By Sara Castillo
After sifting our way through the masses of striped tights and manic panicked-out Twilight fans at Comic-Con, we had the chance to talk to author Stephenie Meyer and director Catherine Hardwicke, the masterminds behind both the multi-media phenomena. Both were more than a little excited to be there, and to chat about their collaboration on the highly anticipated upcoming movie. They also confirmed our assumption that everything is cooler when vampires are telling the story…
Note: After reading the following interview, be sure to check out our conversation with stars Taylor Lautner and Edi Gathegi, Twilight’s Jacob Black and Laurent and our Twilight Video Interviews!
So what do you think about all this anticipation and all these people walking around with these “Team Edward”/“Team Jacob” t-shirts?
Meyer: No pressure at all. We feel no pressure, it’s fabulous!
Are you surprised by the frenzy? It seems like there’s been excitement since it began.
Meyer: You know, it’s been building. At my first event, we were so lucky to scrape together twenty people who would come and listen to someone who had never done a book before. It was actually great, because we could sit and talk and really get into the characters, and I kind of miss those days.
How important was it to be true to the book in the film?
Meyer: They came to me before Twilight had come out, and I knew that it could go either way, and actually it usually goes the bad way more often, I think. But, what pulled me through was the idea that maybe I could just see one scene on-screen that was right. Like the meadow scene. That was what I really wanted, and I felt like it was worth the risk. It was touch and go -- we were just talking about it -- there was another script that they could have filmed, and called it Twilight, and it had nothing to do with the book. When Summit came into the picture, they were so open to letting us make rules for them. Like, "Ok, Bella cannot be a track star! Bella cannot have night-vision goggles."
Hardwick: Because the earlier script they had before was just pretty crazy. She was a track star in the first scene. I read it and I was like, “This isn’t the girl I love from the book.” So everybody wanted to make it as close to the book as possible, though the book is long and we can’t have everything. We have the sweetened condensed-milk version.
How much communication did you two have during the process and were you ever at odds?
Hardwicke: I wasn’t like, “I want to do my own thing.” Because I wanted to do what Stephenie had created and make it as cool and make everybody embrace it, and make those characters come to life. I tried to talk to Stephenie, but she was a bit busy writing two other books. Plus, she knows more about it than we do.
This story is from a woman’s perspective. You’ve got a female director, a female screenwriter and it’s got such a strong point of view. Was that important to you, to have those voices in there?
Meyer: It was, for me, a very natural thing to write from the female perspective, because I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing. I wasn’t thinking, “Wow! I want to promote girl power.” This was just for me. It was just a real natural thing and I am glad that it’s in the hands of a woman, because I think that you see things differently. I’m also glad that the male fanbase is building because we grew up, ladies, [looking around the table] reading books through school that were written by men. We’re assigned to read them, and you get the male perspective down pretty well. But boys don’t always have to read books written by girls or see movies from that point of view, and I think it’s just good for communication to have that interchange of ideas.
Hardwicke: I think Stephenie is able to go into the guy’s point of view too because after reading some of Midnight Sun you really get Edward’s point of view too.
Meyer: If I would have known how this story was going to turn out, I probably would have started writing from Edward’s perspective because it’s so much more exciting when the vampires are telling the story.
It seems like you two are at the forefront of what’s becoming a trend of ladies at Comic-Con. Do you think this is a cultural movement in the works?
Hardwicke: We’re taking over the world.
Meyer: I think it’s cool that there are a whole bunch of girls here. I wonder what the percentages normally are for girls and boys here...
How does your vision of Edward and Bella match the actors who have been cast?
Meyer: You know, I have a mental picture, and unfortunately people can’t pull those out to use them. But I’m actually amazed, particularly with Rob, because you know Edward’s a really hard one to cast. I didn’t really know if there was anyone who could do it. I knew it was going to be a version of Edward, but I didn’t know how good it was going to be. And when I saw a picture of Rob, I was like, “Yeah he could definitely do a version of Edward. He’s definitely got that vampire thing going on.” Then when I was on-set and got to watch him shift into Edward, he actually looked like the Edward in my head. It was a really bizarre experience, kind of surreal and a little scary. He really has it nailed.
Hardwicke: As you can imagine when you read Stephenie’s description you are like, “Who could possibly live up to that?”
Meyer: But look at the poster -- that’s Edward! I mean, come on!
[At this point even the reporters in the room get a little riled up and start giggling after someone sighs “sooo beautifu!l”]
Hardwicke: Come on, settle down!
Is his pallor influenced by make-up?
Hardwicke: Well, everyone wears some make-up when they’re on camera…but he’s British. They don’t have sun over there.
Meyer: He has naturally beautiful, pale skin. Then, of course, in the winter in Portland you can’t get any sun.
Bella’s not a typical teen in most ways. Why do you think she resonated with so many readers of different backgrounds and ages?
Meyer: I think she’s more of a typical teen than people give her credit for. She’s a little more withdrawn, she’s quieter. But there are so many girls out there that don’t know kung fu. And if a guy jumps out of any alley they’re not going to go at him with a roundhouse kick. When I was in high school I read, that was my main entertainment. There are a lot of people who are quieter, who aren’t having the Prada lifestyle or going to a special school in New York where everyone’s rich and fabulous. You know, there are normal people out there and I think that’s one of the reasons Bella’s become so popular.
Hardwicke: And her insecurity and her clumsiness. I can really relate to that. [Laughs.]