Bill Condon Talks About Cast and Characters

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Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson

“Everyone is very, very intent on making sure that the movies don’t betray what those books are,” shares Condon. “That was very important to me, as it was to everybody on the film. So, it’s great to have Stephenie Meyer around to go and ask a question about what would this person do. It was mind blowing to have the author right there, handy and able to weigh in on things. Plus, she’s just a lot of fun to have around… she’s got a really wicked sense of humor, especially as you got into the very intense stuff. She’s a funny woman.”

Meyer also enjoyed the collaboration. “Working with Bill has been great. He is very easy to talk to and also very open with what he’s doing,” says Meyer. “I’ve never worked with a director who will let you see rough cuts, maybe because he knows how good it looks… he’s proud of it. He has such a feel for pulling the humanity out of the fantastic situation, which is what I really like to do. On that level, we connect. He was able to get some really beautiful things with Bella and Edward in that moment where she’s choosing to die and Edward’s reaction. I think the reason why the birth scene is so emotional is because Bill’s touching on that human reaction to the loss, rather than the human reaction to the gore. Bill has a real sensitive touch for that. Also, it’s been fun working on the wedding – he’s had some great ideas about music that are so romantic. I think it’s going to be really beautiful.”

“Bill’s talents are very obvious – he has pulled Academy Award winning performances out of people that have never acted before,” adds Godfrey. “He’s helped his actors get many nominations, so he’s a great director of performance. Plus he’s won an Academy Award for writing. He knows story, he knows character, and he is able to find the visual way to portray character. Kristen, Rob, Taylor, and everybody who have been in these movies for three years, are constantly looking for something more. You really want to grow as a character and as an actor, so to bring someone with Bill’s maturity and sophistication into the mix on these final two movies is, I think, a real blessing for them. He is able to articulate the sophisticated themes in Breaking Dawn. These are kids who haven’t gotten married, haven’t been pregnant, haven’t had children, and to have somebody who can guide them was really important.“

Condon was anxious to work with the young leads in this female-driven story. “The fact that the central character is a woman – who is played by Kristen Stewart – was a big turn on for me. I’ve been a big admirer of Kristen’s, based on the other movies plus a couple of other things I’d seen her do. To be able to be her partner as she took this incredible journey across these two movies was number one on my list of reasons to do the project,” comments Condon.

“Thank God for Bill Condon,” says Kristen Stewart, who has portrayed the main heroine Bella Swan throughout the film series. “You need someone who’s on top of the details, so you can lose your mind and just feel it. Working with every director is a unique experience, just as is every friendship you have in life.”

“Bill is not only one of the nicest people to be around but he’s an awesome director, which is good to have on this last one because this one was intimidating to say the least,” adds Stewart. “It’s pretty ambitious. It’s insane to be involved with one thing for so long, because you really do bottle up an energy to the point where it’s going to explode and you hope to God that you’re working with people that know how to catch it.”

Robert Pattinson, who completes the saga in his role as the vampire Edward Cullen, agrees. “Bill’s great. He has such a hard job. It’s been such an intense shoot for so long and he’s stayed calm, nice, and very pleasant throughout the whole thing. He’s extremely talented and cares a lot about the project.”

“Also, Bill’s got a very different story to work with and a lot of people could’ve balked at the subject matter, but he embraced it,” shares Pattinson. “He liked the horror aspects, which is quite bold for a series that’s known for its romantic aspects. That’s interesting because there’s no point in just emphasizing the bits which they’re known for – make it exciting and different. I really respect him for that. He has some great ideas for visuals. Some of the scenes, which would be impossible to show in a PG-13, he’s thought of very artful ways to do it, which are not too graphic, but strong images that stick with you.”

Returning as Jacob Black, Taylor Lautner adds, “Bill’s number one focus was on the characters. Breaking Dawn deals with so many that we were definitely going to need somebody that could handle it, not an easy job. The crazy thing is that, as the characters were growing up in the movies, we were as well. I was looking at pictures of us from Twilight and we looked so young. It was crazy. I was sixteen years old. It’s an awesome experience because we’ve been able to grow up together for the past three or four years.”

He continues, “Everybody has grown close to Bill. We have so much fun with him. Bill is incredible. I don’t even feel like I have to talk about his talent, because he’s just amazing. He’s proven that. The way we all connect to Bill is really hard to find and I’m very thankful we were able to have that in these two movies. We definitely couldn’t have done this without Bill.”

The young actors were also grateful for guidance available from author Stephenie Meyer. Lautner says, “I can’t thank her enough. She created these characters and having her here has been amazing because, let’s face it, this is probably the most confusing and complicated movie yet. She has all the answers and is actually a little prankster. She’s quite funny. Everybody’s grown pretty close to her.”

“I wish that she had been on the set every day for the first few movies,” states Stewart. “I’ve loved having her here so much. On a movie set, everything is very much about energy. Even if a beat is perfectly written and everybody knows what they want from it, if everyone’s not literally amp-ing up to that moment, you could be the greatest actor in the world and it’s going to fall flat. Basically having Stephenie on set is such a serious motivator and an inspiration. Not to say that I don’t have that with every actor and with Bill, but it’s just different with the writer. She literally bore it and you want to do her proud.”

Stewart continues, “She’s so willing to talk to me about anything. Sometimes you just have to say things again and again that you already know, just because two human beings standing next to each other that share the same idea, the energy literally just sparks. When you don’t have that, you go home crying that you ruined the scene. Even though it works in the movie, it’s just that you didn’t feel it. With Stephenie around, you feel it all the time.”

Meyer also has thoughts about the expectations of the fans, especially regarding the wedding of the century. “I’m hoping with Part 1, the fans will get a fantasy wedding that lives up to a romantic ideal for them. I hope that they really feel like Bella and Edward have the romantic connection they wanted to see, that that they feel like it got there for Bella – that she was able to mature in the way that she should and that she’s earned her happiness. I think that would be a nice feeling.”

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