It’s Real Now. She’s a Vampire!

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The Final Chapter in the Phenomenon Begins

“Breaking Dawn begins with preparations for Bella and Edward’s long coming wedding and the chaos that ensues is followed by the honeymoon… and then the inevitable downfall that is always happening in Twilight movies,” laughs Pattinson.

“The plan is that Bella wants to have a real honeymoon with her new husband. This is a dangerous thing because he’s a lot stronger than she is, so she could easily get hurt or even killed,” explains Meyer. “Jacob’s aware of that and he’s horrified to find that they would risk her life that way.”

“The deal that’s always been in place for them has been that she wants to be able to experience every human situation. Bella really wants to have the full wedding night experience before she’s turned into a vampire. It’s a very human desire and she has that faith in Edward that he’s capable of not hurting her. So, he’s willing to try. They do and it really works out very, very well for them,” smiles Stewart. “She realizes that oddly enough, as much as she’s been fighting tooth and nail to become a vampire, the sooner the better, she realizes that she might want a little bit more time to be with him physically, as a human.”

“Bella and Edward take their honeymoon on a beautiful island in Brazil,” explains Pattinson. “It starts off quite nice and just gets progressively worse. It just goes downhill after they have sex.”

“The honeymoon is cut short by an unexpected pregnancy that is not the normal human pregnancy, it’s one that’s actually life threatening and it becomes very serious,” clarifies Meyer. “Bella’s health deteriorates really quickly and that was something very interesting to do visually in the movie. I don’t know if the book has the same impact as actually seeing her emaciated – the pallor and how sick and just really awful she ends up looking. Bella’s about to die and watching Kristen go through that transformation, because she’s already so delicate, was an interesting thing. It brings out a very maternal vibe. This is uncomfortable… it really got caught in your throat. It was so horrific.”

Once they realize she is pregnant, Bella and Edward hastily depart Brazil and return immediately to the sanctuary of the Cullen house in Forks, Washington and varying reactions to the news of a half human/half vampire conception. “There’s a general panic around the pregnancy. No one really knows what to make of it. No one knows how it’s possible, especially Edward. His self-loathing comes back with an enormous vengeance. He can’t convince Bella to do what he thinks is the right thing to do. Their relationship takes on a lot of strain after that point,” comments Pattinson.

“The shocking discovery occurs at the midpoint of the story and her assumption is that she is going to keep it,” says screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. “His assumption is that they should absolutely not keep it. So it becomes a struggle between them. He wants her to stay alive, but she’s made another decision. She has chosen to have this baby.”

Edward feels this baby is a death sentence, Bella feels it is a miracle. “They have very different feelings about who that child is,” agrees Stewart. “Edward’s just terrified of it and thinks that it’s going to destroy Bella and that she’s ridiculous for thinking she’s strong enough to have a vampire baby. He thinks it is Satan’s spawn, because that’s how he feels about himself.”

“Bella’s forced to make decisions that you just don’t have to make at this age. That’s the weight that she deals with throughout this series, and she deals with her struggle really well,” adds Stewart. “I know some great young parents, so you can root every aspect of this story in reality. Bella’s just been put in a unique circumstance, but it really wasn’t hard to imagine what it would be like if that happened. It was so perfectly drawn and satisfying. I felt like fighting for the baby. How could you let something like that be destroyed after all of this, after everything you fought for? They’re definitely adult matters but they all could really happen, if you take all the vampy stuff out.”

“When they were on their honeymoon, Jacob’s convinced she’s going to come home a vampire, so he’s still in the mode of technically we should attack the Cullens for turning a human into a vampire,” explains Godfrey. “The alpha wolf Sam has made the decision that it’s her choice and not the wolves’ business, which frustrates Jacob, who actually has the bloodline to be the alpha.”

Upon their return, Jacob finds out Bella has not yet been turned into a vampire. “Jacob comes over to the house and is excited when he finds out that she’s back, but then she breaks the news that she’s pregnant,” exclaims Lautner. “That was quite a shocker for Jacob and once again he loses it. It’s very complicated. It breaks the treaty and it definitely causes a lot of stir among the pack.”

“The fantastic thing about this is within a day of being pregnant, she’s where she should be at three months,” explains Godfrey. “Within a week, she’s where she should be at two trimesters, so whatever’s inside of her is growing at an incredible rate. It’s certainly not all human, it’s half Edward, and they don’t know what that’s going to do. It’s bruising her and breaking ribs. She believes she can live long enough to deliver and be turned at the last second, but perhaps she’s bit off more than she can chew. All the nutrition is being rejected from her body. The fetus is growing and using up all of her energy and she’s looking more and more emaciated.”

The threat to Bella from this accelerated pregnancy dramatically changes the dynamic between Edward and Jacob. Edward enlists Jacob to convince Bella to abandon the pregnancy that he fears she can’t survive; and at Edward’s request, Jacob agrees to kill Edward if Bella dies. “In the first one, it’s a strange relationship because Edward can’t have a totally whole friendship with him because Jacob doesn’t want one really,” says Pattinson “Edward doesn’t really want one with him either, but they’re forced into almost living together and eventually bond because they both really want the same thing for Bella. They both want her to be okay and they both think she’s being crazy by making the decision she’s making. Jacob wants to push Bella in the other direction just as much as Edward does.”

“Jacob is scared for her and thinks that this is a monster inside of her,” continues Godfrey. “Worse yet, Sam finds it unacceptable. ‘This thing can’t be controlled. We don’t know what it is. Let’s attack.’ Jacob doesn’t want the wolves to kill Bella. She’s still human. So, there’s a real internal debate amongst the wolves about what to do. At that point, Jacob finally takes the leadership role that he’s always been destined to, and he makes the enormous decision to break away from the pack, runs to the Cullens and warns them that the wolves are going to attack.”

Lautner adds, “Jacob’s always been a part of the pack and he’s always been led by Sam. When the split of the pack happens, Jacob is forced to grow up and become his own man. When he finds out about the pregnancy, his first thought is this thing is going to kill Bella, let’s kill the baby instead. Who cares about this baby? Why should I care about this baby? I care about Bella and I think everyone’s crazy, including Bella for wanting to have it. This makes no sense, you’re going to die. That’s Jacob’s point of view at first, but once he hears Bella’s position, he supports her. He doesn’t necessarily agree with it, but they’re going to do their best to make sure she does survive. Meanwhile, Sam and the rest of his pack, their number one goal is to destroy Bella and that doesn’t go over well with me.”

While the wolves keep the Cullen house under siege and Jacob’s new pack (Leah and Seth join him) tirelessly keep them at bay, a lot is happening inside the home as the Cullens work feverishly to discover the nature of the fetus. “I finally become friends with the whole Cullen family, including Edward and Rosalie,” says Lautner. “That takes a while, but we get there and we become family and it’s so different to see Jacob in that situation. This whole franchise he’s hated the Cullens, he couldn’t even say the word Cullen, but now he really is a Cullen. He lives with them and they are his priority in this movie. Jacob realizes that they are a real family, a strong family.”

“I was really looking forward to having Taylor be this new element in the Cullen house,” shares Meyer. “We’ve seen him a lot with Bella and we’ve seen the Cullens as a unit. So to throw in this person who doesn’t belong and see how they react to him was a lot of fun. In the novel, it was the same experience to see how Esme responds to him and how he can’t really react negatively to Esme. Jacob and Rosalie’s little battle throughout was one of my favorite things to write. His hatred for her and how much she annoys him is really enjoyable. Taylor’s so much fun to work with, everyday we get him on set it’s great. Jacob and Alice also have a sweet moment. They get a chance to interact in a way that they never have before. They’re on the same side, which softens him towards her. She can’t see anything good about what’s happening. They can finally get each other and it’s interesting moment that they have, because they’ve never really had any kind of moment together before.”

“Part 1 is less about everything going on outside and more focused on the character growth, allowing everyone to see inside their minds and really learn how they all come together,” adds Lautner.

“It is weird to see Taylor in the Cullen house with everybody. He definitely sticks out like a sore thumb,” comments Stewart. “One of my favorite scenes in the book is when he throws a dog bowl at Rosalie’s head. I get a huge kick out of that. He throws a hot dog at her, which I also find really funny.”

When not on patrol outside the house, Jacob is constantly at Bella’s side, while the Cullens, unable to hunt, become hungrier by the minute. “Jacob has a very different reason to want to protect Bella,” adds Stewart. “He has an innate desire to protect literally the child inside her, which we don’t find out why until the end of the movie. But, he thinks that she’s ridiculous for wanting to keep the baby, but he doesn’t want her to die. So for whatever reason, Jacob just can’t let go.”

“Bella has always liked being around Jacob and she’s always drawn to him as a friend. But there’s an almost supernatural pull that she has towards him when she’s pregnant,” adds Rosenberg. “She really craves his presence.”

Throughout the pregnancy, Edward has had to deal with Bella’s choices. “Bella gets on a roller coaster and brings him with her and he just has to deal with Bella driving,” describes Pattinson. “He has to learn to love Bella, no matter what she does, because again he always forgets that he’s not really supposed to be making decisions for her anymore. Up to this point, he hasn’t been able to connect to the baby. When the fetus gets old enough and starts thinking for itself, he can finally hear thoughts of the child, which obviously is a phenomenal relief for him because it’s just been a black nebula inside Bella’s womb, which is doing nothing but killing her. That’s definitely a good moment for him.”

“For Edward, the baby has not been a real person. She’s just a danger to the most important thing in his life… until he actually hears her,” reveals Meyer. “What changes everything for Edward is the fact that the first thing he hears is how much the baby just adores Bella. She’s already very aware. Her mental capacity is so far beyond what a human newborn would be or even a young human child. The baby is aware of Bella. She loves her… she’s crazy about her. She understands her. This child loves Bella so much, that Edward can’t be immune to that. So then all of a sudden, it’s not just about saving Bella’s life, it’s about saving this very real person. Their baby had only been the bad part of him that’s killing her, the way he always was afraid that he might. Then now, it’s not. The baby is now part of her and it’s something beautiful and innocent and full of love and that changed everything for him.”

“Everyone else is very aware of this shift in Edward, but it doesn’t change everyone’s opinion,” adds Meyer. “Jacob most notably has a very hard time. He sees it as a betrayal that Edward has turned on him. They were together to save Bella and in hating this creature that was killing her, then Edward drops out of that. For me that was a really interesting shift in the book, to watch him struggle with that aloneness.”

Carlisle determines they will need a larger supply of blood for the imminent arrival of the baby, to be called Renesmee. So, in order to allow some of the Cullens to escape the house, Jacob fools his old pack by telling them he will destroy the baby when it is born, setting up an exciting vampire/wolf pack chase sequence. “When the blood supply runs out, they have no choice but to go out and get some more, but they can’t because the house is surrounded. So Jacob distracts Sam’s pack, while Carlisle, Esme and Emmett escape to find more blood. So Jacob takes a hit for the team and that’s where it gets tense,” exclaims Lautner.

Godfrey is excited for fans to see how Part 1 ends, leaving them breathless to see Part 2. “The final act of Part 1 is the traumatic birth itself. Carlisle, Esme, and Emmett have left to try to get food; Edward, Jacob, and Rosalie are left to deliver this child, which has come at an unexpected moment; and Bella’s back breaks. The real climax of our movie is, as Bella’s about to give birth, the wolves are charging to the Cullen’s house. Jacob and Edward are just trying to save Bella’s life. Will she live through it or not? We think we’ve got a great way to leave the audience for the next movie.”

“As soon as Bella goes into labor the movie becomes crazy,” adds Lautner. “It’s a fast pace. Everybody’s freaking out. There are so many things to do and so little time to do it. We know the chance of Bella surviving is very slim unless everything goes completely perfectly, so we all become focused. We’ve got one goal in mind and that’s to make sure she survives this, but it is nuts.”

In the last two films, Bella actually becoming a vampire has been the worst thing Jacob can think of, until it becomes the only way to save her. “As time goes on and it really looks that she’s dying, Jacob comes to the point where he doesn’t care what form she survives in, as long as she survives,” comments Meyer.

Bringing the horrific birth, described in gory detail in the book, to the screen was a daunting task for the filmmakers. “That’s been a real well thought out process for Bill Condon and the rest of us to figure out how to capture the texture from the book without crossing over into something that may be too grotesque for our audience, because the descriptions in the book are pretty incredible,“ admits Godfrey.

“The challenge is to capture that in a PG-13 movie. Very early on, I decided it’s got to be shot from Bella’s point of view. From the minute we get down there on that bed until the baby is born, we’re not going to see anything beyond what Bella could see,” explains Condon. “Edward will disappear out of frame and we will hear something, he will come back and he’s bloodied, and something’s happened. It’s really wild. If you’ve read the book, you know what’s happened. If you haven’t, you wonder what’s happened. I think that’s exactly how it should’ve been. It needed to be just impressions, as the morphine begins to spread through her system. So hopefully we hit the right balance there.”

“The birth scene was tricky because it could have been a gore-fest, but it didn’t have to be and that’s the thing,” adds Rosenberg. “The way Stephenie wrote it in the book is very much from Bella’s point of view and that’s what really inspired me. It’s not about blood splattering the walls. The birth scene is really about the life or death moment. It’s about the terror. Because Bella’s at the center of it, her point of view conveys everyone else’s terror, as well as her own.”

“I found the birth scene more emotional than gruesome,” reveals Meyer. “Some of the motivations in my writing are exploring things that I don’t have to deal with in my own life. Many times, I’ve thought about the idea that 100 years ago, if you were going have a baby, you would literally be taking your life in your hands. A lot of women died in childbirth over the centuries. It’s the closest thing to horror and torture you’re going face in your life and you’re doing it willingly. It’s a big deal. Today, giving birth is not the same thing that women used to face. Bella’s literally in a place where she is taking her life in her hands to have this baby. It is going be dangerous and there’s nothing she can do, but she’s still willingly choosing it. That’s really a reflection of what my ancestors had to go through, a real woman’s experience. That spirit of saying ‘I’m going to be able to do this’ fascinates me.”

“Edward has to make the decision really between Bella and the baby. It’s always going to be an almost impossible decision to make,” says Pattinson.

“The wedding and having Renesmee, those two moments, made me feel like I could burst into pieces,” admits Stewart. “Now that they’re done, I cannot even begin to tell you the relief. I could start hysterically laughing or crying right now thinking about it. It feels so good to be finished with that stuff because I was so, so, so nervous about it.”

“As we were shooting it, there was a lot of fake blood on set, so there’s some horror in there, but it was so much about the emotions of the characters, and Rob really nails it,” continues Meyer. “When it looks as though she’s dead and he is trying to revive her, in some of the takes he’s in total denial. ‘She’s not dead. She’s fine.’ As he’s working on her, there’s this mania of him being unable to accept it. It was really powerful. I teared up… several people near me did. It was just a lump in your throat, that moment of thinking you’ve lost everything and just not being able to accept it. It is the emotion that’s going to come through rather than the gore. I think it’s going to be a tears situation.”

Condon agrees, “Rob was there fighting for her life, when Taylor was there crying over her death, and I think those moments are so real because, for both of those actors, they believed what they were facing. These two actors, who care so much about not only Bella but also Kristen Stewart, they were very, very disturbed. There was something that happened when we were shooting where you could feel it. It was very intense. It didn’t stop between takes.”

“I loved doing the birth scene,” admits Pattinson. “I thought that was really fun. It’s relatable. Normally when people have emotional climaxes in fantasy movies, they’re generally attached to some mythology. But this is a real experience. There’s no way you can’t be moved by doing a scene with an almost newborn baby.”

Lautner adds, “Some of it was gross, but it was real and that was the coolest part about it. We really didn’t hold back and I think that’s what I loved about Bill so much is he wanted to make this birthing scene completely realistic, and it was. There were chunks of who knows what everywhere… blood, umbilical chords. It was intense.”

Becoming a father changes Pattinson’s character. “It’s such an irreplaceable union that he doesn’t think about just himself anymore,” reveals Pattinson. “He now thinks about himself as being him, Bella and Renesmee. He grows up a bit. He stops being so self-obsessed.”

“Jacob is just her support system throughout it, even though he has mixed emotions with this whole thing,” adds Lautner. “Obviously, he wants nothing more than Bella to live. There is a moment where he thinks Bella has died, and he loses it. But at the same time, he knows that if she’s going to live, she’s going to become a vampire and obviously, that’s the second worse thing Jacob would want happening.”

“Kristen did such a good job at giving birth. It was amazing to see. She had to scream and it was crazy. There was one point when she stops breathing and I have to give her CPR. At some moments, we couldn’t keep straight faces because she’s just dead,” admits Lautner. “Her lips are closed and I’ve got to wrap my whole mouth around her lips, it was funny at moments.”

Just as the wolves are coming to attack, Jacob looks into the eyes of baby Renesmee for the first time and experiences the magical wolf phenomenon of imprinting. “When the baby is born, Jacob is initially intent on killing it. It is a monster… it’s a beast that killed Bella. But the moment he sees her, the entire world disappears and there’s only her,” explains Rosenberg. “We first introduced imprinting in New Moon, where Jacob explains it to Bella, and here in Breaking Dawn we finally see it in action. We’ve seen hints of it, with Sam and Emily, we see the after affects, but here we go through the process with Jacob. We see him imprint, we go inside his head and we have the experience with him.”

“I was really curious about how do you solve the triangle, how do you not leave Jacob completely out in the cold, completely bereft?” asks Condon. “The idea that Jacob and everything that we’ve experienced with him is actually just leading up to what he was really fated for, which was a connection to the child that is created by Edward and Bella, is a great and crazy idea. That is the most amazing solution to the corner that you’ve gotten into. It’s this amazing, very original solution to the age-old problem of the romantic triangle.”

“But, let’s face it, there may be people that think it’s maybe a creepy moment of Jacob falling in love with the baby, even though it’s not,” admits Condon. “It was important to make sure that the essential idea of imprinting got expressed, which is that it is another bit of magic. Imprinting is a melding of spirits, so that visually we take it immediately to a place where you’re trying to find her soul. It’s not a baby that is imprinted on, it’s the essence of that person. A person who in a very short time is going to be fully matured, since she is a half vampire magical creature, whose growth and aging process is accelerated. As with all the other challenges posed by this book, once again I think the answer lies in making it a subjective experience and feeling what it’s like to be Jacob at that moment. We want to capture the fact that imprinting is part of the magical nature of this character.”

“Jacob imprints as the wolves attack but before Bella wakes up. They’re still in the moment where Edward is trying to bring Bella back, but Jacob is sure that she’s lost. In the novel, he felt this connection with her. He thinks this connection is with her, so once she dies, it’s gone. For him, that’s proof she’s dead, it’s over,” explains Meyer. “He’s devastated and sees Rosalie with that awful monster that just killed the girl that he loves, and he’s going to take care of it. He’s going to kill the baby and he knows the Cullens will kill him. Jacob doesn’t care. All he wants is revenge in that moment. Then he looks into Renesmee’s eyes and it’ll be interesting to see how that’s expressed on the screen because it’s a very difficult internal thing. On the exterior, I think that Taylor did a really good job. There’s a moment where he just crumples to his knees. You can just see how overwhelmed he is.”

“Jacob has been confused all along throughout this whole franchise. Why have I not imprinted on Bella? What’s going on? Why is she not falling in love with me? This makes no sense and finally when he imprints on Renesmee, it all comes together. The pull is not sexual at all, it’s just this fate. Shooting my reaction to the flash-forward was difficult. It starts with her as a baby and eventually I see her as a young woman. It’s this crazy moment. Basically there was a pink X on the wall that is Renesmee. Bill told me ‘I want you to walk up to her intending to kill the X, but then change your mind and imprint on the X,” laughs Lautner. “That was definitely the toughest scene to film in this whole movie.”

Many – fans and filmmakers alike – have struggled to fully understand the concept of imprinting. “My intention was to create a relationship that was very, very pure and so completely selfless, something that takes that bond of a mother to a child, and trumps it,” explains Meyer. “Someone who’s beyond even that, so tied to that child they cannot live without them.”

“Imprinting is a bond that’s formed between a werewolf and someone of the opposite sex. That bond is absolute and the wolf in question cannot live if something happens to that other person,” furthers Meyer. “He’s also bound by that person’s wishes to a degree that’s not normal or human. He’s incapable of harming her or hurting her feelings. He can’t be angry with her. His only purpose is to keep that person safe and happy by whatever means possible and so with Jacob, once he imprints on Renesmee, his whole life is wrapped up in her safety and happiness.”

“The question that I got to explore is, how free is the human in this equation? Because immediately for Renesmee, there’s that connection between them and she thinks of him as belonging to her from the moment she’s born,” adds Meyer.

“Jacob’s priority has always been Bella. He is going to protect Bella no matter what. He would do anything for her, but once he’s imprinted on Renesmee, she becomes the priority. He would jump in front of a train for her. He would sacrifice anything for her, so the priority has definitely switched from Bella to Renesmee.” explains Lautner.

“What’s neat about the Breaking Dawn story is that Jacob can’t stand to be away from Bella while she’s pregnant. He really won’t leave her side,” says Godfrey. “When Renesmee’s born and Jacob imprints, that Bella felt a pull for Jacob starts to make sense. Even though she was married to Edward, she couldn’t explain the pull towards Jacob. Also, he felt a pull to her and he says it was Renesmee, that’s what was bonding us,” says Godfrey. “That closure is really nice and elegant.”

The innate tensions between the wolves and the Cullen vampires also come to a head near the end of Part 1. “While the birth is going on inside, at the same time there’s a lot going on outside,” adds Lautner. “There’s a war… the wolves and the Cullens are in a major fight. After I have imprinted, I go outside to end this fight. The wolves can no longer try and kill Renesmee because I’ve imprinted on her, so that puts an end to the battle.”

A range of practical effects, special effects makeup, and visual effects were utilized to help the actors achieve the elaborate pregnancy and birth. “Kristen gets into the whole challenge of special effects, but it all comes down to the actors,” states Condon. “We had to do two very intense things – she gives birth and then she dies. First of all, the intensity with which Kristen played the pain and the incredibly unique difficulty of giving birth to this half human/half vampire was astonishing to watch. Nobody can play dead better than she can, everyone was marveling. We would have 90-second takes where it seemed like she was able to not blink and not breathe. I still don’t know quite how she pulled it off.”

“With the pregnancy and the pain, Kristen really dived into her research and allowed herself to go to these places,” adds Godfrey.

“Bella’s death scene is extensive and it’s really beautifully described in the book, the pain of the venom moving through the body,” comments Condon. “She experiences the full agony of what it’s like to transform from human to vampire, but it’s all happening inside her body. So again, we just decided to go right in there and experience the flames going through her veins. She’s screaming and nobody can hear it, so it’s classic horror movie stuff, but again, totally in a subjective way, leading to her death. That was fun because it was a way to hit all the moments of her life, both from our movie and the ones before.”

The end of Bella’s human life marks the beginning of her vampire life. “It’s just a really beautiful montage as Bella comes back to health and they’re cleaning her up and getting her dressed and everything that we don’t get to see in the book because Bella’s unconscious,” says Meyer. “At the very end, she’s looking amazing, vampire Bella is really stunning. We just get close to her perfect porcelain face and then her blood red eyes pop open. Shooting that really was a great moment because we knew that this was the end of the first movie, and although it was just one day amongst many, you could feel that excitement as wow, it’s real now. She’s a vampire.”

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