Twilight sites talked to Bill Condon – Among them TwilightExaminer / TwilightSource
BC: So what did you all think? Any thoughts? (Just finished seeing clips and trailer)
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—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 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: 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: 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.
Read more at TwilightExaminer or TwilightSource
Q: 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. 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. But that wouldn’t have been-it wouldn’t have been just cheesy, but we would have gone crazy. I think we’re all grateful now. Yeah.
Q: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: 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?
Q: 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: 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.
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.
BC: Just the part of me dancing won’t be on there.
Q: A lot of directors get this glazed look in their eye when people say, „What is your biggest challenge?“ And they go like this [Want to put in facial expression she made here?], 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: Yes. 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!
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: 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.
Read the rest at Twilight Source