’s like one word, every 15 minutes. It’s driving me crazy! So, that’s something I’m trying to get better at.
After all of this, what will be next for you?
MEYER: It’s hard even to think beyond the next couple of days, actually. It feels like this is a really big hurdle or ending, or whatever it is. When I’m done with that, (the theatrical release for) The Host is in progress and moving along. That’s my next exciting thing.
There is a lot of humor in this film. How did you balance that humor with the serious nature of what’s going on in the story?
MEYER: I don’t know. I feel like humor is a part of life. I don’t think it comes through as much in the novels as it does in my head. Pretty much everything is tongue-in-cheek in my head. But, I love that there’s more humor coming through [in the films]. Bill Condon has a natural touch for bringing that out, and the scripts were funny.
ROSENBERG: The characters lent themselves to that. Breaking Dawn 1 was a very emotional story, but this one starts moving into action and is a much bigger story. You have all these characters that were created in the book, and they’re fun. The character of Garrett, played by Lee Pace, is someone who you can just throw lines at. You want that back-and-forth. It’s in keeping with the pace of the action of the movie.
MEYER: I thought Taylor [Lautner] really emerged. He’s got some good comedy in him. I love watching him when he’s doing funny. I’d like to see him do that again.
GODFREY: Start writing!
MEYER: Hey, I’m not the only one who can write movies for Taylor, okay?
After initially wondering whether or not you’d even be able to portray Renesmee properly, how did you feel about the final result?
MEYER: That was a really big discussion, early on, and Wyck was a big part of trying to figure out, “Can we make this look good?” We looked at younger actresses, but you needed this person who could have meaningful conversations with her parents and who we would believe in these really hard scenes. It didn’t take them too long to convince me that they would just age her up faster. And then, after we saw Mackenzie [Foy], for me and Bill, it wasn’t a question anymore. We were like, “This is how it’s going to be done. We’re going to do it with Mackenzie, in whatever way we have to.” The emotion is there. It’s an interesting thing for me to look at it because I’ve seen the man behind the curtain. You get a little distracted by, “Oh, is that the robot hand?”
GODFREY: Because Renesmee is supernaturally wise, in some ways, having an actress who’s nine playing all of the articulations of Renesmee, from looking six months old until 10, was great because we could do performance capture with her and de-age her onto the proper scale that we needed to. But, it was challenging. It was one of the most challenging aspects of this movie.
MEYER: Oh, I think so. Absolutely!
Stephenie, when you went to bed one night and had this vivid dream about these two characters that you couldn’t get out of your head, did you ever feel like you were being visited?
MEYER: I think inspiration probably always feels like that. Sometimes ideas feel like they were already there, and that you’re just discovering them. So, I don’t know that I thought of it that way, but it definitely was a much more persistent idea than many I had had before. It was something that I was just wrapped up in and intrigued with. It was a really great summer. It was probably one of the best summers of my life, when I got to just live in Forks, for the first time.
How long did you deny their voices, before you committed them to paper?
MEYER: It was not 15 minutes. My babies were little then and my memory was trash. I enjoyed that little story in my head so much. I woke up from it and sat there and imagined the conversation, how it would have gone and what would have happened next. And then, I thought, “I’m going to forget this by tonight.” So, as soon as the kids were fed, I started typing it out, just to help me remember. It was pretty instantaneous.
Stephenie, Edward spends the series resisting the idea of turning Bella, but it turns out to be a pretty awesome thing for her. Do you think there’s any downside to being a vampire, in this universe?
MEYER: With Edward, I think he resists happiness a lot, in the first three books. He’s afraid that he doesn’t deserve it. He’s seen a few examples of people being turned into vampires and not being very happy with it, and he’s not entirely happy with it himself. He always feels like he didn’t have a choice. He wonders, “Is he now, by definition, a villain and a bad person?,” and he doesn’t want Bella to feel that way. In retrospect, it works great for her and she’s perfectly happy, and if he would have known it would go so well, he probably would not have been so resistant. But, he’s a very cautious person. Becoming a vampire is forever. You don’t get to change your mind about it later. For me, I think that’s one of the big drawbacks with anything that’s permanent. How do you know how you’re going to feel in five years or 10 years? Even with a tattoo. The things that I loved 10 years ago, I’m really glad I did not tattoo on my body ‘cause I don’t want them now. So, permanence is a very scary thing to me, along with things that don’t change at all.
What do you see vampirism as a metaphor for?
MEYER: Vampirism, for me, was a way to live in fantasy and have superpowers, but not just in a really perfect, happy, everything is great way. It’s superpowers with a cost. It’s having to be the villain, and what do you do about that.
What was the last day of shooting like, for you guys?
MEYER: The last day of shooting was great. The last day was when we were in St. Thomas.
GODFREY: Yeah, that took the cake. We finished the entire series of movies in St. Thomas, on a beach, as dawn broke. It was pretty great. It was just Rob [Pattinson] and Kristen [Stewart] and a small crew, shooting that midnight swim. And then, we all got to hang out for a few more days.
MEYER: We had a really great time! It was a really nice ending because there were just a few of us and we all got to hang out and be very relaxed, since we knew it was over. It was a beautiful way to end filming a movie. All movies should end in St. Thomas.
Stephenie, would you ever consider doing a story about Jacob and Renesmee’s children?
MEYER: I had planned out where it would go, for a couple more books, so I know exactly what would happen. There are other characters that I think would have had a lot of voice, in those coming stories. I don’t know. Maybe someday I’ll write it out, just for myself. We’ll see. It was fun! It’s hard, right now. I’ve been asked if the actors had gotten into my head, as the characters. While I was writing Breaking Dawn, they hadn’t because I had written a rough draft of that so much earlier, long before they were cast. But now, they are in my head when I work on the stories. It’s hard for me to disassociate, and that does feel like it’s a little corrupted. It makes it more difficult.
Will we ever see any of those characters again?
MEYER: I don’t know. Like I said, I’m not into permanence, so I wouldn’t say no absolutely. I’m not going to do it today, but I don’t know how I’m going to feel in five years.
GODFREY: We keep sending her the George Lucas press releases.
MEYER: Star Wars 7.
Stephenie, as a mom, how do you feel about the portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship between Bella and Renesmee, and what do you think of the performance that Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson gave as the parents?
MEYER: For people who have never been parents, they were impressive. Before we ever got to set, Kristen had already put herself in that mind-set. She and Mackenzie had a really great relationship. It was funny ‘cause she would go to Bill, all the time, and say things like, “I should be looking at Renesmee, in this scene. I need to be focused and oriented around her.” She was just the mother bear. She was such a protective, all-consumed mother, and I thought that came through really well. And Rob had the easy-going dad thing. Whenever they were together in a scene, he and Mackenzie are laughing about something. It’s really, really sweet. And Mackenzie is the most lovable kid, in the whole world. I think all of us, on set, naturally just wanted to hang out with her and bond with her. She was very easy to love. I think she made it easy for both Kristen and Rob to feel that way about her.
Stephenie, would you ever be willing to let other people play in the Twilight universe and tell other stories? Are you willing to let that world open up for other creators to mess around in?
MEYER: I don’t know. I’ve been pretty hands on. It’s a hard thing. I’m going to be the same way when my kids go off to college. I am a hands on mom, and these characters really do feel like my kids, in some ways. It’s hard to have them doing things that don’t sound like them. Not with the movies, but with some other things, I’ve seen other people’s versions of what the characters speak like and it just doesn’t seem right. So, I don’t know if that would ever be something that I’d be fine with. Again, in 10 years, who knows?
Wyck, you’ve mentioned that you were working with Rob Pattinson on something that he’s written. Is that still in the works?
GODFREY: Let’s stay focused on this. For all of us, we love all the actors we’ve had the opportunity to work with and are always looking for other opportunities for them, both from a studio standpoint and as producers and writers.
Other franchises have gone on to do things for the fans, like prop and costume displays, once the films have wrapped. Have you given any thought to doing something like that?
MEYER: You’d need the marketing team in here for that question. These people make movies from the beginning, and then their job is done.
Melissa, how did you develop the character of Alistair (Joe Anderson) for the film?
ROSENBERG: I followed the guide of the book. Alistair, in the book, serves [the role of the doubter], very much so. It’s a great counter-balance to a lot of the characters who are gearing up to fight, and then you have this naysayer in the background who’s constantly reminding us that this isn’t just some fun fight fest. This is death, and he’s certain it will end badly. As played by Joe Anderson, the character is delicious, and it’s also where we get some of the humor from.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 opens in theaters on November 16th. Click here for all our previous coverage.