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.
Movieline It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen,” Condon told Movieline. He explained how it all happened.
“In that second movie, as you know from the book, a half-hour of it takes place in this one location, this one field,” Condon said. “We shot there for, when you include the second unit, a couple of months — but the first unit was there for many weeks.”
“When we came to the last, widest shot, with 80 vampires on one side and 27 vampires on the other, I’m sitting up the ladder and suddenly you hear this music — ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).’ And the Cullen side starts this incredible, West Side Story-kind of rumble. The other vampires then start to dance back. It was unbelievably big.”
Who was responsible for the vampire dance-off? “I know Myanna Buring was behind it, and Lee Pace,” Condon said. “There were a couple of others. I should figure out exactly who. But they kept it a secret! They rehearsed this number for a week, and kept it a secret. It was so great.”
Luckily, Condon adds, “there was a lot of B-camera rolling.” There’s a very good chance it’ll make it onto the eventual Breaking Dawn DVD/Blu-ray, but there’s just one catch: It’s part of Breaking DawnPart Two, which brings the saga to a close on November 16, 2012 — which means it could be over a year until the footage sees the light of day on home video.