HOLLYWOOD, California — Hundreds of people were bitten by [movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] mania Friday night, as the immense Hollywood & Highland complex was overtaken by shrieking fans of the vampire series. After word spread that star [movieperson id="1014864"]Ashley Greene[/movieperson] had chosen to celebrate the film's DVD release with an appearance at the mall's Hot Topic store, Twilighters began lining up mid-afternoon. By midnight, chants of "Ashley! Ashley" were filling the night air, and only discs full of bonus features could quench the thirst of the grinning mob.
"We're very hopeful. I have an intuition," claimed Rose, 18, standing near the front of the long line with her friends and insisting that she shares a special power with Greene's character, Alice Cullen. "I decided to come here tonight because I knew something would happen. I am confident!"
"We're so excited. There have been people here since 2:30, and the more people that show up the more exciting it gets," said Tammy, 32. "I might just have to crash in my car after it all. I've never been so excited. This is all a movement. ... We're having a party tomorrow and making 'vampire kiss' martinis!"
All night long Twilighters shared messages on Facebook, Twitter and other web sources, playing "Where's Waldo?" all over the country with their favorite stars, who were making surprise appearances at DVD-release parties. Catherine Hardwicke popped up somewhere in Texas; Nikki Reed was in Chicago; Solomon Trimble posted on his Facebook that he'd be at a Wal-Mart in Wood Village, Oregon.
"Everyone's everywhere," Greene laughed when we spoke with her at a secret location in the catacombs of the mall, just moments before she surprised the shrieking fans. "I was wondering how the crowd turnouts were going to be, because I was thinking, 'There's a ton of us [actors], and I don't know if there's that many fans. But I've heard that there are a ton of fans here, and they're really excited. [The studio] threw us all over the country, and nobody knows where we are. It's a big secret, and I'm excited!"
Still, she said, even after a year of life as Alice Cullen she isn't accustomed to the craziness. "It makes me really nervous; you don't get used to it," the actress admitted. "At least I don't yet; check with me in five years. It's amazing. I've said time and time again that just to be part of something like this, you don't dream it. Obviously, you want to make films and movies — but this is kind of a phenomenon.
"It's an amazing feeling to know that people care so much about the film that they've seen it however many times — and they're still here, at midnight, buying the DVD before it even reaches stores," she marveled. "It's an ego boost."
Speaking of phenomena, we asked her to rank the three biggest teen fan bases out there right now: "Twilight," Miley and the JoBros. "In my life, obviously it's 'Twilight.' It's the huge determining factor in my life and my career!" she said, adding, "But that's not to say that the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus aren't amazing."
Asked which fan base would win in a bloody duel to the death, however, Greene didn't let her followers down. "We would kick butt," she laughed. "We're all awesome vampires."
With our interview concluded, Greene gave us big hugs and hoped she wouldn't be a letdown for the fans outside — especially those like Vanessa, 16, who had been at the front of the line since 2:30. "She's gonna be so disappointed that I'm not Rob," the actress laughed.
Of course, such statements couldn't be further from the truth. On this evening, after a deafening countdown to midnight from the line, Greene would show up on cue, jump behind the counter and say hello to everyone who bought a DVD. The affable actress would smile for photos, talk about "New Moon" and enjoy her night as an honorary Hot Topic clerk.
But before she went in, as the fans' shrieking reached its feverish pitch and flashes went off everywhere, Greene spotted 15-year-old Naelli Ortega, who was wearing a black "Twilight" T-shirt and sitting in her wheelchair near the front of the line. Holding up the festivities for a moment, the actress posed for photos with Ortega and her friends — even waiting patiently as someone tried to figure out how to work the camera — and then planted a big kiss on Ortega's cheek.
"I saw the movie three times," Ortega said, beaming after her celebrity encounter.
"I saw it 13 times in theaters. I have all the ticket stubs to prove it," said her friend Julietta Bennett, 18. Asked why she'd wait in line 12 hours to buy a movie she'd already seen so many times, her answer was simple: "Because it's awesome!"
Check out everything we've got on "Twilight."
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