"It's Twilight Time"
By KEVIN WILLIAMSON, SUN MEDIA
Monday, November 17th, 2008.
LOS ANGELES -- No one questions Stephenie Meyer has created a monster. But just how big of a bite will Twilight take at the box office?
At stake is the fate of a fledging studio and a potential franchise based on the literary phenomenon that has vaulted Meyer, a 34-year-old Mormon mother of three, into the same rarified stratosphere as J.K. Rowling.
Since Twilight's publication in 2005, the saga about virginal teenager Bella Swan and her dreamy but undead boyfriend Edward Cullen has sold more than 17 million copies. What's more, it has inspired a following whose addiction rivals that of any vampire's blood-lust.
Still, conventional wisdom suggests to break through at the box office, the film will need more than just droves of soccer moms and tweeners. So far, the tracking looks promising, at least for the opening -- which will be late Thursday in some markets and nationwide on Friday. With a modest (by Hollywood standards) budget of $40 million, Twilight the motion picture is already breaking records for advance ticket sales, ahead of the similarly youth-driven sensation High School Musical 3.
At the centre of this hysteria is Meyer herself, who even now remains mystified by all of it.
"For me, it's an absolute mystery," she says of Twilight's popularity. "I read a lot of books and some of them I love are very popular and there are others where I think, 'Why isn't everyone in the world reading this book? It's so amazing.' So when one book takes off, why does it ever happen?
"I had a very specific audience (when I wrote it), and it was a 29-year-old mother of three. No one was ever supposed to read this except for me. And if I had any idea that anyone else would ever see what I was doing, I'd never have been able to finish it -- way, way too much pressure ... (Twilight) is exactly what I wanted to read, so of course I'm really hooked on it. But for other people (to be addicted to it), it's kind of bizarre."
Predictably, it wasn't long after Twilight's publication that Hollywood, sniffing a franchise in the making, began to court her.
"When we started out with this, I actually sold the rights to a different company. I got a look at a script that, you know, objectively (was) probably a decent vampire movie that had nothing at all to do with Twilight. It was just (that) you could have produced that movie and never given me any credit, because it wasn't anything to do with the books. And that was kind of a horrifying experience. Like, I had realized it could go wrong and that they could do it badly, but that they would do something that had nothing at all to do with the story, it was kind of shocking to me. And I know that's because I'm really naive."
When that version of Twilight languished in development, the option rights eventually reverted back to Meyer. Not soon after she was approached by upstart studio Summit.
"I was weary and I said, 'You know, I'm just not sure.' And they said, 'What can we do for you?' I said, 'What if I give you a list of things that absolutely can't be changed?' And I'm not talking like I said, 'Okay, you have to read ... and it has to be exactly like the book.' It was very fundamental outline things like, you know, the vampires have to have the basic rules of the vampire world I've created, which means no fangs, which means no coffins ... You can't kill anyone who doesn't die in the book, and just basic things like that that were really just the foundation of the story."
Naturally, given that the final cinematic product adheres to her manifesto, she is satisfied with the results. Well, with one exception. Around the film's midway point, Meyer appears on-screen in a cameo.
Says the author, almost wincing for effect, "That's the one scene I would happily cut."
A scan from the actual newspaper (click for bigger version).
APPARENTLY NIKKI REED PLAYS RENESMEE!
This article plus other sub articles can be found HERE at the Toronto Sun site.