Twilight is in theaters and the creative forces behind the film talked to SheKnows about the process. Author Stephenie Meyer, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and director Catherine Hendricke have collaborated on a gem.
The author: Stephenie Meyer
“I don’t know why people respond to these books. They do the way I do. I wrote it for me, it’s exactly what I want to read,” Meyer says of her Twilight beginnings.
“I had a specific audience, a 29-year-old mother of three. No one was supposed to read this except for me. And if I had any idea that anyone else was going to see what I was doing, I would never have been able to finish it.”
Input with script:
“It was a really pleasant exchange from the beginning. I gather it is not that typical. They (Summit Entertainment) were really interested in my ideas. I did not want to step on anyone’s toes. I didn’t know how to make a movie. I didn’t want to make it worse. I let them come to me and they did. They kept me in the loop with the script and what are your thoughts? They opened themselves up there. I sent them back the script with red markers across the whole thing. It was like, ‘wouldn’t Bella say this more like this?’ It was not this entire scene needs to go. They took 90 percent of what I said and incorporated it into the script.”
Iconic lion and the lamb line:
“That was interesting because I think the way Melissa (Rosenberg) wrote it, sounded better for the movie. It was a little bit more relaxed. But the problem is that line is actually tattooed on people’s bodies. Which I don’t approve of, by the way,” she says and laughs. “If you take that one and change it. That is a potential backlash situation. Do something for the fans that is what I thought about that.”
“When we started out, I sold the rights to a different company and I got a look at a script that was objectively, probably a pretty decent vampire movie. But it had nothing at all to do with Twilight. That was a horrifying experience. I know that’s because I’m naive. (Laughs) So when I went back into this and I had learned. Summit said we really want to do this and I was just not sure. They said, ‘what can we do for you?’ I said what if I give you a list of things that absolutely cannot be changed. I’m not saying it has to be exactly like the book. Very fundamental outline things like vampires have the basic rule of the vampire world I created. That means no fangs,” Meyer remembers.
“That means no coffins. The characters have to sparkle in the sunlight. They have to exist in their present names and present forms. You can’t kill anyone that doesn’t die in the book. Working with a new company like Summit, you don’t get that with huge group. I knew they wanted to do it like it was in my head.”
“When I was writing Twilight, I never thought anyone would read it. But, when I read books, I totally cast it in my head,” Meyer says. “I’m very visual. I did the same thing when I was writing it. If I hadn’t had a good feeling about it, I wouldn’t have agreed to do it in the first place. It was a sense that this was a natural next step for the story. That made me feel I could go ahead with it.”
On her director:
“The first time we started talking to each other, I knew this was the person whose focus was going to shape this film. We were on the same page from the very beginning,” Meyer says. Aspects of the filmmaking process that the author was worried about, Hardwicke had anticipated. “She got it. I loved working with her. She’s really cool to hang out with. She’s really an awesome person. Catherine’s fantastic.”
Watching her vision
“As a whole it was so overwhelming,” Meyer says. “I was ready for it to be bad and I was watching it through my fingers and I have this notebook ready for notes. It begins with this voice and it’s Kristen’s (Stewart). Then, it’s Bella’s voice. It got to where I completely forgot why I was there. All the scenes, there were so many things were like Deja Vu to see them. When the movie was over and the producer was there and she asked for my notes, I said, ‘give me a minute.’ I was so overwhelmed. I had to have a moment to just sit and think because it so much to take in. So many scenes were as I envisioned them. It was partially creepy and partially wonderful.”
On her stars
“Rob, we sat down and talked about Edward’s character before filming started when I came in and met everyone. (Laughs) It wasn’t an argument, but we actually disagreed on this character. He’s like, ‘no, it’s this way.’ The funny part about it is here we are arguing about a fictional character and yet in the performance, he did what he wanted. It was still exactly what I wanted. That was really cool,” Meyer says.