Calling “Twilight” a hot property would be like calling Justin Bieber “well-liked” by his fans — technically true, but a total understatement. Sure, for every Twihard, there’s a naysayer putting the books and movies down. Still, the pool of contenders who were vying to direct the final two installments of the film franchise included some real Hollywood heavyweights, indicating more than a modicum of r-e-s-p-e-c-t from the film community. The Oscar-friendly candidates included Bill Condon, Sofia Coppola and Gus Van Sant.
Obviously, Bill won the honor, but Gus opened up about the selection process when we caught up with him at the Cannes Film Festival. So what’s going through the mind of an Oscar-nominated director during an “audition” for a job?
“I got very nervous,” Gus revealed. “There were like 15 people. I had never really auditioned or gone into a job interview in that way since maybe 1988 or ’87. I guess I was unprepared for that. Usually people just hire me.”
When it came to helming “Breaking Dawn,” demonstrated talent behind the camera wasn’t enough — the producers wanted someone with a vision that would honor the book.
“In this case, they wanted me to talk about their project, which really needed to follow very closely the book, and which the outline was following very closely the book,” Gus said. “So there was a certain amount of room for illumination, I think, on their own project, but they were the experts.”
“Twilight” fans far and wide will breathe a collective sigh of relief at hearing what a priority staying true to the source material was in developing “Breaking Dawn.” Those who were rooting for Gus (that includes one Robert Pattinson, by the way, who the director says was actually responsible for his involvement with the audition process!), might be a little less happy. Van Sant said his pitch for the job probably wasn’t as in-depth as the “Twilight” gods wanted.
“I was talking about the book and really all I was saying was ’OK, this is great, let’s go do it,'” he said. “That was my pitch and I think they’re used to something else. They’re used to, for those of you who might audition for film jobs, they’re used to like a 40-minute dissertation with perhaps visual aids and a pep talk about how fantastic this project is going to be and I just didn’t know how to how do that.”