PORTLAND, Oregon — Recently, MTV News marked a “Twilight Tuesday” by releasing an in-depth video from our visit to the upcoming film’s set, and more than a million viewers devoured details about the sacred scenes being re-created with care for director Catherine Hardwicke’s cameras.
As any Hollywood hotshot can tell you, every hit production deserves a sequel.
While Day One of our “Twilight” set visit was dominated with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson making googly eyes at each other in a meadow straight out of Stephenie Meyer’s written page, Day Two unveiled a cast and crew unafraid to experiment with new scenes, dialogue and even a super-cool Cullen family crest (which you can see on the MTV Movies Blog).
“We’re doing a scene where I’ve just seen [Edward] do a very inexplicable thing. … He stops a van from crushing me with his bare hands,” explained Stewart, the film’s Bella Swan.
Every good Twilighter remembers the moment early in the first novel when Edward Cullen is forced to reveal his superhuman powers in the school parking lot, instinctively saving the new student who has captured his heart. On the “Twilight” page, the moment leads to many paragraphs of anguished avoidance, as Bella tries to find an explanation (duh … he’s a vampire!) for the unexplainable.
In the film, those anguished early moments will be replaced by a field-trip scene that brings most of the major characters — including Jackson Rathbone’s Jasper and Kellan Lutz’s Emmett — together. On a school bus and in a greenhouse, the tension unfolds much more rapidly.
“There’s probably a few less biology scenes than there are in the book, and there are probably fewer at Charlie’s house, but mostly all the juicy stuff is there,” Hardwicke explained of some of the verbose “Twilight” scenes that have been condensed for the film. “We might not go to the biology classroom five times. Instead, we went three times.”
Discussing the field-trip scene, Stewart explained: “I come to him after he’s sort of blown me off and refused to tell me what’s going on. He again blows me off here. But it’s not just that I’m curious, like, ‘Oh, I want to know … what was that?’ Whatever that is, I need to be a part of it. He knows that. He sees it.
“It’s like Romeo and Juliet,” she explained of the Edward/Bella mutual attraction. “You can’t let anyone else know what’s going on, but you are compelled. And you have to see where it goes, period.”
During the afternoon of shooting, Portland’s insanely unpredictable weather dumped hail the size of golf balls all over the tin-roofed greenhouse that had Pattinson, Stewart, Gregory Tyree Boyce (as Tyler Crowley) and Anna Kendrick (as Jessica Stanley) acting out the scene alongside a dozen extras. As Hardwicke called “Action!” a new chapter of the “Twilight” saga unfurled:
“Hey, Edward,” Bella says, walking up behind him as he continues to ignore her. “Really?”
“What was in Jacksonville?” Edward asks.
“How did you know about that?”
“You didn’t answer my question,” he replies.
“Well, you don’t answer any of mine,” Bella shoots back. “And you don’t even say ‘hi’ to me.”
Pausing for a moment, Edward replies: “Hi.”
After a sigh, Bella asks: “Are you gonna tell me how you stopped the van?”
“Yeah. I had an adrenaline rush,” he stumbles. “They’re very common. You can Google it.”
“Floridians — that’s what’s in Jacksonville,” she says, continuing to walk through the greenhouse and then stumbling, as the klutzy Bella often does.
“Watch where you walk. Sometimes it helps,” Edward teases. “Look, I’m sorry I’m being rude. I think it’s the best way.”
At this moment in the scene, Kendrick’s Jessica runs up and scares Edward away. “Bella!” she shrieks. “Guess who just asked me to the prom? I totally thought Mike was gonna ask you, actually. Um, it’s not gonna be weird though, right?”
“No, no. Zero weirdness,” Bella responds. “You guys are great together.”
“I know, right?”
Concluding the scene, Tyler Crowley sets off a sprinkler system, causing all the students to flee the greenhouse.
“Tyler!” Jessica screams. “What is wrong with you?”
Speaking about such scenes that go beyond the “Twilight” book, producer Greg Mooradian explained: “I think we did a really judicious job of distilling it. Our greatest critic, Stephenie Meyer, loves the screenplay, and that tells me that we made all the right choices in terms of what to keep and what to lose. Invariably, you’re going to lose bits and pieces that certain members of the audience are going to desperately want to see, but there’s just a reality that we’re not making ‘Twilight: The Book’ the movie.”
The presence of such scenes raises an interesting question that Hollywood has faced more and more in recent years: Do you stick to the source material verbatim and risk a poor cinematic fit like “Speed Racer,” or do you change things around so much that people wonder why “Miami Vice” even bothered to use its title? How do you walk the fine line between respect and reinvention?
“It’s very important to distinguish that we’re making a separate piece of art that obviously is going to remain very, very faithful to the book,” Mooradian added. “But at the same time, we have a separate responsibility to make the best movie you can make.”
Such innovation also includes the Cullen crest, another movie-only idea that gives the good guys a symbol, much like Superman’s “S” or Zorro’s “Z.” Boasting shamrocks and a lion, the symbol is sure to eventually appear on the T-shirts of Twilighters all over the world. When we were on set, however, it was limited to the jewelry adorning the stars.
“It’s not in the book,” explained Peter Facinelli (Carlisle Cullen), showing us the crest on his ring. “It’s just something Catherine came up with, and we all thought it was pretty cool. We all decided what our character would wear, and I decided that mine would wear a ring and it would double as a wedding ring. Some characters thought, ‘Well, I’ll have a choker.’ And some thought, ‘Well, I’ll wear a wristband.’ So they had them all made. It’s pretty cool.”
Head over to the MTV Movies Blog for your first look at the Cullen crest, and then let us know: Do you think the “Twilight” filmmakers are doing a good job at walking that fine line between creativity and compassion for what the fans want to see?
Every Tuesday is “Twilight Tuesday” here at MTV News! Check back here each and every week for the hottest scoop on the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s beloved vampire series, and we’ll still bring you breaking “Twilight” news throughout the rest of the week. And make sure you check out the MTV Movies Blog for our ongoing “Twilight” discussions each and every day.
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