“Auuuugh! This is sooo weird,” cries Kristen Stewart. It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon in San Diego, and the 21-year-old actress is tucked into a sofa beside Twilight Saga costar (and never-confirmed-but-obvious boyfriend) Robert Pattinson, 25. The actors, along with Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) — the director of the final two installments of the franchise, Breaking Dawn—Part 1 and 2 (in theaters Nov. 18, 2011, and November 2012) — are relaxing with coffee in a quiet hotel suite after a busy Comic-Con morning. Or at least they were till Entertainment Weekly started reading aloud from Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn, 2008 best-seller that’s the basis for the two movies. “It’s just so strange, I can’t get over it,” Stewart says of hearing the words she guesses she’s read “thousands” of times, now that production on both parts of Breaking Dawn has wrapped.
But if you want to talk strange, just consider what takes place in the upcoming movie: Bella and Edward’s long-awaited wedding and (even longer-awaited) passionate honeymoon consummation; Bella’s pregnancy with half-vampire baby, who grows at an accelerated rate and puts her life in danger; Jacob’s mysterious relationship with the unborn baby; and an entirely gruesome and bloody birth that results in Bella’s death (sorta). So we asked Condon, Stewart, and Pattinson to listen to the words that began it all, and to share their thoughts and feelings — no matter how weird they may be.
But I tore my eyes from the bowery canopy and searched across the rows of satin-draped chairs — blushing more deeply as I took in the crowd of faces all focused on me –until I found him at last, standing before an arch overflowing with more flowers, more gossamer.
Bill Condon: Kristen has this list. (Turns to Kristen) I don’t know if you highlighted things in the script or anything, but it was like, “These are the scenes I’m afraid of.”
Kristen Stewart: I didn’t highlight them, I just knew.
Condon: I never quite gotit. I had my own scenes I was afraid of — like how do you do a scene with 27 vampires in a room this big? — but the wedding wasn’t one of them. But then I understood it. It was that responsibility of being able to express everything that Bella feels.
Stewart: That whole part of the book is something that I read thousands of times. It was oddly emotional the first time I got to set and saw everything and everybody.
Robert Pattinson: Yeah, you were really sweet when you first showed up.
Stewart: Oh, shush.
Pattinson: I did my scenes first. And I was looking at you, and you kind of didn’t want anyone to see your face. It was funny, I could see her getting sort of emotionally affected by it and I almost didn’t want to stay at the end of the aisle. I wanted to go down and say, “Stop being ridiculous.” (Laughs)
Stewart: I wanted to run down the aisle. I was literally pulling away from Billy (Burke, who plays her father). Now it’s a trip to watch the wedding scenes especially. It was so volatile and emotional — I was being such a crazy person.
What had happened to me? I count make sense of the fluffy white snow that clung to my skin. I shook my head, and a cascade of white drifted out of my hair. I pinched one soft white bit between my fingers. It was a piece of down. “Why am I covered in feathers?”
Condon: What you just read follows them just starting to kiss in the water. Basically there’s a big fade-out in between.
But you decided to put in an actual sex scene.
Condon: Oh, yes.
Stewart: Imagine if you didn’t? Oh my goodness, no way. Of course we had to have that.
And the feathers, of course, are important because Edward rips the pillows apart in the heat of passion.
Pattinson: I wanted to have it as a line so much. (in an American/Edward accent) “I bit through all the pillows. Every. Single. One.” And then he’d start crying. By the way, that’s what he should be ashamed of in the morning. All those beautiful pillows! Egyptian cotton! (Laughs) “I ruined this bed!”
Bella Chooses Life
Edward had just called my little nudger a thing. He said Carlisle would get it out. “No,” I whispered. I’d gotten it wrong before. He didn’t care about the baby at all. He wanted to hurt him.
Pattinson: It shows a little negative part of Edward’s character. He deals with it in such a thoughtless way, and he lets his fear turn into anger. It was quite nice to play.
Condon: And one of your strongest moments in the movie, too.
Both characters suddenly act differently than they ever have before.
Pattinson: They shock each other. For a saga which is about eternal, undying love that nothing can touch, suddenly —
Stewart: There’s one thing that can. That was fun to play. Bella’s always liked him and liked everything he said and thought everything he did was right. This is something that she clearly disagrees with. She doesn’t mindlessly and blindly follow him. She was always kind of defiant. I like that.
Here is where the movie takes a darker turn, right?
Condon: Absolutely. You’re sort of desperate for it. Because you’ve got the wedding and the honeymoon, but there’s no conflict. Suddenly this happens, and Rob says, “Get that thing out of you.” All you have is one line, and that’s the rest of the movie. It’s right in that moment.
Jacob Watches Bella Drink
Bella shoved the straw between her lips, squeezed her eyes shut, and wrinkled her nose. I could hear the blood slopping around in the cup again as her hand shook. She sipped at it for a second, and then moaned quietly with her eyes still closed.
This is where Bella only wants to spend time with Jacob — because, as we later learn, her baby is already drawn to him.
Condon: It’s like watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and the snakes are coming and there’s no way to get out. How is she going to get out of this (love) triangle? It seemed impossible to figure out any way in which Jacob wouldn’t be the loser. And then this other idea comes in. It’s definitely weird, but it’s clever. He always loved that baby and the baby always loved him.
Stewart: I just get goose bumps!
Pattinson: I have to say, it is pretty creepy. (Laughs)
Stewart: But that’s why I loved playing up those moments. I savor all those creepy bits. Like when Jacob sits down on the couch and is like, “Don’t look at me like that.” She can’t help it.
Pattinson: Oh! I didn’t even think about it the other way around as well (that the unborn baby is causing Bella to want to spend time with Jacob). Because I was like, What the fuck is this scene? This is insane. I would have broken up with you ages ago.
Stewart: Dude, don’t you remember you’re listening to us yell at each other (later)? Jacob says, “Didn’t you want me around all the time?” And I’m like, “Yeah,” and he says, “Aren’t those feelings gone now?” And I’m like, “Long gone.”
Pattinson: Ohhhhh, yeah.
Stewart: (Gesturing to Pattinson) He’s lying. He knows all of this, he’s forgotten it!
Pattinson: Oh, shush. (Laughs) Look, there are a lot of moments when Edward sort of acts like a pussy. I mean, throughout the whole series.
Stewart: (Laughs) You can quote him on that.
Pattinson: I’m sitting next to you and I’m like, “My wife is dying. I have completely fucked my life up and hers,” and JAcob’s like (to Bella), “Hey, baby, you don’t look too bad to me.” And I’m just sitting there, like, with a bucket collecting (Bella’s) vomit.
Stewart: (Laughs) That’s literally what he’s doing.
Pattinson: That really wouldn’t happen. I should have thrown the vomit at him.
Stewart: Now that I’ve seen parts of it, Jacob and Bella’s chemistry in this movie is better than it’s ever been.
Pattinson: (Faux-glares at Stewart) So uncool.
Condon: The last scene we filmed was the dance scene between JAcob and Bella at the wedding. The last shot is Jacob leaving. I called “Cut!” and then Kristen yelled, “Jacob!” and hiked up her dress and started running after him into the woods, saying, “Come back! Don’t leave me!”
Pattinson: That was one of the funniest things as well, leading Bella (out to dance with Jacob). Edward is an incredibly strange character, the more I think about it. That was one of those things that I had absolutely no idea how to play.
Condon: But you played it great!
Stewart: (to Pattinson) You had all these stimulations! You were like, “I need to play it liked this and this and that’s it.”
You were looking out for Edward.
Pattinson: Yeah, ’cause I don’t want him to look like an idiot. There’s certain things…like when Jacob grabs her arms and won’t let go. And that’s at our wedding, before I’ve even danced with her! If that was reality, being a good man at that moment is going up and kicking the guy’s ass so hard that he won’t come back.
Stewart: If that had happened in this story it would feel so wrong.
Pattinson: Edward has a lot more foresight than the average person, which is one of the most heroic things about him. He also knows he’s going to turn her into a vampire, so it’s like, “You’re going to be screwed in a couple of weeks, buddy! Try and hit on her all you want!”
The End/The Beginning
The next sound jolted through me, un expected, terrifying. Like metal being shredded apart. The sound brought back the fight in the clearing so many months ago, the tearing sound of the newborn (vampires) being ripped apart. I glanced over to see Edward’s face pressed against the bulge. Vampire teeth — a surefire way to cut through vampire skin.
Pattinson: Yup, we did that.
Stewart: (to Condon) Did you put the sound effect in?
Stewart: I can’t wait to listen for it.
Pattinson: That was a fun conversation that day with Stephenie (Meyer). Trying to figure out the mechanics: What am I actually chewing through?
Stewart: Oh, yeah, we had a whole conversation about that.
Was this birthing one you looked forward to shooting?
Condon: Yeah, it actually was. That was the real horror. Weren’t those couple of nights amazing? Everything about it felt so real. It gave everyone kind of a boost.
Stewart: It was like, We’re doing a fucking crazy movie, actually.
Pattinson: Especially ’cause that could have ended up being the most ridiculous scene. I remember going into it thinking, Oh, boy, this is going to be something.