The fans who lined up over the weekend to see “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” — and there were a lot of them, considering that the fourth installment in the franchise adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling young-adult novels raked in an estimated $139.5 million — witnessed some pretty radical upheaval in the lives of young Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire beau Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
The couple marries, and during a romantic honeymoon getaway, they finally consummate their relationship. But Bella unexpectedly becomes pregnant and fights to carry the child to term, though the fetus is seemingly incompatible with her body.
To depict the great physical toll the pregnancy takes on Bella’s body — she’s unable to eat and essentially is withering away as her stomach swells — the “Breaking Dawn” filmmakers looked to Lola Visual Effects, the company responsible for downsizing muscular Chris Evans to a pre-transformation weakling in this summer’s comic book superhero film “Captain America.” The results are certainly eyebrow-raising, with Bella becoming increasingly pale and extremely gaunt.
“The idea was to leave you with a question mark about how they did it,” said the film’s director, Bill Condon. “We wanted you to think it was possible that Kristen actually lost a lot of weight for it.”
The visual-effects team added prosthetics to Stewart’s face (a process that took three hours of application) to make her eyes look more sunken and her ears larger. Stewart likened wearing the prosthetics to having a “big, skinny head” for the scenes. Still, the 21-year old actress was game for the transformation.
“I’m so happy that they were not afraid of it — to have your main character look so awful for half of the movie is a bold choice for a huge film,” Stewart said. “It was the one thing I wasn’t fully responsible for concerning Bella and it made me really nervous. I didn’t know what it would look like until I saw the movie.”