Q: What was it like entering this big franchise?
Bill: I wanted to put my take on the material, but still please the fans and still have a cinematic experience. Making two films wasn’t fun either. Kidding, it was fun. But it was hard. But people like Kristen had days where she’d be a vampire in the morning, pregnant in the afternoon, dead at night. It was difficult some days.
Question: Music has always been a huge part of the Twilight series. With Christina Perri’s music video, what sort of decisions or influences went into the decision process?
Bill: it starts right from the beginning. Music is part of the way of telling the story. It’s very up front in this movie. There’s a moment when bella finds out she’s pregnant. Bella leaves the room, but there’s a moment where she falls in love with her baby. It was designed to be accompanied by a song. We get a ton of material submitted to us. We’re listening to all these incredibles songs. A combination of me and my assistance, we cull through all this stuff. Then there’s a moment we hear a song and believe it’s perfect. What I’m trying to say is I tried to make room for these songs where they play an up front role in the film.
Question: When did the cast give you enlightenment? And what about having Meyer there?
Bill: the first people who arrived were Rob, Kristen, and Taylor. We just sat in a room talking about every page through the script. They showed a tremendous amount – when an actor embodies a role you’ll know it more than they ever will. I met with Rob a couple months before we started. We were just having a general talk about Twilight. He mentioned something I hadn’t known before. He’d been a playing a men who was full of regret and who was self loathing. Because of an episode where he broke away from the Cullen family (the early 30s in Chicago) where he’d explore what it’d be like to kill human beings.Rob thought it was a killed that played on Edward, but it was never played in the movies. There was Midnight Sun where it’s really explored. SO we had a conversation about that, I worked with Melissa, and we put it into the beginning of the movie. We understood where Edward was coming from. So things like that, so much comes out of those types of meetings.Working with Steph was incredible. Before we met her we’d be on Twilight LExicon because they had better timelines than we did. But having Steph was incredible, she was there to help us out.
Question: From philosopher (i think?) to filmmaker? How does that happen?
Bill: When I went to college I decided to expand outside of philosophy. I had the analytic skills to be a screenwriter. The things you learn in philosophy give you a certain kind of rigger. As soon as I graduated I started pursuing movies.
Question: Was the chemistry something you felt when you met them?
Bill: We started filming in Brazil. They were staying on the beach, and then downstairs there people all the time and they couldn’t leave their room. It amazed me how gracious they were all the time. I kind of understood it was part of the interest. Generally, one thing that’s so exciting is.. you work on every decision and it’s going to be studied and reacted to by a large group of people. We haven’t seen a screening with big crowds of people, except for last night. Rob and Kristen are so relaxed in the acting – it’s something they don’t even have to act.
Question: Filming in Vancouver, using it to stand in for Forks.
Bill: The exciting thing here is.. the Cullen house is where much of Part 1 takes place, and a lot of Part 2. Twilight it was on location, New Moon/Eclipse it was on a soundstage, in Breaking Dawn we made it in nature in Vancouver. We were able to build it with scope and beauty. We spent 4 months in Baton Rogue. It was all green screen all the time there. I can’t describe to you that day.. I knew the house so well. And then arriving there in Vancouver, and stepping on the exact same set, except it was in nature. It was so stunning and odd. As for the story telling, I”ll give you an example. Arina shows up at the wedding which doesn’t happen in the book and then storms off because she has a huge backstory with Laurent who had been killed by wolves trying to save Bella. That, she plays a big part in movie 2. But as opposed to “oh god why is she there” you want everything to happen in the present tense. And that was one of our principals when we adapted it. “Let’s make sure we can just show things and not talk about them.”
Question: The humorous elements.. there are so many serious topics but then there were many funny/light scenes. Talk about the decision to incorporate that.
Bill: The toast, early on it was something with the book. It was something that represented the wedding. I felt god that’d be such a great way to capture everything that’s awkward and weird about weddings. And these characters, when you’ve got Billy Burke. Melissa went and wrote those and I thought they were great. The scene with Bella – the shaving the leg and all that – you want to connect to always what Bella is feeling. And that incredible anxiety that anyone would feel, you can’t help but make it funny.
Question Once of the big differences with the Twilight film vs your other films.. it embraces a lot of melodrama.
Bill: I enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of classic hollywood genres. It allows you to immerse yourself in immersion, and do it with camera, music, design, and color. I very much embraced it. It’s a valuable genre. It often puts women and womens’ concerns in the center, that’s too bad. But I was excited by a melodrama.
Question: How did you keep the two films separate? A schedule?
Bill: We didn’t. I put my script together, it was a 220 page script. Part 2 begins the *moment* when Part 1 begins. We found the right place to end the first one. There were days when, again, Kristen’s a vampire in the morning and pregnant and dying in the afternoon. Poor Kristen had to make their shifts all the time.
Question: How’d she get so thin?
Kristen? She lost some weight, makeup, and a little bit of digital effects.
Question: Have you considered spinning off the Twilight franchise past Breaking Dawn?
Bill: I didn’t, but people have always asked. I think as I understand it, the story as told from Bella’s point of view is certainly completed. Whether Stephenie will show it from other points of view – I don’t know.
Question: I think it’s great how tune you are with all of the fans. This is for them. We heard it was originally rated R?
Bill: It wasn’t really rated R. They didn’t rate it. They told us we weren’t hitting PG 13 yet. It’s a very clinical thing. They have very specific guidelines for ratings. Because it’s so subjective they have very specific guidelines. I had to be critical but.. thrusting, intercourse. There was never explicit. It’s not very different from what you see. Any movement was what was considered not appropriate. Because of the popularity of Twilight it had a bigger focus.
Question: Rob jokingly blamed Kristen.
Bill: Well, Rob’s right. (laughter)
Question: There’s a huge number of new vampires. Talk about casting them?
Bill: We get a great preview of the new vampires in Part 1, the Denali clan. You wanted three actors who had a slightly other world quality, and I think they do. It was very fun casting them.
Question: Talk about shooting in Brazil.
Bill: We started on the honeymoon in Brazil. I found it great. The crew was great, we had some weather problems.. got rained in and had to sleep in bathtubs in the honeymoon house. But everything about it was magical. We were five hours outside of Rio, and we had to write a boat into the set every day.
Question: What will the younger fans think about this film? It jumped straight into pretty adult stuff.
Bill: I think the younger readers have grown up too. These concerns are not the same concerns when she moved out of Arizona. We always talked about.. if we take vampires and werewolves out, what is this about? It’s a true love story. Waking up every morning.. at least, one of them is waking up.
Question: Can you talk about cast management? How do you give all the characters a chance to shine?
Bill: It’s interesting. I remember we’d have scenes with the Cullens, and I had 8 people and I thought “oh great this is an easy day.” There were some days we had 27 people in the room and it was insane. It’s important everyone have their moment to define who they are. We gather all these vampires from around the world and we need to show who each of them are and what their powers are. We had Stephenie there – she helped with details that weren’t even in the book. But that was the challenge.
Question: Can you talk about the last day of shooting?
Bill: That was the almost last day. The last day was the middle of April and it snowed. It was hard to shoot in Vancouver. There were two big moments. One was the dance between Kristen and Taylor, and Rob stayed for the whole thing. It ended at dawn. Everyone got emotional and Kristen cut it with a joke. Because the last take.. high shot.. I call cut.. she starts running in the wedding dress and starts yelling “Jacob come back come back I’ve made a mistake!” (laughter) it was great. And then that whole moment when Alice and Jasper were dancing. But EVERYONE was there. We called cut and everyone hugged each other. It was great.
Question: Have you ever offered any guidance as a mother to Kristen, Stephenie?
Stephenie: She didn’t need much guidance. Her transformation was cool. One day she’d be a vampire, the next pregnant, she did it so beautifully. She would come up to Bill and say “I need to look at my daught here,” etc. We all became Mackenzie’s (Renesmee’s) mom. Kristin got that instinct.
Question: What did you think of the birth scene, Stephenie?
Stephenie: I really liked it. It was something.. in the beginning when we developed the story, we weren’t sure if it’d be enough. The birth scene, we thought it would be a lot.. some people weren’t sure if it’d be climatic enough. With the birth scene you could tell it was so emotional. It was.. Edward is losing Bella, and Rob’s performance was so heartbreaking that I’m going to admit I teared up. Yes, there were tears because you looked at the idea of losing the thing most important to you. Bill has such a gift for that
Question: How do you feel that Kristen and Rob deal with the media scrutiny? How do you think they deal with it? Do you admire it?
Peter: I’ve been impressed. People ask if I give them advice, and I don’t because you have to go through it your own way. I don’t think they’ve changed who they are, they just have more people surrounding them. They haven’t changed and that’s nice to see.
Elizabeth: I agree. They had unusual challenges and I don’t think I could offer any advice. It’s really exciting that they’ve forgotten to play these roles, and carried us along with them.
Question: What props did you take or borrow from set?
Peter: I tried to take Carlisle’s ring. I said it wouldn’t come off my finger. And they tracked me down. They wanted to take a mold of it and sell it to the fans, I think. On the fourth one I asked to have one and I think i have one of the originals.
Jackson: I bought one of the Carlisle rings as soon as they came out (laughter)
Nikki: I’m a huge rule follower. So i was afraid of taking something and getting in trouble. They always find out. Kristen stole my sneakers in the baseball scene in the first movie. She came over to my house and said “hey they have two of these, you can have one.” They have all the mud on them so I never used ‘em.
Question: You’ve been playing Edward for 4 years, talk about the journey he’s taken through the series. And for yourself personally.
Rob: I think in the broadest terms, Edward’s journey.. I ignored the fact that he’s a vampire and that he’s 108, except for metaphorical purposes. You’re left with a troubled teenager. It’s a really simple story of him content with himself. He gets content by finding a woman and having a child. That’s how a lot of troubled guys balance themselves out? At least that’s the hope anyway.
Question: Bill mentioned that you said Edward was self loathing and it was never presented in the plot of the first three films.
Rob: I always thought that was the key ingredient. He’s been stuck in adolescence. You think everything’s unfair, he’s been living with it for 100 years. You eventually get to the point of desperation. it was difficult to portray that and a love story at the same time. It’s funny but Bill was the first person to say “I want to put this at the forefront” because Edward’s the happiest he’s been in the series. We did flashbacks that kind of reflect his anger.
Question: And your own personal journey?
Rob: It’s presented a whole variety of obstacles. Growing into who I want to be. It’s a very complicated maze. Also being propelled by some kind of jet, and going through the maze at the same time. It hasn’t slowed down and I’m still trying to figure out where I’m at. But it’s been fun. I didn’t even know if I was going to continue acting before this happened, and now I have more of a drive than ever before.
Question: What’s on your iPod right now?
Rob: I always sound so pretentious when I answer this. There’s this band called Pato (sp?). I Pianist called Arnold Dramale (sp?) I can’t remember anyone else, sorry… and Katy Perry! (laughter)
Question: Can you talk about your last moments of ever playing Edward?
Rob: She made a joke in the woods? Oh yeah, about running after Jake and saying she made a mistake. Yeah she’s done that throughout the series. The birth scene (talking about that now), I read that scene and was kind of astonished. I knew it was crazy but I couldn’t believe it was actually written down and we were going to do it. It was terrifying going into it. It ended up being this kind of – it was one of the most incredible scenes to do in this movie. There’s this R Rated – or NC 17 rated version of a few scenes in this movie. (laugh) Because of the violence, it gave you a lot of freedom in the scene. The characters were so desperate, it became something very very different. To do this thing where he’s suddenly playing Edward who’s stuck between an emaciated dummy’s legs, getting cream cheese all over your face, and then pulling out a three-week-old baby, it was overwhelming (laughin lots)
Question: last moments playing Edward?
Rob: The very last moments I was in the Caribbean, on the beach. It was incredible. It was the only time I did anything like that in the Twilight movie. The last scene with everyone.. it was 2 weeks of cold, end of night shoots. It was freezing cold, pouring rain. It was symbolic kind of how all the movies were shot (laughs). it doesn’t feel like the end of it yet. Also because the press tours have become so huge. This feels like part of the process. Until the last one’s released, I don’t feel like I’ve finalized anything.
Question: Have you ever had a super nervous/super happy moment in real life like Rob did in the wedding?
Rob: I can’t even think of one.. I was walking around in Paris the other day. Actually no, that’s a bad example. I can’t remember a specific example, sorry!
Question: You’ve done all these huge franchise films. What do you like doing really? The independent film? The big film? Gunning for Harrison Fords record of doing every franchise out there? What’s next for you?
Rob: I don’t know. I approach these moments the exact same way. Smaller movies are great because you don’t have to argue with so many people all the time. But really I like arguing so there’s a balance either way. With independent movies it’s nice to see – sorry, I just noticed your dog down there, I’m boring him to sleep (someone’s dog is here). Yeah, it’s nice to see someone directing who’s so pleased with it. He’s proved himself time and time again. I’ve never worked with someone who’sf elt absolutely no pressure. It’s nice that the pressure isn’t caused by compromises.
Question: You’ve talked about wanting to get back into music. Is that still a priority?
Rob: Yeah. I record stuff a lot but – there’s something about handling the criticism with movies, you can always blame it on someone else. But with music, you’re basically putting an album out for people to judge it. I don’t care what they say but the day it comes out I know I’ll look online to read reviews.
Question: You guys were immortalized earlier today. How do you feel about that?
Rob: I stayed at the Magic Castle the first few times I came to LA when I was like 17. I used to walk down to Hollywood blvd all the time and never knew it looked the way that it does. Honestly I don’t feel like I’ve even done it. It’s like this wave has happened and I’m just on it. I’ve never really had any kind of – I feel like now is all part of the same thing. I was kind of embarrassed because I stood up and messed up my own handprint! It’s incredible. It represents something amazing. It’s mind blowing.
Question: You guys experienced an extravagant wedding. Would you want one of those in your own life?
Rob: It does seem like a bit of a hassle. I was just doing an interview with Kristen. She got annoyed with me for saying the groom’s role in a wedding is just as a prop (laughter). Playing the part, you kind of realize it’s a clear indication when you’re staring at one end of the aisle and EVERYONE is looking at the girl coming down in a princess dress (laughs) it’s really just.. any guy who tries to get involved in a wedding, or has an opinion, … it’s whatever your wife decides a do.
Question: So that’s a no?
Rob: What doing a fancy one? No. That’s it for Rob, up next are Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner (separately)!
Question: What’s been your craziest fan encounter? And what’s happening next?
Taylor: That’s so tough to choose one. I don’t like using the word crazy. I like the word passionate. Kristen and I had a very interesting Brazil experience. It was out of control but amazing and there was a lot of passion. I’ve had a few girls – a tattoo, a picture of you, or a signature on their arm. That blows my mind. Something new happens every single day. You’d think we’d all get used to it and expect it but every time something happens we’re like “are you kidding me?” We wouldn’t be here promoting a movie if it weren’t for the passion.
Question: You look sane and normal today. What we had from Bill Condon you had a crazy life playing a virgin in the morning, delivering a baby in the afternoon, talk about the trials and tribulations? Also, Bella’s become a huge pop culture character. How does it compare to playing Snow White?
Kristen: Shooting two movies at the same time, with no regard to – it wasn’t something we were initially concerned about. Scheduling wise, it really was – EVERYWHERE in each day like Bill said. I think what that gave me was that – she’s thinking, she’s always looking into the future and what she’s going to achieve. Or she’s feeling bad about what she wants. She’s very much in her own head. Being able to play a vampire, a human, a pregnant woman – literally sometimes in the day.. it helped remind me that it all was equally important. Everything felt very close. If we did it more systematically, it wouldn’t have been the same. It was so overwhelming that it was a good thing. As for the iconic role, I guess the only actual comparison is that they really both are matriarchs. Very strong that need to find their position. But it’s so different (Snow White VS Bella). Snow White was really never.. I didn’t grow up on fairy tales. I didn’t grow up with Twilight.
Question: You’ve had success away from Twilight. How have you avoided being typecast?
Kristen: I’ve done pretty – the movies I’ve done in between, I”m really lucky they’ve been very different. Not just because I meant them to be. They just happened to be very attractive to me. Right now is the first time I haven’t worked and not known what I was going to be doing. I want to have time off to figure out what my interests are. I want to really figure out what I REALLY want to do.
Question: Drawn to low profile projects to avoid that kind of Twilight buzz?
Kristen: No, it has nothing to do with the profile.
Question: It looked like you lost a lot of weight when you were pregnant…
Kristen: Digital. We didn’t have time for me to do that for the role. That’s so cool that you believe it looks so genuine. I feared people wouldn’t like it. It did make me feel like, “UH i hope you guys do a good job making me look that thin!”
Question: What was going through your mind in the wedding scene?
Kristen: I had a million different things going through my head. I kept telling myself “stop stop stop” I can’t ruin it. I was so in the right place to do that I just needed to do it, stand there, walk, see everyone. I know the story so well. Remembering my lines is the last thing I think about. If you know a story so well, the lines just come out if someone asks you/provokes you in the right way. I kept telling myself to find myself in this moment.
Question: You Taylor and Rob have been this since the beginning. What do the guys bring to the experience?
Kristen: I had a million different things going through my head. I kept telling myself “stop stop stop” I can’t ruin it. I was so in the right place to do that I just needed to do it, stand there, walk, see everyone. I know the story so well. Remembering my lines is the last thing I think about. If you know a story so well, the lines just come out if someone asks you/provokes you in the right way. I kept telling myself to find myself in this moment.
Question: You Taylor and Rob have been this since the beginning. What do the guys bring to the experience?
Kristen: I couldn’t have done – I guess if you put different numbers in the equation you’ll get a different answer, but I can’t imagine doing this without Rob and Taylor. When I don’t see Taylor for a while, I go *gasp* and take your phone out. When you work with great people like him, you just love it. We got along and it shows.
Question: Fans tell me you inspire them to be theirselves. What do you think about that?
Kristen: I love that. I hate when people say “what advice do you want to give your fans?” oh god, I don’t even know how to explain this. People that I look up to.. you find people in life who have common interests.
Kristen: It’s hot in here. (lol)
Question: Rob made comments saying the wedding was practically real because you said real vows and you were pretty much married.
Kristen: (laughs) the priest couldn’t even remember the lines! He’d say our real names. Was he a real minister? I’d like to find out (laughs)
Kristen: This movie does have every mile stone. It crams a lot of milestones into one movie. It was a unique situation. All of the imposing elements. Every single time I think about this film, I think about a cat. In the corner. Claws out. Belly swollen. “Stay the F— away from me!” That’s how I relate to the scene….yeah, lots of milestones. Heavy heavy.
Question: What’s on your iPod right now?
Kristen: This is really hilarious. I’m doing Snow White right now. It’s really weird being here right now to be hoenst because I’m so involved in Snow White. Adele’s new album is honestly… I’ve choreographed whole marches with my army behind me. It’s really good for the Snow white story, almost too good for it. She’s incredible.My regulars.. everyone knows what I listen to already, it’s very boring.
Question: What part of Bella sticks with you?
Kristen: I don’t really.. I’m pretty wrapped up in her and vise versa. I’ve always felt you really project yourself onto that character. If you’re the type of girl to identify with Bella, you just are her. I’m asked “so how do you make her different?” i’m like “yeah but, I do feel like i am her. For her.. somehow i could not disagree with her ever, and I didn’t.” We’re pretty similar at times, but at times not. Hard to say.
Bill Condon discusses further details about things he incorporated into Breaking Dawn Part 1, including things that are not in the book and will appear in the film.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn director Bill Condon graciously took the time to talk to us about what’s on the mind of every Twilighter now that we’re nearing the final weeks before the film. He’s continued to remain tight-lipped about some details (which will make for a better moviegoing experience, of course) but he had much to say on the birth scene (his favorite), the highly anticipated wedding, as well as additional scenes from Edward’s point of view! Warning: This interview contains spoilers.
Fandango: Fans are really looking forward to the wedding, the honeymoon, the birth and Bella’s transformation scenes. What was your favorite to film and why?
Condon: They’re all really fun but I have to say the birth. There was something that happened on those nights, but specifically the first night – there was something electric about it, so intense. Kristen [Stewart] was so powerful. Obviously, it’s a very feverish scene with everybody kind of getting into that mode. It happens on a movie set sometimes. Everyone gets very hushed, and after and between the takes everyone’s walking around, whispering and not talking – it was one of those. Kristen didn’t get up. She was on that gurney and spent hours and hours there. That scene is the one I will remember more than anything.
Fandango: What is Irina doing at the wedding (as seen in movie photos)? That’s noticeably different from the book.
Condon: In that case, it’s just about good movie storytelling. Just imagine if she’s not there and then in the second movie, she shows up, sees Renesmee and freaks out. No one will know who she is. People will talk about who she is, as they do in the book. Or you’d be stuck with some clunky flashback. To make something really cinematic, you put it into the present tense. She doesn’t want to come, she’s convinced to come, she gets there, she sees something that upsets her and she leaves – so that you see, you experience what it is that’s bothering her. It’s because her problem with the Cullens is the lynchpin for the entire second movie. Part of it why it’s there has to do with servicing what’s going to happen in the first half hour of the second film.
Fandango: You mentioned that Kristen Stewart cried when she read the wedding part of the book. Why do you think it resonated so much, and what other parts resonated with you?
Condon: I think so much of it resonated because the stakes were so high. A wedding is always a really moving thing, but [Bella] is walking down that aisle knowing she’s never going to see her parents again. That’s the thing that I think adds this extra kick of emotion. It’s one thing to say goodbye to your dad and your mom and to thank them as you’re going off to your honeymoon, but when you know you’re going to be a vampire and never exist in [human] form again, it’s something else. I think that was a big one – just talking about the movie a while before we started. Forget about the vampires and werewolves and everything. What are the human challenges? One of them is that first difficult year of marriage. You’ve had the fantasy, you’ve had the dream, you’ve gotten your dream, now it’s a reality. Now you’re waking up with him or her every day. What adjustments do you have to make when you change this fantasy to reality? That’s an interesting human question. There’s a lot of resonant stuff through the book that was very real on that level.
Fandango: You’ve also said there’s going to be a choreographed dance number at the wedding.
Condon: It’s very brief, but absolutely! It was a lot of fun. All I can say is that Jackson [Rathbone] and Ashley [Greene] are incredibly good dancers. They should make musical films.
Fandango: Was it an actual musical number?
Condon: This is not a musical number on a stage or anything. This is just people dancing at a wedding, that’s all. It’s just that we had a choreographer to help us.
Fandango: How excited are you for fans to see the wedding scene? It must’ve taken high-security to keep the wedding dress from getting leaked.
Condon: I know! We’re three weeks out and it still hasn’t leaked. I’m so happy. Oh, I can’t wait. We’re going to have our premiere two weeks from Monday and I’m just so looking forward to being there with fans and just getting a sense of what they think. It is a challenge. There are other surprises in there too that we’ve been able to keep, but it’s harder to do it these days.
Fandango: This being a PG-13 film, how challenging was it to find the balance of being appropriate and yet sexy and romantic during the honeymoon scenes?
Condon: I think it was hard. I think the crucial thing was keeping it romantic because that’s what it’s about. You’ll see it’s done in a slightly different way. I don’t want to give it away. It’s in pieces, let’s say. You don’t get it all at once.
Fandango: We get so much of Bella’s and Jacob’s view in the last book, but what specific parts do we get to see more of Edward’s point of view?
Condon: There’s something that we put in there that’s referred to in an earlier book. We actually get to see Edward in his early life as a vampire and hear his thoughts about that. There’s a glimpse of him in Twilight describing how he got turned, how he got changed by Carlisle, but this is more extensive. I do think we get more inside Edward and he changes a lot, too. The wedding has an effect on him. There’s an aspect of self-loathing to him about what he did when he was a vampire [earlier] that he releases through Bella’s love. I think that’s a fun thing to watch.
Few directors can say they’ve made films back to back for a beloved franchise. It may be cost effective for most Hollywood studios, but it’s a rarity. This century we’ve had Peter Jackson’s three “Lord of the Rings” films, the Wachowskis’ “Matrix Reloaded” and “Matrix Revolutions” and, most recently, Gore Verbinski’s second and third “Pirates of the Caribbean” blockbusters. Jackson is currently at it again with two “Hobbit” features, but the latest filmmaker to join that exclusive club is none other than Academy Award winner Bill Condon. The man behind acclaimed films such as “Kinsey,” “Dreamgirls” and “Gods and Monsters” has jumped into the world of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” with “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1″ and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2.” The first of the films hits theaters next month and, not surprisingly, pre-release polling shows the interest in the lives of Bella and Edward Cullen hasn’t waned since “Eclipse” was released 16 months ago.
I first met Bill just a few weeks after he returned from Sundance and the premiere of “Gods and Monsters” (that was way back in 1998 for those of you playing at home). A lot has happened since then, but through a ton of success on the big screen and co-producing the best Oscar telecast over the last decade (no bias, it’s the truth), nothing may have prepared him for jumping on the “Twilight” train. With “Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1″ completed and only a few weeks away from opening, Bill was kind enough to jump on the phone this morning and chat about the ride so far.
Congratulations on finishing ‘Breaking Dawn, pt. 1′ Do you consider this the halfway mark?
Oh, easily, more than that because we shot both movies back to back. I’ve got a pretty good cut of the second movie so we’re in the good 3/4 plus mark. I started this with just outlines, so yeah, almost there.
You see yourself in the homestretch?
Most moviegoers and ‘Twilight’ fans wouldn’t realize that you’ve come from working on another movie where there was this hardcore fan base. On ‘Dreamgirls’ there was lots of pressure to get it ‘just right’ from fans. Did you take anything away from this before you worked on ‘Breaking Dawn’?
That’s a really interesting question and I suspect it’s part of the appeal of getting involved with this. When you work on something that does have a huge fan base there is the potential for a lot of pitfalls, but there is this incredible thrill of seeing that kind of movie with an audience. If you somehow connect to their dreams of what this could be were I think there is a special anticipation that you don’t get in an everyday moviegoing experience. I wonder, I hadn’t thought of that before, but that’s probably part of what turned me on about doing this. But, yeah, there is this sort of thing you have over your shoulder of trying to — you can only do it in your own way and your own take of what the material is, but because it means so much to so many people you hope you tap into the collective unconscious and visualize it in a way you might imagine it. Or sometimes different just as satisfying.
By the time this is over you will have made one long four-hour movie, perhaps over four hours?
I’m just curious, anyone can consult with other filmmakers who have made movies back to back or producers who have made films they knew were going to take six months to shoot and feature elaborate long editing process. At this point, however, has it been a tougher endeavor than you thought or easier?
I would say it’s right amount the middle of that. It is grueling to spend six months shooting, no question. But there wasn’t — people have wondered was it confusing to go back and forth shooting a scene one day between movie one and movie two, but it wasn’t because the second movie starts at the moment the first one ends. It’s one long movie, without end titles maybe one 3 1/2 hour movie. And that’s what I did early on. I put the two scripts together. So, it wasn’t about where a scene came from it was all this one continuous story I must say.
You’re talking about jumping between one movie and another did it make it hard to add things or be spontaneous on the set?
No, not at all. I think a lot of that happened. I did rehearse. I did talk about the script with the main actors for many, many weeks and certainly everybody else through their scenes, but you get on the set and, my god, an easy day was a scene with just nine vampires in it. Then there were the hard ones with 27 vampires, y’know? Certainly in those scenes with the Cullens, because of the challenge of having so many people who have so many important things to do, it was always like ‘How do we loosen this up? How do we remember that these people are real?’ So, that became a fun exercise on the set. You always have to be open to those moments, because those moments are the ones that become most memorable.
You talk about a scene where you have 27 vampires on set and I believe in the second movie there are more set pieces than in the first. Am I correct?
Yeah, I would say that’s true. Absolutely.
It’s funny, I think some fans would have had trepidation because some of your previous work doing ‘Dreamgirls’ or producing the Oscar telecast, but my guess would be, did those projects where you have such elaborate numbers or scenes that have to be worked out, did that make it easier for some of the action scenes in this film?
I think you’re probably right and it’s not just action. As anyone who has read the novel knows, we end up in a big set piece with maybe 27 or 30 vampires on one sided aided by a dozen or so wolves against 80 vampires on the other side in this big confrontation. It’s mostly a discussion, but many dramatic beats within that. And that was like staging a spectacle on a stage almost, because we shot that for a month and not even counting all the second unit stuff. The sense of spectacle and moving fluidly through that, I did feel like I was calling on my musical roots there.
Did you storyboard this movie out more than any you had before?
Yeah, well, it’s an effects movie. We have as many effects shots than ‘Avatar’ or more in the two movies. Especially with big things like the wolves or Renesme and everyone’s powers so it lead to a lot of pre-vizing [pre-visualization] too so that you really are getting a sense of what you need and what visual effects companies are going to be doing the work.
You actually haven’t had that many movies with a good deal of visual effects in them previously. Was that exciting to work on?
It was. Because, let’s face it, there is so much you can do now and I think our most spectacular effects I don’t think it’s even worth talking about before the movie opens, but it’s what happens to Bella in the last half of ‘Breaking Dawn, pt. 1′ and it’s just real. If you were making a real movie about a vampire pregnancy and there were no other vampires involved — if you were making ‘Rosemary’ Baby’ today — just the subtle things you can do to really communicate the sense of a body under attack and getting weaker and weaker? It’s extraordinary. So, learning this stuff has been one of the great joys of doing this movie.
So, something that would give any director pause would be the fact you’re the fourth director these actors have worked with. In TV, where directors come and go, you always hear the actor saying, ‘Eh, the director just tells me where to stand. I know the character.’ How open were the actors to actually taking more direction than you’d expect?
Well, I don’t know about more, but certainly exploring with me and they were incredibly open. Y’know, I keep calling this ‘Twilight grows up,’ but in a way it is. All of the characters take tremendous steps in this story and that’s part of what turned me on to the material, to collaborate with Kristen Stewart as she goes from being the Bella we know in the first three movies to being a bride, being someone who finally has sex, gets pregnant, gets sick, gives birth, dies, become a vampire, becomes a warrior? Just think of that journey. I guess for none of them it was just playing the same old thing. Jacob becomes a man in this movie. He moves away from being the third leg in a triangle and breaks free of that and his background and his family and his pack and becomes his own person. So, that was a journey all the actors were eager and open to collaborate on.
Was there any actor who surprised you?
I think people will be surprised by everybody. In general, Kristen has such a huge journey to take and to watch her become this fierce, protective, powerful mother figure? I think that will surprise people. Taylor surprised me with his commitment and the dark places he goes to in this movie. And Rob, I think there is some sense that he has relaxed into this part and finally willing to show more of himself. His own charm, wit and grace are in evidence in this movie. It surprised me in how relaxed he seemed in something he’s fought a little against before.
You mention you think of this as ‘Twilight grows up’ because of the events that take place in the film. Is there anything you did with the vampires or werewolves that reflects this as well? Are they more sinister or fearful?
I think certainly that really comes into play in the second movie. These movies so far have mostly dealt with these vegetarians who don’t attack humans except for some of the newborns in the last movie and some of the people in the first couple, but here it’s a collection from around the world of vampires with specific gifts. So, I think yes, there was a sense of maybe seeing a darker side of them. And I also think we spend a lot more time in the final movie with Arro and his more overtly sinister group of Volturi.
I think you know this, I was on the set of ‘New Moon’ when they shot those first scenes with Michael Sheen and the Volturi and it seemed at the time that it was the funniest thing to him. To be playing this character. Is he just having a ball when you work with him?
Yes, he is. That whole group. It’s interesting, because you spend chunks of time with just Rob, Kristen and Taylor and then the Cullens. And there is a moment when it’s Volturi time and it just brought a completely different vibe. It’s British camp at its best. I don’t mean camp in a bad way, I mean just people who are having a blast and being very clever all the time.
One of the other things that’s interesting for fans of your work and fans of the first movie is this is the first time you’ve worked with Carter Burwell since ‘Kinsey,’ right?
Yes, that’s right.
I know that the last two scores have gone in radically different directions than the first movie, but what did you want to do with the score for these two movies?
First of all, I was just so thrilled that Carter wanted to do it again, but Carter is someone who is just so original that for him it’s not about repeating or getting back to the sound of ‘Twilight.’ That was a specific sound for a teenage story and I think you’ll find it’s more romantic and more lush. However, I always think of this fourth movie as a bookend to the first and it did give us a chance to play around with Bella’s Lullaby, the theme he had developed for the first movie and bring it full circle, because obviously things are coming full circle for Bella. In general, the one of the things that is consistent in all the different approaches that Carter is taking — and he’s taking his cue from what he sees — but it happened over and over again. It’s thrilling. It happened to me when I heard sketches and when we were in London recording the score, he is an actor’s best friend. I saw it happen with ‘Gods and Monsters’ and ‘Kinsey’ and I saw it happen here. [He can] get so deeply inside a character and it just fills out a performance and bring what sort of happening underneath to the surface. I think he’s a hidden weapon. I think actors should request him in their contract. He’s extraordinary in that.
Hardcore fans will recognize Bella’s Lullaby I’m guessing?
Yes, it definitely plays a part.
Is there a theme that’s repetitive through the movie?
If I say there are three, I probably mean five. There is a Renesme theme that really comes to fruition to movie two that is quite prominent in movie one. There is a Bella/Edward love them that plays a lot throughout the first half of the movie. There is Jacob’s theme and there is a theme that suggests the love of everyone around Bella at the wedding, especially her parents and that’s really lovely. I probably am missing one, but those are the big themes.
BC: So what did you all think? Any thoughts?
Q(Brazilian Blogger): I can’t find the words to explain seeing them where I am from, in my favorite movie. Seeing Kristen out in Rio—to see Kristen there was like…
BC: Yeah, it was great to go down there—
Brazilian Blogger: I’m trying to recover.
BC: It was so fun. That’s how we started the movie, too. We spent our first couple weeks there, you know. And it was so great to actually feel, you know—it was actually our biggest experience of fans, kind of being on the set or tracking Rob and Kristen. It actually calmed down after that, but you really felt the excitement when you were there, you know?
Q: Was the fan interaction—I mean that was the one scene where it seemed like there were a lot of people around during filming.
Was that distracting or did it help elevate the mood?
BC: Uh, it was weird ‘cause that was again like our second night and it was—I didn’t know what to expect and actually, it turned out to be the most extreme of anything that happened through the whole movie. But when we’re on the streets of Lapa, suddenly, you know, we’re shooting something and this girl suddenly jumps into the shot and throws herself on Rob, goes “ha ha ha ha”, gets pulled off, and I think she was beheaded. I never saw her again.
BC: Something happened to her. But after that—but yeah, it was a little crazy there. Yeah, definitely.
Q: How much of the fandom did you know about before you jumped into this?
Bill: We’d gotten big lectures from all the people at Summit about what it was going to be like. And I actually have to say, in Baton Rouge we were in the studio the whole time, so it was actually really under control, you know. It was actually only being on the streets in Brazil that we saw it.
Q: How much fun was it scouting the locations? I mean, I guess next to Chris Weitz getting to go to scout out in Italy—
BC: I know! Can you imagine? Yeah.
—you probably had the next most exciting things to go scout. How involved were you in the scouting of the locations?
BC: Well, I mean Richard Sherman scouted first. He spent a month there ‘cause it was tough to find Isle Esme, you know?
Jack Morrissey(Bill Condon’s partner): Richard Sherman’s the production designer.
BC: And then I got to go to the last five possibilities or something like that. But it was great. I mean, scouting in a boat and stopping off for lunch at the little fish place on an island…No problems there. It was fun.
Q: How familiar with the series were you before you decided to pop into the last installment?
BC: Right. Pretty familiar, I guess. But not you know—I wouldn’t say I was a student of it but I was aware of them all and had seen them all. But then obviously once I jumped in it was really about Twilight Lexicon and it was the books and rereading and just making sure that we had everything right. You know things like—you saw the—Rob’s thing about( referencing a clip showing a glimpse into Edward’s past where he is at a movie theatre stalking “human monsters” )“I haven’t told you everything about myself” and there was a moment when I moved away from Carlisle. That’s only one line I think in the first book, you know, and he’d mentioned it one offhanded comment in one of the movies. But that was an example of something where the first time I met with Rob we had a long great night, many, many, many beers [laughter] and um, he said that one thing that had frustrated him a little is that—I guess that had been more developed in the first book, that was from Edward’s point of view, and it kind of informed the way he was playing the part throughout the whole movie. This sense of self-loathing and guilt that came from having killed humans for that period and yet, it had never been explored in the movies. So it felt like then I went back and looked at the section that described it in Twilight and I felt like, God, what better time right before a wedding to lay out the last objection, you know? And to have it also explain who he’s been, and then in the wedding you’ll see he has a toast where he said—he talks about the fact “to find that one person who can look at you, know everything there is to know about you and still accept you for who you are. I’m ready to move on”. So that being caught in this perpetual 17, and this perpetual kind of—I think you’ll see starting from the moment he gets married he moves on. The performance changes. It’s about him becoming a man. So I think that will be an interesting shift for people, you know? So that—the whole idea of just sort of, between discussions with him, going back finding a line in the first book and then deciding to dramatize that with an episode of him being someone who was on the hunt for human blood felt like something we hadn’t seen before.
Q: Speaking of that scene, I was really interested in the whole black/white dynamic—
—and I guess it was a parallel to the Frankenstein movie that was on.(in the scene where Edward is in a movie theater in the 1920’s the film that is playing is Frankenstein in black and white)
BC: I think in a way it was sort of. I mean, there are a lot of levels. One of them is that—I just like the fun that they’re all screaming at Frankenstein and they’ve got Edward in their midst—
BC: —walking behind them, but also, yeah, he’s become the monster in the movie. And actually, the whole movie turns out to be creating his bride. I mean, basically at the end that is what he’s done. Also, the tone of that movie is very similar when you’ve got Aro cackling—it’s similar tonally to a movie like that, and then finally the black and white thing that we do there is just like—as he kills people the color goes away and then it comes into him. So just a film language way to kind of give that sense, you know.
Q: Should we expect to see a lot of that kind of playing with new dimensions that we haven’t seen before in the other [films]?
BC: Yeah, I think so. You know why I think? Because in this movie it’s Jacob, in the next movie it’s Bella. You know as that surprising thing that Stephenie did in the book where having told the story through Bella’s point of view, then suddenly she shifted to Jacob’s point of view in the middle, and then you’re back to Bella’s. In this movie you do—there is this chunk of movie where you get inside the head of what it’s like to be a wolf. So that involves a certain stylization. And then in the next movie, the big change is we’ve been watching these vampires from Bella’s point of view but now it’s like we—because we are her—now it’s like you’re inside what it’s like to be a vampire. What it’s like to move that fast. What it’s like to have those powers. What it looks like. What the world looks like through her eyes. So both of those—they are more—it does become more the point of view of those characters and you get more—it’s more immersive, I think, and that involves a certain kind of stylization.
Q: I love that you’re talking point of view. I mean one of the things that I really love and that other people love too about the movies is that because the books are first person, either from Bella’s point of view or Jacob’s point of view, that now you get to expand out into that scene in Volterra—
BC: That’s right. Yes.
—and you get to see that total—what you only can imagine is occurring. How much collaboration did you have with Stephenie Meyer on those sort of alternate point of view moments that you don’t see in the books, but clearly were happening to get everything to spin.
BC: Right. Well, I think my kind of most intense collaboration was with Melissa Rosenberg—Stephenie was there and part of it all the time, and then—but we were the ones who sort of day-by-day, once I got involved in a rough outline form, we would be there kind of shaping what the scripts would be, and then Stephenie, along with the other producers, would have comments and things like that. Obviously, she’s this great resource that we would go to all the time.
Q: So how much collaboration did you do on the day to day script writing? I mean after doing Chicago and doing Dreamgirls as a screenwriter, I was wondering how’s the adaptation different going from a musical to a movie to going from this large volume of a book to a movie?
BC: Right, which I’d done before too. Gods and Monsters was an adaptation of a book, so that was something, but Melissa wrote these scripts—*his phone rings* Excuse me, this is her right now—
—which was great ‘cause I mean you know I jumped into this in March or April or something and we were shooting—you know if you’re prepping two movies and all that stuff—so it was sort of just—it was kind of overwhelming right there in the beginning. So Melissa, who knew it so well and is such a solid, strong writer—we would collaborate and talk through scene after scene after scene, structure, all that stuff, and then she’d come back. And it was really very, as I said, very intense for several months. But it was her. It was her knowing the stuff inside out…and creating. She’s done a lot of creating too on these movies.
Q: Speaking of Melissa and Stephenie, I think it was you that pointed out the cameo first—
BC: Oh right! Yeah.
It was Laura from the Lexicon. (room points at Laura)
Q: What—how did that come about? Who’s idea was that?
BC: Um, I kinda like nudged them all into doing it.
BC: And I stuck them in the back so you could see them as Bella’s coming down the aisle and get a good glimpse of them, you know.
Thank you on behalf of all of us!
BC: Oh good! Well it makes sense ‘cause she was at the diner, right? And they [the Cullens] don’t have that many friends, you know.
Q: Which part of Breaking Dawn do you think is going to be the most exciting for the fans? Part 1 or Part 2?
BC: You know what’s interesting about them? All the three—one of the reasons getting involved I was excited is that all three movies are so different. One thing, they each have the director’s style of whoever did it, and these two movies are incredibly different one from the other. They’re like—this is a very—I always think of this movie as being kind of the bookend to the first Twilight. It’s very much Bella’s, you know, kind of private journey from where she starts to being—to becoming a vampire, getting what she wants, you know. But there isn’t that kind of external threat in this movie, you know? The Volturi are always out there but they’re not really breathing down their necks. It’s really Bella making her way to what she wants to be and staying alive. The second movie is epic. The second movie is—you know the whole world kind of converging in this one place to deal with these big major issues about what it means to be a vampire.
Q: You had some parts where—about the sex scenes. Did you have some concerns? Because it’s going to be PG-13.
Did you have some concerns to do the sex things?
BC: Yeah, I guess. Yeah. (laughs) Well I think—yeah I think obviously we weren’t doing anything explicit but I think it’s also important to really—they’re married now—to really express this great connection that they have and to put it into physical terms, you know. So…
Q: Stemming from [an earlier] question, coming from a musical background how excited are you to be involved in the whole music process with Carter Burwell who’s done phenomenal scores in the past—
BC: He has.
–what tone do you want to convey going into the movie, ‘cause we obviously didn’t see any music with this [Breaking Dawn footage that we screened screened]?
BC: Right, right.
What tone or feel do you want to convey in your head to Carter, or is it more just Carter’s vision?
BC: No. You know Carter and I have worked together a lot before too, Gods and Monsters and Kinsey, and then he did this first movie. So it’s—I mean we have a collaboration that goes way back and we were just talking the other day. He’s going to come out next week. So it is—again because he did the first movie and now he’s picking up, I think that bookend nature of it will be kind of really heightened by his involvement. But I think like any other movie it’s just now we go and we talk through every moment. Here what’s interesting is that there’s a style that’s been set up that really works—and I think we shot to reflect this—where songs do tell a lot of the story, too, and that way it’s a little bit like a musical. There are all these ballads. You know, when she figures out that she’s pregnant and suddenly he leaves for a second, and she has a moment where she looks in the mirror and falls in love with her baby and looks at herself and said, “You are gonna be a mother”. That’s a minute and a half, just three long shots, but it’s all about where that music takes you inside her head again. And there is a musical number.
At the wedding. A very short one but there’s a dance number. We had a choreographer, who is one of the chorus boys from Chicago who’s now a big choreographer up there.
We’re big musical fans.
BC: Oh good!
Q: On the same note as music: all of the directors so far have had kind of say on the soundtrack choices—
—at least one that they picked themselves. Do you have someone in mind that you hope to see?
BC: For songs?
BC: Yeah, we’ve been doing that all along, you know. Quite a few of them actually. And what’s interesting I think it’s gotten, in a way, easier and easier because like amazing bands now write songs and submit them. So I mean we’ve got Alex Patsavas, who’s done the music supervising for all these movies. I think we’re up to CD ten or eleven or something like that.
BC: Eleven. Each of which has eighteen songs in it. So that’s what? Two hundred songs with amazing people you’ve all heard of who have written Twilight songs for us to choose from. So it’s really…yeah.
Jack Morrissey: And all unreleased. The golden rule stands of: if it’s been released, if you’ve heard it, it will not be in the movie.
Q: I’m curious. When you first read the script, you know you get pictures in your head of things, what scene from when you read it—what was the one that was like the clearest in your head of “Oh, this is how I want to do this”. And did that actually—when you shot it, did it actually come out that way?
BC: Right. That’s a good question. You know what it was? It was the lovemaking. And it wasn’t in the script. There was no script. But it was reading the book and figuring out an approach to that. I think I had a very simple idea right away that I wanted to try, and I think that’s part of why they hired me. I think it was sort of like—I think it made some sense, you know? And that’s exactly the way we shot it, and it’s in the movie now until the MPAA sees it. But so far so good!
JM: Don’t worry. It’ll stay. That will stay.
BC: Yeah, that’ll stay.
Q: So what initially really drew you to want to kind of take on this project, ‘cause it’s exciting but it’s also kind of daunting I’m sure—
BC: Oh it is. Yeah.
—so what kind of drew you to actually say “I’m gonna do this”?
BC: Well it’s like I started out in genre movies, so I’ve always been looking for a chance to get back into that, you know? And this—and also, it’s not just the genre stuff but also a certain kind—I have a reverence for old Hollywood films, you know, and it seems to me this also reflects the kinds of movies that Vincente Minnelli would make. You know romantic melodramas that are really heightened and with a great use of color and style to tell a woman’s story. All that really appealed to me about it, I have to say. If it had—the fact that it was two movies and back-to-back, that was…um, a consideration, you know. That didn’t seem like the most exciting prospect! (laughs) But on the other side of it, it’s—I’m glad we did it, you know?
Q: Are you working on anything involving Part 2 right now? I mean what’s going with that? How do you balance both of them?
BC: Well you know Gini [Virginia Katz] edits as we go along, and then we would talk on the weekends and stuff. So we have a pretty good rough assembly of Part 2 that Ian, the associate editor, is still working on in terms of putting second unit stuff in and stuff like that. ‘Cause soon enough we have to start, even though it’s a year away, getting some of that effects stuff going. But basically it’s in a drawer for the next six weeks until we’ve finished—really refined—Part 1.
Q: How was it filming both movies at the same time, ‘cause it’s your first time doing this? How was that?
BC: Yeah. Better than if we’d done it in 3D, the way we were thinking.
Yeah that was my question! Was: are you really doing it in 3D? ‘Cause that rumor’s been out there for so long.
BC: No, no.
Oh thank you.
BC: We were gonna do the second movie in 3D. There was a good idea behind that, which was: okay she wakes up as a vampire, now let’s see the world differently.
It’s a new dimension for her.
BC: But that wouldn’t have been—it wouldn’t have been just cheesy, but we would have gone crazy.
BC: I think we’re all grateful now. Yeah.
I can never see 3D movies. They just give me a headache so thank you. Thank you so much!
BC: I know. Yeah, no me too. I get a headache just from the tutorial.
BC: But yeah—so it was—I found it was not hard—it was harder on Kristen, I think, more than anybody but she stepped up. But not only to have to go from “oh my God, I’m high school graduate Bella” [to] “oh now I’m kind of intense momma vampire” in the same day! Not only that was a psychological challenge but also physically. I mean she had to—the vampire makeup was two hours. God help her, the pregnant, late term Bella was three hours prosthetics, and sometimes she’d be jumping back and forth between those things. So she was a real trooper, you know. I think it fell on her shoulders more than anybody else’s.
Q: Well, and we’re talking a lot about the serious stuff, and in the clip we saw we got to see some comedic relief from some of the Cullens. (in a pre-wedding scene Alice is barking orders at the family who are moving around large trees)I, and I think a lot fans, are really wanting to know is there going to be some comedic relief with the whole Rosalie/Jacob thing while Bella’s pregnant? Is it—even the trailer’s really serious, which I love—
BC: Yeah, yeah.
—but in the book there’s a lot of comedic relief that I think fans love, and is that going to be in the movie?
BC: Yeah. Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of comedy in the movie.
Q: I have a question. Melissa Rosenberg, when she was talking about the birth scene, she always kind of said something to the effect of “Well, I wrote it and now it’s up to Bill how he wants to do it”. And I was kind of wondering, what do you have to add to that?
BC: In terms of the birth?
Yeah. What did you see? Like how did you see doing it?
BC: Again, the basic idea there was—went back to the approach of the novel which is let’s have her give birth and only see what she can see. So it’s all from her point of view, right? And for me, that allows us to do things like oh my God, he’s coming back into frame and he’s got blood on his teeth! He just bit through something. And if you know what he bit through then you know, but if you don’t, you don’t, you know? So it’s like—it gives—I think for people who know it intimately it gives us that moment: “oh my God, the baby’s just bitten her”. But we don’t see it, you know. It’s only what she can see. So that was the approach there.
Q: I have a question about the leaked photos that came out.
Did you have to change anything because of the leak?
BC: No, we’ve kind of just ignored it.
You ignored it?
Q: So building a relationship with your cast members, and obviously, your crew and all that, what was your favorite aspect of building with the team?
BC: You know what? I think it was with the actors, being able to really spend weeks and weeks before we started talking through the scripts over, and over, and over again, you know. Um, and especially Kristen who knows it so well and she feels such a strong like burden of responsibility to live up to what the fan—she’s a fan, you know. She [said] “I cried when I read this [the] first time. I wanna make sure that people [cry]”, you know. So that when she’s walking down the aisle at the wedding, you can’t believe what she puts herself through to make sure she gets into the state that’s gonna make—like open her up to all of the feelings that Bella’s feeling at that moment. It’s really amazing to watch. So that, I think, more than anything, you know. And I always think with Kristen too—sometimes she gets a bad rap for—like she seems like she’s a little, you know, unfriendly and things like that. I think that it’s all just—it’s her—she’s so tough on herself and that’s all it is.
She’s so great one-on-one.
BC: Yeah, yeah.
Q: Any favorite moment on set? Like a favorite moment on there?
BC: Oh gosh.
Q: Tell us about the dance off, what happened? ( the actors on Twitter kept referring to the Breaking Dawn Dance Battle)
BC: Oh yeah, that thing. You heard about that, right? That was amazing. God, I’ve never been surprised on a set like that ever.
Q: Is that gonna make the DVD?
BC: I would think so, yeah. I would think so.
JM: It will, because we knew it was happening and he didn’t know but I knew, and we T-ed up all the DVD documentary guys. It’s like “this is happening” and we had all these cameras going.
‘Cause all the fans wanna know that. Everyone tweeted about it so much.
BC: Just the part of me dancing won’t be on there.
Q: Next to Catherine Hardwicke, you probably had the larger shot of casting.
BC: Yes, it’s true. Yeah.
I mean just compared to—I mean just everybody else, you know there was the wolf pack—
BC: Yeah, like 70 of them.
One of my favorite movies is Jerry Maguire with the line, “You had me at ‘hello’”. Was there anybody in that casting process that maybe you didn’t know and then you were just like, “Whoa, you had me at ‘hello’!” Who was your—
BC: You know who? Mackenzie Phillips. I mean—Foy…Mackenzie.
BC: She’s a perfect, perfect—yeah, [inaudible] Mackenzie Foy. Mackenzie Foy was like, wow that’s it. She looks like their daughter and there’s just a quality she had, you know. I mean and it was such a relief because Renesmee was so tough to picture and imagine, you know? So I have to say she was just like, I think we’ve got it right there ‘cause it’s possible. And then I showed her to everybody else and everybody agreed.
Q: How were the auditions for the new cast members?
BC: The auditions?
Yeah. How you chose them?
BC: You know some of them came in, some of them were on tape. All of that, you know. And then—
I guess it’s a lot.
BC: A lot, yeah I know. We, yeah…but we had a great casting director, Debbie Zane, who I worked with a lot. She really did a wonderful job sort of tracking everybody around the world.
Q: Going back to Renesmee, it was such a big thing, like Stephenie always said…I think when Breaking Dawn the book came out, she said, “You know, I don’t know if the technology will be advanced enough by the time the film comes out”. How did you approach that? Like was that a daunting thing, were you excited to do it? How did you approach Renesmee as a character?
BC: Yeah, it was a little scary at first just ‘cause it is all that dots on people’s faces and helmets and things like that. But it was—it actually turned out to be fun. Mackenzie was there all the time to sort of provide the model for whatever size girl was playing the part. And then weirdly enough, the three-year old, four-year old, they all have their different personalities and they were all kinda good, you know. So actually you sort of fall in love with aspects of different girls all the way through. But we’re just—there’s John Bruno (he walks into the room), who’s our visual effects supervisor, the legend.
Say hello, John.
BC: But we haven’t done any of that yet ‘cause it’s movie two, so it’ll be fascinating to see when it actually starts, to see if it works.
Q: A lot of directors get this glazed look in their eye when people say, “What is your biggest Twilight movie challenge?” And they go like this [runs hand through hair with hellish exasperated look], and they go, “The weather.” You probably were the person who’s had to spend the least amount of time in the Pacific Northwest; so I’m just curious, were you warned beforehand that the biggest challenge was the weather?
BC: Yes. Because we were up there for a third of the schedule but we shot every interior in Baton Rouge so we had to be outside everyday. And we had nowhere to go when it was raining, which was everyday. So that was a huge challenge, absolutely. The most amazing thing was it was April 15, it was the last night of shooting, we looked up and it was snowing.
You can’t—you can hide rain, you can’t hide snow. We were just like, “Oh my God, what are we gonna do?” And then suddenly, you know, like an hour later it stopped. But, you know…
Q: Was the weather problematic at all in Brazil, too? I mean I’m thinking of the water and—
BC: No, that was a pretty—you know we were on this island near Paraty, sorta 45 minutes available just by boat, and at the end of our, I think, second, maybe third, night of shooting we go to get in our boats to go back to the village and there’s a storm, which turns into a typhoon and we’re stuck there all night. It’s 80 people on the floor, and one bottle of vodka that they found in the wine closet!
Oh no! (laughter)
JM: Sleeping on the floor of the set.
BC: Sleeping on the floor of the set. We were all—Stephenie was on a huge mattress and we’d hang around her for awhile. It was amazing, yeah so…
Q: How was your visit to Brazil did you get to know some cities? What did you do in your spare time?
BC: In Rio?
Yeah, in Rio.
BC: Well, it was great ‘cause the film festival was going on there at that time so I got to—
In Paraty, right?
BC: No, no in Rio. When we were prepping in Rio ‘cause we shot in Rio too.
Oh, you shot in Paraty and Rio.
BC: That’s right. So I got to hang out with some filmmakers who were there and that was sorta just a nice way to get like a glimpse of the film community there.
Do you plan to return [for] the premiere?
BC: I hope so, yeah. We’re hoping this year. I don’t know if it’s gonna work this year, but one of them I hope, yeah.
Aw, that’s great. So—
BC: But I shouldn’t say that, it’s not my decision.
But it’s probably gonna be both premieres, like this year, because they say…I heard that this year you’re gonna have the premiere, so probably for the next movie you’re gonna have another premiere there?
BC: Well, I would assume, yeah. Although this is the one that’s—
Because I think this year, in Rio, you’re [going to have] a big premiere like The Fast and Furious had. The official—not the official premiere is gonna be there, but some unofficial because all the cast was at the premiere.
Summit: Premiere plans for Parts 1 and 2 are far away. They’re out there. That’s a long ways away.
Q: So kinda tying back with the end, like what do you most want to convey to the fans, to anybody who sees this?
It’s a loaded question.
BC: That’s a big question. Yeah. Um…
We don’t bite we promise.
BC: I know, it’s just hard to put into words, you know? [I] just hope that it’s a satisfying next step in the journey and I think the reason I took the movie on is that it represents Bella, Edward, and Jacob growing up. I mean that’s the essence of the movie and that’s what excites me; it’s watching them move past the last moments of childhood into being adults and everything that that represents.
Q: I know we have a costume designer that takes care of most of the costumes and things like that, but with Bella’s wedding dress, you know, we’re talking about years of anticipation and speculation. And we had even designers drawing their own mock-ups of what it might be like and so I was wondering, like, how did you choose a designer/design? I’m sure you had a hand in it, right?
BC: I had—no, you know I—
Summit: The designer hasn’t been announced, yet.(It has since been announced as Carolina Herrera)
BC: Right, so I won’t announce the designer but this was something, as you might imagine, Stephenie had very strong feelings about. So she had somebody she wanted to use, Michael [Wilkinson, costume designer] felt comfortable with her, then we all got in and collaborated, but that was basically a choice that was sort of driven by Stephenie.
Q: Were you guys able to enjoy getting into the really small parts of the book since you have two films?
BC: Yes, I think so. Yeah. And I think what’s interesting is that um, you know, we’re trying—the second movie now is running a little over two hours, I don’t see much to trim there so there’s no question that the books—there’s no fat, you know? There’s no just sort of trying to fill it out into two movies. It’s like incredibly—it’s incredible how much happens in these books, you know? It needed two movies, there’s no doubt. Yeah. But I think that’s one thing that Kristen was really excited by when we started working together, rehearsing, it’s like this is the first—these are the first scripts where I wasn’t like thinking, “Oh my God, there are a hundred favorite moments that aren’t here.” You know? That it’s been so telescoped.
Summit: Last question.
Have a good one!
Pressure’s on you!
Q: Speaking of like anticipation, is there something in particular that you’re really excited to see the fan’s reaction to and something that maybe you’re like more nervous [about] ‘cause it’s such a highly anticipated thing?
BC: That’s a good question. Um…
And it’s two-in-one!
BC: You know, I think…She gets married; she has sex; she gives birth; and she dies and she becomes a vampire. Five huge things happen in this movie—I’m sorry, Jacob imprints.
BC: Six! Six huge things that happen and that was—I had on my board just like cards with these things: how do we figure [these out]?—you know, the second movie, obviously it’s got the shield and all that stuff. So I feel like that is my biggest excitement about people seeing how we did those six things, and also fear that it will because I think those are so…such huge events for everybody. It’s what everything’s been leading up to that I think everyone’s got ideas; clearly, they’ve visualized what that might be. So you hope you get to the essence of what it is and that none of them is a disappointment, you know?
Summit: Thank you, Bill.
BC: Okay, thank you. It’s so nice to meet you!