May 7, 2009, 3:04PM The Vancouver afternoon is wet and gloomy. The peaks of the North Shore Mountains are obscured in fog. This is weather that might lure out a vampire. Or so I hope. I’m in Vancouver to find them.
Amid the gas stations, superstores and baseball fields of the industrial south side of the city is Vancouver Sound Studios. Our van rolls into the parking lot, and suddenly, I am at the epicenter of a worldwide sensation and a billion teenage (and middleage and every other age) fantasies.
This is the set of New Moon.
3:36PM Our passes for the day say “USM,” for “Untitled Sports Movie.” Seems New Moon, which has been filming here and around Vancouver since March 23, is a major covert operation.
3:37PM The four other reporters and I are escorted onto Stage B. The soundstage is a massive warehouse filled by a nearly-as-massive set. On its outside, the structure looks like a plywood shell, but a glimpse through the door reveals an ornate marble palace very similar in appearance to a traditional Italian cathedral. I have entered the Volturi lair.
3:40PM A bank of monitors display what New Moon director Chris Weitz is filming on the other side of the wall. Onscreen now are Dakota Fanning and Cameron Bright, both Twilight Saga newbies, sporting deathly pallors and red contact lenses. The pretty woman with the long glossy hair sitting to my right is Stephenie Meyer. The only way I could get closer to central command of the Twilight universe would be to climb on her lap and ask her to tell me a story.
3:45PM Michael Sheen, as the Volturi leader Aro, taunts Edward on the other side of wall. The scene goes like this:
Aro: “Let’s see if she’s immune to all of us, shall we Jane.”
[Cut to Dakota. Her black-rimmed red-centered eyes coordinate with her evil little smirk. Sinister. Whoever she’s directing her gaze towards — presumably Bella — is in for a world of hurt. Jane’s power is the ability to inflict pain.]
3:55PM A group of male, seemingly Volturi-affiliated vampires hang out under a pop-up tent. All are dressed in black suits. Some read and others play with their phones. They all wear red contacts, which are, out of context, alarming.
3:57PM A second tent is for the New Moon royalty. No one is inside, but the back of one director’s chair reads “Alice Cullen.” On the other two, “Edward Cullen” and “Bella Swan” have been taped over. Someone took a Sharpie to the tape and scrawled “Robert” and “Kristen,” respectively, in big block letters. Robert’s chair is in the middle. Make of this what you will.
4:02PM Saga superstars Ashley Greene, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson pass by me on their way to set. My heart rate picks up the same way it used to for Hanson.
4:15PM Stewart, Pattinson and Greene film a scene with the Volturi. It goes (more or less) like this:
[Bella, Alice and Edward, who wears a long maroon cloak, stand near the entrance of the ornate room. Aro steps off the dias towards our daring trio.]Aro: What a happy surprise. Bella is alive after all. I love a happy ending. They’re so rare. La tua cantante [Italian for “your snger”]. It makes me thirsty. Her blood appeals to me. How do you stand to be so close to her?
Edward: It’s not without its difficulties. (RP says this with intensity).
Aro: So now you know everything. Fascinating. I’d love to see if you are an exception to my gift as well. Would you do me the honor?
[Aro seems to meditate on Bella.]Interesting. I see nothing. I wonder if — let’s see if she’s immune to all of our powers, shall we Jane?
4:38PM As Aro, Michael Sheen is regal, charming, spooky and just a touch off his rocker. Fans are going to adore him.
KEEP READING: Former werewolf Sheen speaks! [PAGEBREAK]
A Feathery Chat With Michael Sheen
You arrived on set three days ago. What is it like to come in so late in shooting?
Michael Sheen: It’s been great shooting at the deep end of it. The first day filming, we did the 18th century stuff and then some of the modern stuff. It was a lot to deal with — you know with the wig and contact lenses all day and the makeup — but it was fantastic. And these sets are amazing and the look of everyone is so strong. So it was great. Just kind of to get right into it.
Is there an irony for you, playing a vampire after playing a Lycan in Underworld?
MS: I feel a bit like a traitor now that I’ve swapped sides. The vampires get to wear much cooler clothes in Underworld and in this. So now I get a nice bit of tailoring instead of raggedy leather.
The nice thing about playing a werewolf is that you don’t have to worry about getting dirty on set. At lunch time, I can have a lie down, and it doesn’t matter because I’m supposed to look rough, versus this where I have to look perfectly tailored and groomed and clean all the time. So I can’t sit down or do anything because I’ve got all this white makeup on, and I'm wearing black clothes. I’ve got to be really careful that I don’t get covered in stuff.
How did you approach playing Aro?
MS: I loved the thing in the books where Stephenie wrote about how the Cullen family is all really beautiful, and that’s what kind of lures people into their web. And Aro is not like that. She describes Aro as being not the same sort of thing.
I like the idea that it’s his voice that lures people in — and his sort of demeanor rather than the way he looks — because he looks very weird and kind of scary. So I’ve tried to sort of go down that route to make him very mesmerizing. That his voice is quite gentle and soft, and yet there’s something kind of unhinged about him. They’re great scenes.
Stephenie was saying that she loved writing this scene that we’re doing now. I read it over and over and over again, that particular bit in the book. There’s a part where she describes his voice as being quite feathery. That’s what gave me sort of the idea of making him very soft and light. I think she describes it as being like a sigh, his voice. And that he’s a bit like a concerned grandfather at times with Edward. Even though he’s this deadly, really dangerous character, there’s something quite sentimental about him, something soft.
4:58PM Sheen is whisked back off to set before he can answer the next question. An ancient vampire lord’s work is never done.
5:08PM So, um … OM-F-ING-G! Robert Pattinson is walking by. ROBERTPATTINSONISWALKINGBY!!! By ME! Don't CHASE him. Stay PUT. Be cool. FOCUS! Focus.
5:15PM We talk with the Twilight Saga’s screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. For some reason, the interview takes place outside the soundstage in the parking lot, by a garbage can. In the rain.
An All-About-the-Script Talk With Melissa Rosenberg
How was writing New Moon different from Twilight?
Melissa Rosenberg: In Twilight, you’re setting up the world. You’re introducing the world, and I was also writing in a vacuum because I didn’t know who the actors were going to be. Now you’re going to New Moon and Eclipse, and I could write specifically to them in my mind. So it becomes a more comfortable world.
New Moon is not about setting up the world, but it’s its own set of challenges because New Moon is very internal ... There’s been a lot of talk about how Edward and the Cullens are not a part of the middle of New Moon, but actually they are. Certainly Edward is very much alive in Bella’s mind throughout New Moon ... I think fans will be very satisfied with what we’re doing — one, because it’s true to the book and two, because there’s more Edward. That can’t be bad!
Can we surmise then that we’ll see more of the Cullens and Victoria throughout New Moon?
MR: I think you could surmise that, yes. Yes, you can. You will.
On writing Eclipse:
MR: The third one was hard. Actually, the hardest one of the three for me to write. I was so disappointed that it was so hard to write because you read the third book, and it has a great feel with action and conflict and you think, "Oh, this is going to be the easy one," and it turns out it’s not the easy one. It’s actually the hardest of them all.
What was fun about doing Eclipse was that Stephenie — any writer when they’re creating a world like Stephenie has created — has to know all the parts they’re doing. The book is entirely from Bella’s point of view, but she has to know as a writer what all these other characters are doing when they land in Bella’s world. So she has a very, very complex, detailed mythology, as anyone who knows the Twilight world knows. It’s very detailed, which is why this is such a great world to play around in.
With any sci-fi fantasy storytelling, you must have rules be very clear, otherwise you lose people, like "OK, they can fly; now they can’t fly." So her rules are very, very distinct, but within that, there are just miles of playground.
I think there’s going to be some fun with it, but it’s still very much the book. From the very beginning with Twilight, that’s what Stephenie’s one thing was: "Do the book. Adapt the book. Don’t use the book as a jumping-off place ...." That’s what her one rule was, and that was the only thing I wanted to do anyways.
On writing with the actors in mind:
MR: I’m definitely able to write toward them ... To me, they become interchangeable with the book, because they’re so much those characters. When I first saw them, when they were first brought on, I was just stunned at how perfect the casting was for them. And Catherine Hardwicke and Summit did a really extraordinary job of finding them.
When I wrote Twilight before they came on, I would kind of sometimes lean towards quippy, sometimes broad humor, sometimes very dark. I added a lot of that into the Twilight script, and it wasn’t right. So I actually kind of went a little bit away from the book in some ways. The actors kind of brought me from the screenplay back to the tone of the book. So it was them helping me find the tone of the book — and Catherine, of course.
Her favorite character to write:
MR: I’m really enjoying writing Jacob. Jacob’s a great deal of fun to write. Charlie. Particularly writing for that actor Billy Burke. Charlie is someone — Billy Burke is someone — who you just can give a line to, you can give him a deep emotional line or a funny one-liner, and that guy can deliver anything and always brings something new to it. Of course, I love writing the relationship between Bella and Edward — it’s really important.
The biggest challenge:
MR: The biggest challenge is the Bella/Edward, because you’re always writing a line between real intimacy and what’s true versus overly maudlin or melodrama. True romance and true drama — that’s always the line.
5:02PM Ashley Greene sits next to Stephenie Meyer. They are deep in conversation.
5:30PM The actors have ditched Stage B for the day, which makes it the perfect time for me to lurk around Casa Volturri on a self-guided tour.
The lair is a high-ceiling, cathedral-like room composed of marble pillars and porticos. My Latin is a little rusty, but the script on the wall translates to “no one is above law” (full disclosure: I Googled it). The words “death” and “life” are also engraved in the marble.
5:40PM A crewmember walks by me with a Sprite. He holds up the can. “There’s blood in here,” he says with a wink.
5:42PM There is a raised credenza at the front of the room on which four ornate black and gold chairs sit. Each chair has a gold lion’s head on the armrest and a different design above the headrest. Behind the chairs, there is a brightly lit window that suggests an outdoor balcony.
The door “outside” opens to a loggia decorated with fountains and stucco animal (pigs, horses, lions) statues. I touch the pig (don’t tell!) and realize the whole structure, fake fountains and all, is made of Styrofoam. Impressive.
6:03PM Walking to another soundstage to watch Robert Pattinson do what he does best. I won’t lie -- the awareness of where I’m going and who I’m going to see when I get there puts a real pep in my step on the walk over.
6:07PM Robert’s body double stands in front of a green screen while Mr. Pattinson has the gray suit he’s wearing fitted a bit. He’s filming some “apparition work” i.e., a scene in which he appears to Bella in vision form.
6:09PM Starstruck, dazzled, utterly enamored.
6:13PM A long-haired, middleaged set guy in an Iron Maiden T-shirt grumbling about where the hell his dinner is walks by and pulls me back to reality. Or as much in reality as one can be while surrounded by werewolves, vampires and movie stars.
KEEP READING: An interview with the enemy! [PAGEBREAK]
6:15PM Rachelle Lefevre, the villainess vampire Victoria, comes over to talk. On screen, she’s a stone-cold killer. In person, she’s beautiful, ebullient and ultra-friendly.
A Stunt-Heavy Interview With Rachelle Lefevre
Will New Moon's action look the same as Twilight’s?
Rachelle Lefevre: It’s so much wirework. It’s so much actual doing-it. In terms of the look of it … I think Chris has approached things as it should be, a little rawer and a little more literally grounded.
I think it was very flighty in the first one, so when we were running fast it was almost like you weren’t touching the ground … I think he’s factored gravity in a little more than they did in the first film, so that might have a different look as a result.
On New Moon's underwater action:
RL: I spent six hours in a pool doing the underwater stuff. They did a really interesting thing where they did this amazing stunt with the bit where Bella gets caught in the tidal wave … I think it must have been 2,000 gallons of water in massive -- they looked like huge, rectangular cargo containers you put on the back of trains.
First, they did it with a stunt double, and then they did it with Kristen’s photo double, and then they literally, on action, pulled the hatch and she got pummeled with a massive tidal wave and you could watch underwater, which I did because I was in the pool, or you could watch in the monitor. You could literally see her spinning, they created a tidal wave, and they literally filmed until she got spit out. And when it spit her out, the cut was over.
It the stunt work scary?
RL: It’s scary for me because I don’t like heights, but there’s a really interesting thing that happens which is that I’m absolutely terrified when I’m up there, and then they go, "OK, rolling!" … It’s just one of those things that happens to you. So, as me, I’m afraid, and as Victoria I just do what they tell me to do. It’s this bizarre thing where you don’t want to get all the way up there and not do it. Failure’s just not an option, so you just do it.
How close do you come to Bella?
RL: I don’t know that I’m going to say. [Laughs] Let’s just put it this way -- she lives -- so not close enough.
Does Victoria still wear her "Kiss Me I’m Irish" T-shirt?
RL: No, I got a different outfit. Thank God, 'cause you’re wearing the same thing over and over and over again, and you’re like, I don’t ever want to see that again.
Is Victoria still barefoot?
RL: No. Stephenie gave us permission for Victoria to be wearing shoes in this one because there was so much stunt work that that would have just really jeopardized our safety.
Stephenie always has to have a reason for everything, so there was a whole conversation about why and if I should be allowed to wear shoes, and the idea was that the barefoot thing was something they all did together, the three of them -- Laurent, Victoria and James. Now it’s Victoria on her own, and she’s a hunter and she’s out for Bella, and it’s a mission. So I insisted that if I wear shoes, they be military of some kind to symbolize that I was on a mission, so I’m wearing combat boots.
On working with directors Chris Weitz and Catherine Hardwicke:
RL: The fundamental difference between Catherine and Chris is -- for Catherine, it was all establishing everything; it was literally bringing the world to life. So I think that, first of all, she’s just different as a director.
She’s very raw; she’s very high energy; everything is really, really high energy, and she really gets in there with you and sometimes, when they’re trying to quiet people on set, you look over and it’s Catherine having a conversation with one of her actors. She’s super-amazingly energized and animated. And at the same time, I think there was so much going on with having to create every little detail that you got the sense that every second of her energy was accounted for, and she laid the foundation for.
Chris is just much quieter and calmer anyways, but also I think he’s come into a world that somebody went through all that to bring to life. So I think that part of the reason he came in just a little more quiet was to sort of respect the fact that he didn’t just show up like, "OK, guys! It’s Chris Weitz’s Twilight now!" He didn’t do that at all. He respected that somebody else had laid the foundation … He’s executing beautifully, because we both feel both directed and respected in terms of what we’ve already done. We love him.
How will New Moon be different from Twilight?
RL: A lot of times when I ask fans, "What’s your favorite book?" people say Twilight. The reason I hear a lot is, "Well, it was my first entry into this world," and it’s sort of like that first bit that you can never really get back. Your first time. So New Moon is kind of like you know who the characters are, you have some idea of where it’s going, particularly if you’ve read the books, and now what you get to do is watch the real struggle.
Now, nevermind figuring out who everyone is, figuring out who the actors are with who you had in your imagination vs. who they cast. All that is gone, and now all that is set, you get to watch a really horrifically gut-wrenching love triangle. And a real struggle. It’s so character-driven. They haven’t lost any of the actions sequences … but at its heart, I do think it’s becoming a coming-of-age story, more than just a boy-meets-girl romance, which was beautiful, but not as complicated as it gets now that Jacob is really in the mix.
Are you still going to lose your head?
RL: I sort of feel like you can’t really change that. I would love to do a version of Romeo and Juliet where they live happily ever after, but that ain’t gonna happen.
6:35 PM We call it a day. Thank goodness. All this glamour is exhausting.
10:07PM Returning to my hotel post-dinner, I see Stephenie Meyer standing in the lobby. I contemplate whether to leave her alone or do my job. I say hello. She shakes my hand warmly. Her eyes are friendly. The two women constantly at her side eye me suspiciously. Their eyes, not so friendly. When I tell her I’m in Vancouver covering New Moon, the kind eyes get wide.
SM: “I’m not allowed to do any interviews." [Awkward silence] “Are you enjoying your trip?”
"Yes. Sure am."
SM: “Well, have a good night and enjoy the rest.”
With that, she walks out the door and vanishes into the night with the same efficiency as the characters she’s created.
KEEP READING: Day Two! [PAGEBREAK]May 8, 2009, 11:30AM In the production office of New Moon — or excuse me, “Untitled Sports Movie”
Teenbeat posters of Taylor Lautner sans shirt hang on the walls. A dry-erase-board calendar for the month of May is filled with entries like “Bella’s House: Exterior,” “Volturi” and the last week of May, also the last week of production, reads “Italy.” New Moon’s Italian-based production will take place in the Tuscan city of Montepulciano, which will serve as stand-in for Volterra.
12:05PM Back on the Volturi set. Ashley Greene wears a roomy, wooly, gray jacket and Kristen Stewart is in dark jeans and a dark, short-sleeved button-down shirt. Robert is wearing that damn maroon robe again. He looks like hell -- ashy skin, dark circles under his eyes. Either he’s working through a wicked hangover or the Volturri have not been good to him in the scenes leading to this one.
The three do the same scene several times. Stephenie Meyer is in her chair talking about Grey's Anatomy.
12:08PM A young female production assistant collects cash for “$5 Fridays.” Seems everyone on set attaches their name to a $5 bill and throws it in the bag. Whoever’s fiver gets picked wins the bundle of Canadian money.
12:09PM The set smells like soup. Mmmmm.
12:10PM A posse of moms is watching filming. Cameron Bright’s mother shows off his headshots on her phone. “Isn’t it hot?” she asks. I hold off on saying yes. The kid is 16.
12:30PM “Everybody, shut UP!” says the voice coming through the megaphone. Seems the set isn’t quite as quiet as it needs to be in order to film. The aggressive megaphone yelling puts the decibel level in check.
12:31PM While watching footage of Kristen looking pale, windblown and anxious in front of a mountain, we’re informed that “all visitors must clear the set.” “All visitors” clearly refers to “all six reporters,” as we are the only people promptly escorted out. What the Forks just happened?
12:35PM I chat up a crewmember during our banishment to the parking lot. He says that in addition to Italy and Vancouver, New Moon has also shot in Tofino, a small village on the west coast of Vancouver Island. He doesn’t say what exactly was shot there, but this photo of Tofino looks very similar to the opening aerial shot of the New Moon trailer:
1:02PM We’re let back in when it starts raining. No idea what happened while we were gone. Kristen is still filming her scene.
1:04PM Rachelle Lefevre’s little sister has been watching filming all morning. She gives her phone to one of the moms. The woman takes it: “Hey, Rachelle! This is Dakota’s mom!” Awww.
1:10PM Jamie Campbell Bower is taking on the role of Caius, a Volturi, in New Moon. Bower is a bit of a miscreant. He has little regard for whose face he blows his cigarette smoke in. His hair is lank. He’s a bit crude. I effin' love him.
A Totally Cool Chit-Chat With Jamie Campbell Bower
Your character, Caius, wants Bella dead the most. How much of that will we see in the film?
Jamie Campbell Bower: As in the book, the Volturri play a small but necessary part in this film. They come much more into play in the fourth film. I’m playing Caius very angry and agitated with the world, I suppose. Just glaring looks. You’ll see as much as you read in the books.
Do you think Caius is agitated because he’s the only vampire of the three who doesn’t have a power?
JCB: He doesn’t have a power! He’s just pissed off about that! He’s so angry! He doesn’t like Bella because he can’t eat her. He’s not happy about that. Why is she there if he can’t eat her? What’s the point?
What power would you give him, if you could?
JCB: I’d give him the power of love.
Doesn’t Caius have a wife?
JCB: He does have a wife, yeah, but she doesn’t seem to be around. I don’t know where she is.
What went into your research? Did you read the books? Did you get to talk Stephenie?
JCB: I haven’t had a long discussion with Stephenie. My plan is to have a long discussion with her at some point today. Maybe it won’t be a long discussion, maybe it will be like five minutes.
Yeah, I read the books and I did a lot of online research, because it’s good to know what people who’ve read the books think about the characters as well. Because the books alone have such a huge fan base. You’ve got to stay true to what people want to see, I think. So I did that and talked to lots of people. And my friends gave me their ideas as well.
Did they make you audition for the role?
JCB: They did! They did make me audition. Disgraceful, isn’t it. Shocking!
Did you read the books before you auditioned?
JCB: No, I didn’t read the books before I auditioned, no. I went off the sides. Once I got the role, I obviously read the books. My 15-year-old brother kind of sat me down and insisted. I went back to my mum, and she was like, "You’re going to read this, and you’re going to read it now!’ I was like, "OK, that’s cool."
What went into your audition? Was there more than one?
JCB: It was one day. I originally auditioned for the role of Demetri. I went in, did a taping. Chris wasn’t there. Then they called me back at like 2:00. Chris turned up; I met Chris. A week later I get a call like, "So, you’re not going to get Demetri, but we’re going to offer you Caius." I was like, "That’s cool!" I’m just psyched to be a part of it. It’s awesome.
Are you going to Italy?
JCB: I’m not going to Italy. No, I have to go back to London to go and do Harry Potter, which’ll be nice. I’m playing Grindelwald, Dumbledore’s old friend, possible lover, who knows.
Do you know?
JCB: It’s not in the script -- hardcore love scenes -- but that’s the rumor anyways. I don’t know who’s playing the young Dumbledore. I’ve only gone in for my fittings and stuff.
Did anything in Sweeney Todd prepare you for this?
JCB: I don’t think so because my role in Sweeney, he was kind of soppy. And he was nice; effectively, he was a nice guy. And Caius is, I don’t want to say not nice, but he’s a little bit more brooding and dark.
1:37PM Stephenie Meyer is drinking a Diet Coke.
1:44PM Meyer approaches our group and says hello. I introduce myself, and she remembers me from the hotel lobby. BFFs! Her people, the ones with the suspicious eyes, remind us this definitely isn’t an interview and that she’s just saying hello. Okaaay.
Meyer says she reads gossip sites to find out what people are saying about all things Twilight, and that she feels rude for having to avoid us and our questions.
“It’s awkward, and I feel really unfriendly.”
She is effusively nice.
1:50PM Stunt coordinator J.J. Makaro takes a break from staging an epic vampire fight to talk with us.
A Behind-the-Wires Talk With J.J. Makaro
How different will the stunts and wirework be in New Moon?
J.J. Makaro: We’re striving for a look of our own. Basically, what we’re doing is we’re trying to strip down all of the old things you’ve seen in vampire movies. If you’ve seen it before, we’ve tried to get rid of it, tried to figure a different way on it. I’m hoping we’re going to come up with something that’s really cool.
In the first movie, the goal was to make it more like a Hong Kong action-type thing. Are you going far away from that?
JM: Yeah, we’re trying to tone the Hong Kong aspect down and go more real. Going to the actors, we spent a lot of time talking to them about what their character would be and what kind of performance. Rather than teaching them how to fight in a particular style, we’re trying to adapt our fights to match their style that they already bring with them.
There aren’t a lot of fights on this show. Mostly it’s been about chasing or jumping and transition of being a human to wolf, and selling the fact that the wolf boys are something that we don’t quite understand yet.
We have wirework, but we’re really trying to not do a lot of it. We don’t want to get into the Hong Kong, floaty stuff that you see all the time, vampires hanging in the air and all of that. It’s a tough call, because wires are wires, and the inherent problem with them is exactly that. They get floaty on you. So we’re having a heck of a time trying to find the balance that gives us enough to make it supernatural without it being over the top.
What's Rachelle’s (Victoria's) wire work like?
JM: She’s been doing some really awesome work for us. Her and her stunt double have gotten a great shorthand between them, and they communicate very well. We’ve been out in the bush slamming her stunt double all over the place, into trees constantly until we get everything to where we feel confident that we’re not going to hurt Rachelle, and then we do some stuff with her. She’s done some really good stuff, and she’s tough, too. We don’t have to baby her. She’s really keen and a really hard worker. So it’s a pleasure doing it.
Most challenging scene of this movie for you guys?
JM: I think in terms of complications, it’s going to be the fight. Like I say, we’re trying for something different. It’s kind of become cool, because we’ve given ourselves so many limitations that there’s only so many holes you can squeak out of to make it work, and it's created its own thing. It’s really exciting to see what it is.
What adjectives would you use to describe it?
JM: What we’re doing is trying to go inside the vampire world. Everybody always looks at it from the human world. So we see them hanging in the air. We see them doing all this stuff that we think of, but in reality, they’re way faster than us. So there’s a lot going on that we don’t normally see.
In most movies, you’d turn around and there’d be a vampire there and then they’d be somewhere else. We’re trying to go into their world and see what’s happening for a little bit and then come back into our own and see what it’s like. And trying to find the juxtaposition of all of that is where the interesting moments are in this fight that we’re working on.
How much CG is being used to create the fight?
JM: There’s a fair amount. But the fun of doing these kinds of shows is concentrating on using the CG to enhance what’s happening rather than using it to tell the story. So we have a lot of CG work in here. There are parts of it that have to be, because you just physically can’t create that element, but more it’s about just cleaning up. We’ll do something and then they’ll go in and clean up what we’ve done.
KEEP READING: Werewolf sighting! [PAGEBREAK]
2:00PM I spot a picture of what has to be the Wolf Pack on the background of a laptop. Two wolves are a russet-red color, two are white and gray, and the one in the center (Sam Uley, me thinks) is black and slightly larger than the other four. The Wolf Pack will be created exclusively in CGI, but we did learn there was a live wolf on set for the filming of one of Bella’s dream sequences.
2:04PM A production assistant hands Stephenie Meyer a copy of New Moon. She signs it. He thanks her profusely. Some relative is going to be thrilled.
2:07PM Supporting actor Charlie Bewley is terribly handsome, has a British accent that will charm your socks off and might just give Mr. Pattinson a run for his heartthrob money. He plays Demetri, a Volturi.
Swooning British-Accented Banter With Charlie Bewley
New Moon is your first screen credit. Can you tell us how you got the role?
Charlie Bewley: How I got involved in Twilight is that I just auditioned. And you know what? I went on to TwilightersAnonymous.com, and I asked them about my character … for the first audition stage. They gave me some insight into who he was and everything, I read the book really quickly to find out about the character, and I just realized that a lot of him is about me.
He’s this tracker. He obviously does a lot of running, and I do loads of running, so I just worked out of it. It was very easy for me to play the character, as opposed to building the character from the bottom up … it’s a lot easier when you’re acting, to do that. So I just made the character myself, and when I got called back for the second audition, it was in front of Chris [Weitz] and it was in front of Wyck [Godfrey], and I was just myself. [Laughs] I was just, you know, charming and smiles and everything. I wasn’t typically vampiric, in that sense. And I think Chris liked it; he started laughing.
In Stephenie Meyer’s book, Demetri is described as polite …
CB: Very polite, yeah. And I’m just a nice English guy. I’ve had my trouble, and it’s gone. I’m just a nice guy who doesn’t want any trouble. [Laughs] I think Demetri is someone who ... seeks out trouble and adventure. He’s getting very bored, having been alive for thousands of years. I think he’s interested in trouble -- nonspecific -- or adventure -- nonspecific -- or any kind of action. I think being a vampire, or being alive for 3000 years, just makes you very bored. Look at Marcus’ character; he’s very apathetic, and he just sat there … he just wants to die.
Do you actually know Demetri’s backstory, based on what’s in the book?
CB: I made it up.
CB: Demetri was obviously Italian. And at a young age, he was orphaned. He was living in the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius -- the big, volcanic mountain -- and in 900 A.D., it erupts. Lava starts pouring down, and his parents get caught in it. Their house gets taken apart. I outrun the lava, into the foothills, where I found a place where I was safe, essentially. But I couldn’t provide for myself, so I was thrown into slavery. I went through various masters but they couldn’t pin me down, because I was so nonchalant and arrogant and just ran away from everyone; it was really frustrating. I kept getting sold on to the next guy -- the next master, for the best price they could get -- and I was too nice for someone just to kill me.
So eventually I got sold to a merchant trader in Rome, who dealt specifically in fighters, and I found myself in front of the Coliseum with these baying, bloodthirsty Romans, desperate for gladiatorial combat. I didn’t have any fighting skills, so I just ran around for three hours and no one could catch me -- until somebody shot me with an arrow. I was lying on the floor, I was about to die, I was waiting for Commodus’ verdict of thumbs up or thumbs down, and he’s about to give it a down when Aro comes in and whispers in his ear and says, “Don’t kill him, I’ll take him.” Aro converts me in the depths of the Coliseum himself, and I’ve been working loyally for him ever since.
Did you think of sharing this with Stephenie?
CB: [Glances at Stephenie nearby] Oh, yes, Stephenie’s there! I actually asked Stephenie …
Are you going with the crew to Italy?
CB: Yeah, we leave on the 24th. I can’t wait.
How many weeks will you be there?
CB: Just five days, I think.
For those who haven’t read the books, does your character come back?
CB: He does. I recur until right at the end, when I get killed off.
What power would you give Demetri if you could give him another power?
CB: That’s a good question. [Pauses to think] I think he’s a little bit pissed off that Jane has taken over the head of the Volturi; he hates that. Ergo, I think he would take a psychological power …
2:15PM Charlie has to go back to set, but he promises me that he’ll figure out the power he’d give Demetri and report back when he decides.
2:30PM Mr. Bewley motions me over as we watch filming. Seems he really has been pondering the question. Love it.
In an English-accented whisper, Charlie reveals that he’d give Demetri: “the power to change people’s minds.”
“For example," he says, "in the scene where Demetri is first introduced to the fray, Edward refuses to come with Bella. He says, "Bella, you go off and enjoy the festival. I’ll go with Demetri and Felix." If Demetri had the power to switch Edward’s mind and change his mind, he wouldn’t need Jane to come in and clear up the air, how slow they’re being. Jane’s brutally efficient because she’s so dangerous. This is why she’s head guard, and I hate that, as Demetri, because I used to be God. So that’s what I’d do.”
KEEP READING: It's Taylor time. [PAGEBREAK]
2:50PM Taylor Lautner meets us in the parking lot wearing a sick pair of high-top sneakers and black skinny-leg jeans. He is polite, well-spoken and has perfect skin. Totes dreamy ... for a 17-year-old.
A Big-Guns Interview With Taylor Lautner
On his stunt work:
Taylor Lautner: I’ve been doing a lot recently. The cool thing is that they’ve pretty much let me do all of my stunts. I got to do all the dirt-bike riding. I got to do this really cool sequence that I’m actually not going to tell you about. You’ve got to wait to see it. But the stunts have definitely been my favorite part so far.
On his physical preparation for New Moon:
TL: I had to put on some weight. While filming Twilight, I knew Jacob’s character transformed not only emotionally and mentally, but also physically. So I immediately, the day after filming Twilight, hit the gym and started eating a lot, good food, and trying to pack on pounds. Here I am, 30 pounds heavier.
Was it harder or easier that you thought it would be?
TL: The actual getting-into-the-gym, working-out process was easier, but the eating was harder. Because I had to eat, and everybody was like, "Are you kidding me? I’d love to eat like that."
I had to eat every two hours, and at one point my trainer was literally like, "Put anything in your mouth. Go to McDonald’s. Get the biggest shake possible. I just need to get calories in you," because my body fat at that time was only 7.5 percent. I’d wake up, and my trainer would be like, "You need to have six egg whites and bacon and toast." It became a lot. So that was the hardest part, and especially putting something in my mouth every two hours.
Are you maintaining that?
TL: Yeah. I am. I’ve kind of gotten used to it … I’m definitely keeping it up while I’m up here.
Can you describe what movements you had to learn for the Wolf Pack scenes?
TL: The biggest thing with Jacob’s physicality is that pre-transformation, he’s described as clumsy; he trips over his own feet, he’s a little kid, and he all of a sudden becomes very agile. It wasn’t certain movements or specific things I had to do. It’s just all of my movements together, even as simple as walking, had to have more of a presence and definitely be easier than before.
What percentage of New Moon do you spend shirtless?
TL: I’d say the same as the books. I’m not going to give you a percent, but the great thing about this series is that we stay true to the books. So that’s what it’s gonna be. So if you’ve read the books, you know what the movie’s going to look like.
Are you using your martial arts expertise?
TL: No. it helps with the agility, yes. But it’s not like Jacob comes out and kung-fu’s the vampires.
Will you put on more weight for Eclipse?
TL: Yeah, I am. Jacob continually grows throughout the series so that means no matter if I’m going to film or not, I’m still going to have to put on a little bit more weight.
Do you have a target weight?
TL: I’ll shoot for another 10. We’ll see what I can do, but I’ll be working hard.
How often are you going to the gym?
TL: About five days a week. I put on a lot of weight, and at one point I started losing weight dramatically. And I was like, what’s going on? Why am I losing all this weight that I put on? And what I realized is that I was actually overworking myself. I was going seven days a week. I wouldn’t take a day off. I’d be in the gym for two and a half hours and I was burning more calories than I was putting on. So that was my biggest problem, and then I had to cut back to four or five days a week and not be in the gym too long.
What about the wig?
TL: The long hair is definitely a wig. I just wrapped with the wig a few days ago. That was amazing. The whole crew gave an applause. I was so happy.
Are you going to keep it?
TL: They were like, "So do you want to keep it?" and I was like, "If you give it to me I’ll probably burn it."
What’s been the biggest difference between the Twilight and New Moon shoots?
TL: We know what we’re making this time around. For the first film, we really had no idea we were making a big film, we just knew we were all in love with the series and wanted to make a great movie, but we didn’t know that all the people were going to fall in love with the movie and it was going to be as big as it was. Now we’re coming into New Moon with a little bit more pressure. But we’re trying to push that behind us and not think about that and just stay focused on what we need to do.
The differences between Chris and Catherine?
TL: They’re both so talented in different ways. What I love about Chris is the set is very calm, and we’re just having a lot of fun making the movie. And then you sit back and you look at the results that are happening, and it looks amazing so far.
I’m so excited to see it. You just sit back and see what’s going on and it’s like, "How are we having such an easygoing relaxed time, and it’s turning out the way it is?" But at the same time, the conversations with Catherine, she just related to us so well. So does Chris. They’re just talented directors, and I’m thankful I have the opportunity to work with both of them.
Have you had a chance to meet (Eclipse director) David Slade yet?
TL: He came up here briefly. I was in the middle of a stunt rehearsal, and he showed up with Wyck [Godfrey], one of our producers, and he was like, “Hey, this is David.” And at this point, he wasn’t signed onto the film, and I had no idea who he was. Then all the sudden he started putting these camera hands in my face like, "Yeah, I think this would be a good angle right here." And I was like, "What is he doing?"
Then finally as he was doing that, Wyck was like, “Oh, I should probably tell you who this is. This is David Slade. He’s probably going to be doing Eclipse." I was like, "Oh, that makes sense now."
If you could give Jacob, or Jacob as a werewolf, one more power, what would it be?
TL: Oh, boy, that’s a tough question. Probably, man … I want to steal one of Edward’s powers because I like it, but then I feel like I’m betraying Jacob if I say that.
Which one of Edward’s powers would you take?
TL: Well, I don’t want to sparkle. He can read minds though, right? … I’d kind of like to read Bella’s, like Edward can.
What has been your favorite scene to film so far?
TL: I’d either say some cool action scene I got to do, because I really do like the action. Or I really like the breakup scene. We call it the breakup scene. It’s the first time Bella sees Jacob after he’s transformed when she comes to his house. And she sees for the first time his hair is cut, he’s different. He tells her that we shouldn’t be friends. It’s a really emotional scene.
Considering how moody Jacob gets, do you feel bad for Bella at all?
TL: I don’t feel bad one bit. I feel bad for myself. When I was reading the books, I felt so bad for Jacob’s character, but now that I’m actually living him, I feel way worse.
Bella is toying with Jacob. I don’t care if she’s ripped between the two guys. I feel so bad for Jacob because she confuses him. One moment she’ll want to kiss him, and the next moment she’s ditching him for Edward. I understand where Bella’s coming from, and it’s a crappy situation for all of them, but I feel really bad for Jacob.
A lot of fans are really looking forward to the scene in Eclipse where Bella and Jacob finally have the kiss.
TL: Yeah, so am I.
KEEP READING: Star sightings in the food tent! [PAGEBREAK]
3:27PM I’m hungry like Jasper Cullen at a bloody birthday party. I round up coffee and as many mini chocolate pies as I can take without feeling tacky (three) at the craft services tent. Also in the food line are Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Cameron Bright, Charlie Bewley and a handful of the other walking dead.
4:30PM Cameron Bright stops to say hello outside the food tent. He is sweet, refreshingly normal, and his Canadian accent is charming. A mini pie falls from my hand while we talk, and Cameron doesn’t bat an eyelash.
4:42PM This adventure is coming to a close. En route to the Vancouver airport, Rick, the teamster who’s been driving us around for two days, says that in his years of experience as a set driver, the Twilight pandemonium is one of the more unique things he’s seen.
"When you think about it,” he says, “It’s not really that different from the Beatles. And we’re here to see it. We’ve all been part of a moment.”
Fans and haters will say what they want about the books, the movies, the actors, the screaming girls, the rumored romances and everything else related to this nebulous universe of fanaticism, fame and fiction. Ultimately though, Twilight has wedged itself into our cultural consciousness as a pop culture phenomenon.
Rick is right. Whether we like, love it, or, like, really LOVE it, this is Twilight's moment.
New Moon Set Visit Day One, Twilight's Volturi Unveiled at Rottentomatoes.com
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Set Visit Part 1 at Fandango.com
New Moon Set Visit: A Fan's Perspective at MSN.com
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Set Visit - Day One at HitFix.com