We’re told to sometimes write down our dreams. Maybe whatever our sleep goons summoned up for us to watch overnight will say something about our personality or maybe they’ll help us recognize what’s broke and needs fixing. Or in author Stephenie Meyer’s case, maybe a dream will make you rich.
As the story goes, in June of 2003, tyro scribe Meyer woke up from a dream that involved a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her but thirsted for her blood. Intrigued by the concept, she noted the events of the dream on paper and would later write out what would become chapter 13 of the book “Twilight”. Published in 2005, and scoring Meyer a snug 750k payday, the Gothic teenage novel – and it’s sequels – would go on to become one of the most successful young adult novels of the noughties.
“Breaking Dawn” is Meyer’s final book in the “Twilight” series, and like the books that came before it, it’s now a film – one that’s about to make quite a pretty penny at the box office.
Good to talk to you again. What’s been your experience with this film franchise and what’s your reaction to the whole experience?
That’s a big question. Thanks for the welcome back. I’ve been kind of hiding for a few years, which is fun. It’s interesting to be done and not done. We had the final night of shooting and there was that moment of closure, but then it keeps going. With the first part of the movie coming out, it doesn’t feel like an ending yet. It feels like we’re still going. I’m not quite sure how it will be when we get to the ‘end’ the end. I know there’s a lot of people I’m going to miss just seeing. I’m going to miss a lot of the people, but we’ll see how it feels when it actually ends.
How did it feel to see your characters come to life and finally get married, and be there for it?
The wedding was really emotional. I was somewhat prepared because I had been there for Kristin’s dress fitting. And when she came out in the wedding dress, there was just that moment where all of us got a little… I wasn’t expecting to feel emotional. I was like, ‘Bella’s in her wedding dress.’ It was something.
Being at the wedding, it was a really cold, awful thing. I didn’t want to be on camera. Bill [Condon] was like, ‘Oh, it will be so great! Come on!’ He talked to me into it. But then when Kristen [Stewart] actually came down the aisle the first time – there were many times she actually came down the aisle that day – she kind of looked at me for a minute and there was just that happening. It felt like a real wedding; it was so weird. It was awesome.”
Director Bill Condon mentioned Midnight Sun and how vampires were coming up to you and asking you to continue. Have you thought about continuing the Twilight franchise?
I mean I’ve thought about it, obviously. People ask me about it a lot. There was a time when I thought I would never stop writing about vampires. There are pieces of their stories’ written. There’s all this in my computer that, you know, who knows? I’m not going to say no. Right now I really don’t have much drive towards vampires. There’s so much more going on and sometimes you want to get into a new world. The characters are always going to be alive for me.
Do you want to do a direct-to-the-screen project?
It’s something I’ve talked about on another project. I don’t know. I don’t think I’d want to give up that part of the creative process, which is really my favorite. I haven’t had a lot of time to just be alone with the story for a while. Once you put it into a screen format there’s a lot of people involved. I think I’d still prefer to be alone with the story first.
Were there times when you looked at what Melissa [Rosenberg] was translating for the screenplay and you wished you’d have thought of what she came up with?
Oh yeah, from the first one on. There’s several points where I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool!’ I remember the very first one where there’s just a little moment where Bella sees him in her room and flicks the light on and he’s gone. I’m like, ‘How cool and simple was that?’ With every movie there’s always something really cool that she comes up with. There’s stuff that’s different; it’s the movie. But there’s other stuff that I kind of wished I could have snagged.
Can you speak about Kristen’s transformation into a mother in the film? As a mother yourself, did you offer her any guidance?
She actually didn’t need that much guidance. She put so much thought into it beforehand. Her transformation was cool because we would do it where one day she’s human Bella, she’s pregnant and then the next day she’s a vampire and wearing the whole makeup. She was able to switch back and forth beautifully. And she just got the mother thing. I know she would come up to Bill and be like, ‘I should be looking at my daughter in this scene. I need to.’ She was so sensitive to that. I think it also has to do with the fact that, as with all of us, she feel in love with Mackenzie [Foy]. We all kind of were Mackenzie’s mom because she was so adorable. I really think that did add a lot for all of us. But she was a natural at it. She just got that instinct that you have to protect, have to see on her own.
The sexual and gender politics are a little bit retrograde, some critics say. What do you say about that?
The politics of it is something I never think about when I’m writing. It’s about a story that’s interesting to me. I’m not going to say Breaking Dawn doesn’t get weird, because it does, but these are things that as I was exploring what it means and what it meant to be a woman, particularly to be a mother because that’s a big part of my life, with Bella it’s something that had to out of necessity happen to her very young. I’ve always been really fascinated with the idea that 100 years ago, if you were going to have a baby, you literally were saying, ‘I could die. I am taking my life in my hands to do this.’ There’s a courage to that that we don’t have to develop, and so I’m fascinated by that kind of woman, that woman that makes the choice that she’s going to risk her life. It’s like being a soldier. I like to explore things that I didn’t have to do in real life. I never became a vampire either. But it was never about the politics but about how as a person you would deal with those different things and as an individual story, not as a story that this is an example for how I think life should be lived or this is an example of a perfect or correct life. This is an example of a flawed life with choices and mistakes and how those affect people. So, for me, it’s not about anything other than that.
What was your favorite moment of being able to see onscreen something that was beyond Bella’s point of view?
I was trying to think of those moments… You start to get everything so integrated in your head that you don’t even realize where are we veering, where are we different now? Any time we get to spend time with other characters is great. You always want more time because some of the newbies that we brought on that we only had a short time with were so much fun. You have that one moment with Lee Pace where you’re just like, ‘Oh, he’s so cool!’ You have your one little moment with your Romanians and they’re so much fun. You just kind of did want to jump in and spend more time with everybody…certainly Michael Sheen. Always Michael Sheen.
What did you think of the birth scene and was it how you envisioned it would be onscreen?
I really liked the birth scene. It was something that in the beginning when we were developing the story, a lot of people we weren’t sure. ‘Is this going to be enough? Is this anti-climatic?’ And I said, ‘I think the birth scene is going to be a lot. I think you’ll be surprised.’ And when we were filming it, usually you’re filming it, you’re on set and you’re doing things over and over again and there’s not often a big sense of excitement about what you’re filming. With the birth scene, you could tell it was so emotional. It wasn’t about that this is gory and we’re slathering them up with cream cheese and raspberry jelly. Edward is losing Bella, and Rob [Pattinson’s] performance was so heartbreaking that I’m going to admit, yes, I teared up. There were tears; a lot of people were feeling it because you looked at the idea of losing the most important thing to you. He made you think about it in that moment. The way it was cute together I felt like was very emotional. I thought Bill pulled such a human experience out of it. He has such a gift for that, so I’m very happy with how it turned out.
After so much anticipation, fans get excited just watching the trailer. How was it to see the film in its entirety?
For me, it was emotional the first time I saw it. You worry. You’ve seen good stuff being filmed and you know it’s there. You always kind of go into it with like, ‘Is it going to be awful?’ When a movie makes you forget that, and by halfway through you’re just enjoying the movie and wondering what’s next, then you know it’s really been successful.
– Clint Morris