Why was David Slade the right choice to direct Eclipse?
Honestly, I loved Hard Candy. Ever since I saw that movie I was sending him everything I had. I loved the performances he got from Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page, I loved the filmmaking and the way he kept one small house, and many times one small room, alive and tense and exciting for an entire movie. And then, I saw 30 Days of Night and liked the genre elements of that, and how he had a real vision for how he wanted that world to look. That was kind of the perfect combination: his ability to tell a story and elicit amazing performances in Hard Candy, and to create a world in 30 Days of Night, which were sort of the combined qualities we were looking for in a director. So, coming off of Chris [Weitz], who is a really classic filmmaker and creates beautiful imagery, but very romantic imagery, we wanted to go in a little bit of a different direction and create something that had a little bit more anxiety and edge to it, as Bella really struggled with her choices, between Jacob and Edward, between becoming a vampire and staying human… we thought [David's] style would bring a lot to all of that stuff.
Along those lines, what makes Bill Condon right for Breaking Dawn?
The themes and the story of Breaking Dawn are very mature; Bella and Edward are going through very adult things, from marriage to childbirth, motherhood, parenthood, and the evolution of their relationship into something that is a partnership, which is not the way Edward has viewed this relationship with her before. Bill's a very mature filmmaker; he's dealt with very difficult themes and stories in his career. He's also gotten Academy Award nominations for actors in the last three films that he's done. And from a performance standpoint, Kristen's going to be diving into stuff that she hasn't been through. It's one thing that she can remember first love and falling in love and being torn between two guys, probably, but the idea of dealing with some of these issues and having a filmmaker that can really help them as actors was vital to Breaking Dawn. Also, the visual nature of Dreamgirls made us feel like he could create something with a real scope and grandeur to it.
There's also his earlier work: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Sister, Sister…
He's a genre guy! That's really exciting, that in some ways he'll be coming full circle and utilizing his early roots with the stuff he's been doing recently. I think that'll be fun for him.
The whole idea of balancing horror and fantasy elements with a greater love story also comes up in Eclipse, which ramps up the genre elements considerably from the first two Twilight films. Was there ever an impulse to go even darker, to tip the balance more towards horror with this installment?
I think it's not as mathematical as that. The core of the story is character based, and you have to nail that first -- that's why people love the franchise, but they also love the mythology and the genre elements of it. You want to make sure that you're tracking Bella's internal struggle along with the external conflicts of the movie, which is what's happening in Seattle, what dangers are descending upon Forks and threatening both families she loves, the wolves and the Cullens. I think that's something that we, Melissa Rosenberg, and Stephenie Meyer worked very hard on in the treatment stage and at the script stage to feel like we had a screenplay that represented both sides of that story.
The production notes quote you talking about the Eclipse production as a sort of summer camp, not without "the squabbles that families have." Can you elaborate on that?
This is the first kind of true series I've been involved in, but usually you become a really tight knit family over the course of making a movie, and then you never see each other again, and that reminded me of summer camp as a kid, where I'd make these intense friendships and wouldn't see some people ever again, and some people until the following summer. On Eclipse, having done two films together we all know each other really well; we know each others' instincts, who's in a good mood in the morning and who's in a bad mood [laughs], but with that comes the ability to communicate more openly about things that you're really pissed off about or things you want. You get that sense that we're all back together, we're all diving into it, but it is like a family in that you'll have those moments where you're not getting along. The good news is that you know, even out of that, you can sort of be back together afterwards and re-bond in different ways.
On the first film, when you're first getting to know people, you're guarded in a way that you're not when you've known someone for two years. You're guarded in that you may not say something you want to say to someone for fear of their repercussions, and now it's just like, 'You know what, you really pissed me off when you did that!' And you just get through it.
Eclipse, very importantly, features a speech by Bella in which she asserts her confidence and her newfound maturity. Was that a response in any way to criticisms of Bella's passiveness in the first two films?
No, I think it was a response to her journey in this movie, where you felt like if she starts the movie with the decision 'I'm going to become a vampire, this is what I want,' and you take her through a series of conflicts and obstacles that force her to call that choice into question, at the end of it she needs to have come to a place where she not only goes, 'Okay, I'm going to become a vampire' but also that she has a heightened understanding of what that means. We all felt that we needed to articulate that and make it clear, not only to Edward, but also to the audience.
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