For Twi-hards, the arrival of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" on November 18 is bittersweet, as it's the first part of the final book in the series written by Stephenie Meyer. But it also marks a point at which circumstances change drastically for everyone involved, and the film's cast and director took care to address that at yesterday's "Breaking Dawn" press conference in Los Angeles.
The first three movies in the series have led up to this, the epic wedding between Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). After years of longing looks and restrained passion, Bella finally marries her undead beau and they take off to Rio de Janeiro for their honeymoon. When Bella discovers she is pregnant with a rapidly growing hybrid baby that is killing her, she is whisked home, and the wolves -- including best bud/backburner man Jacob (Taylor Lautner) -- want to retaliate against the Cullens for putting Bella in harm's way.
The PG-13 movie stops short of trying to replicate the book's gory details of the birth of Bella's daughter, Renesmee, but it's still the most mature film in the series and the one where Edward, Bella and Jacob are forced to grow up fast. "The fans who have watched these movies over the years have grown up too and are ready for more mature issues," said director Bill Condon. "The movie never received an R rating, but it was heading in that direction. It's very clinical what they [the MPAA] look for. If you show too much thrusting [in a sex scene], for example, it's an R."
"There's definitely an R-rated or NC-17 version of scenes in this movie," said Pattinson. "I read the script before I read the book, which was the first time I had ever done that. I was astonished when I read the birth scene. I had no idea it was that crazy and it was terrifying going into it. To have Edward, who is so held back and a pacifist, do this thing where he is suddenly stuck between an emaciated dummy's legs chewing through a placenta and getting cream cheese all over his face and pulling out what they call a baby with a wig -- it's like something out of a [Luis] Buñuel movie."
Even scarier to Pattinson was all the fuss about the wedding. "It seems like a bit of a hassle," explained Pattinson. "I was talking to Kristen about it, and the groom's role seems like a bit of a prop. Even playing the part -- it's a clear indication of whose day it when you're standing at one end of the aisle and the entire congregation is looking at the other end. You're wearing the same suit as every other guy there, and she's in this princess dress walking down. It's really whatever your wife wants to do. I wouldn't mind a fancy wedding, I just don't want to have to wear a silly outfit."
Pattinson told reporters that the minister in the movie was the real deal. Stewart seemed surprised at the suggestion. "Was he a real ordained minister? I'd like to find out!"
The great love triangle at the center of "Twilight" unravels in "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" because the wedding and pregnancy finally force Jacob to let go of Bella. "I go back and forth with Jacob's persistence," Lautner said. "If you love something, you better go after it no matter what. But there are moments where I am like, dude, you've got to get over it. She's married now and it's time to move on."
Since "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" and "Part 2" were shot together over a six-month period, there were times when Stewart had to be a virginal teenage girl in the morning, a vampire in the afternoon and an emaciated pregnant woman in the evening. "Every time I think of this installment, I think of a cat in the corner with claws out and belly swollen like, stay the F away from me," said Stewart. Fans shouldn't worry if it looked like she starved herself to play the sickly pregnant Bella. "That was totally digital," Stewart revealed. "We would have had to shut down production while I lost the weight or gained it back."
Although "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" pushes the envelope and shows how much the core characters have matured, Stewart is still honored to be a role model for young girls and that Bella is a part of her forever. "I'm pretty wrapped up in Bella and vice versa," she said. "If you're the type of girl to identify with Bella, then you just are her."