The Cullens Are Under Siege

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The Cullens Are Under Siege

Esme and Carlisle research vampire legends, trying to figure out more information about the nature of the unborn baby. “The pregnancy throws Carlisle for a little bit of a loop,” admits Facinelli. “Carlisle was not aware that it was even possible. We have no idea what this creature is or what’s inside of her. None of the machinery that he’s using as a doctor can actually read inside the embryonic sac. So this could be some demon child, this could be a vampire, or this could be human. We have no idea. We’re flying blind and it becomes a tug of war between Edward and Bella.”

“Alice is anti-baby more than pro-baby, but the hard thing is that Bella is dead set on going through the childbirth regardless,” says Greene. “Alice is Bella’s best friend and so she obviously wants Bella to be happy, but she ultimately wants what’s best for Bella, which is to survive, so she’s in a sticky middle ground situation.”

Being around the unknown fetus blocks Alice’s special ability of being able to see the future. “One of the big differences between the rest of the saga and this film is that you always seem to see Edward tormented and now you see the whole family tormented,” adds Greene. “Alice is definitely more frustrated than you’ve ever seen her. One of the more terrifying things about this baby is that Alice can’t see it inside of Bella, so she can’t see Bella’s future. Everything’s uncertain and Alice really can’t use the one thing that she usually has to help. So, Alice is going through a bit of a rough time and as always, Jasper’s there for her.”

“Bella and Edward’s honeymoon gets stopped abruptly by a speed bump if you will, a little baby bump that grows with expediential speed,” explains Rathbone. “No one really understands the possibility of a human being impregnated by a vampire and the whole Cullen family’s trying to wrap their minds around it. Bella wants what every young mother wants… the best for her child. So, she puts her own health aside, just throws it out the window, because all she’s concerned about is the new life that’s growing within her. Alice can’t see what the future of the baby is, or even if it is a baby. So what’s growing inside Bella becomes a huge debate within the Cullen family. Jasper is just going to follow his wife, no matter where the coin turns. This baby has an effect over every character in the Twilight universe, especially the wolf pack, and especially Jacob.”

The storyline gave Lautner the opportunity to interact with the Cullen actors more than in previous films. “I really haven’t had big scenes with any of the Cullens prior to this movie. Now I’ve have great scenes with Ashley, Nikki, Jackson, Kellan, Peter, and Elizabeth as well as Kristen and Rob. It was awesome to change it up,” states Lautner. “My favorite thing is the fact that Jacob’s been able to share experiences with each and every memory of the Cullen family. He’s grown close to all of them. You’ve never seen Jacob in that light before. It was just cool to explore that different side and wrap up the franchise with Jacob becoming part of the Cullen family.”

“Jacob really has become an extended part of our family now,” confirms Facinelli. “Carlisle has never had a problem with him, but Jacob had issues with vampires. We all have to work together for the same cause, and that’s inspiring. If you take that outside of the movie, when you have two mortal enemies and you have a shared responsibility for a common goal, then you can get along.”

Reaser agrees, “We’ve banded together. Jacob’s always been very protective of Bella, and now he’s living at our house. It’s fun for Esme because she gets to feed someone, which she loves. No one else in Esme’s family will eat food.”

“Jacob’s not going to let anyone harm Bella, so he ends up guarding our home. He’s our guard dog,” laughs Reed. “Jacob and I have a very fun, spunky, very lively relationship in this movie. Taylor is one of the most fascinating people to work with because of his eyes. They are so powerful, expressive, and soulful. Taylor and I have some of the most intense scenes, really strong moments that surround some really important themes in this movie, coming from where we stand with this child and this relationship and love.”

Like the Cullens, the wolves are divided. “The wolf pack is split up as to whether they should take out the Cullens, including the baby, because it’s a breach of the treaty for a vampire to impregnate a human or to even change a human. It’s a really interesting piece, and I was really excited to get into the more visceral elements… having to fight off the wolves is pretty fun,” admits Rathbone.

Greene adds, “The wolf pack sees the baby as a huge threat because it’s unpredictable and a huge threat to the treaty because it’s not going to know any better. It’s a very interesting situation because we have one wolf pack on our side, living with us and protecting us, and one wolf pack that wants to kill us.”

“We’re so hungry since we haven’t been able to go out and feed because we’re on lockdown in the house,” explains Reaser. “It’s just very hard because we are all starving, and Bella’s sipping blood.”

Also out of the human blood needed for the imminent birth, the Cullens must escape the house to get more. “That alone is dangerous because now we have the whole wolf pack against us. So just going out of the house means we’re putting our lives on the line,” explains Facinelli. “I think Jacob realizes when we make that decision, how much Bella is part of our family, and that we’re willing to sacrifice ourselves for this girl.”

“The Cullens are under siege with the wolves out circling the house. They are getting everything set up for what they might have to deal with when Bella gives birth. Then the wolves find out about it and all of a sudden they don’t have a chance for any more preparation. They are stuck,” states Meyer. “Carlisle was actually stockpiling a lot of her blood type, because they’re assuming Bella’s going to lose a lot of it and as a doctor, he does have access to blood.”

“It’s just painful,” admits Rathbone. “They’re trying to look out for Bella, but all they can think of is getting their next meal. The wolves are out there strong and every day that goes by the Cullens get weaker and their powers are slowly diminishing. It’s a tough spot for the Cullens. Bella is getting her strength back from a blood juice box basically, but the blood upsets the other vampires, especially Emmett and Jasper. Of course, Carlisle’s got his little blood supply on the side, but doesn’t tell anybody else about it, which is a little unnerving. Thanks for hiding this blood from us, even though we could really use it right now.”

“There’s no way for the Cullens to get their animal blood, and then there’s this human blood in the house. But, one of the things that Carlisle has discovered over the years is that it’s easier to stay away from the real stuff if you don’t touch it at all,” says Meyer. “Anyway, Jacob is able to make a distraction and Carlisle, Esme, and Emmett make a break for it to go get what they need.”

Bella goes into labor while they are gone. “Like every doctor in the world, when the baby comes, I’m off playing golf on the ninth hole and unavailable. Edward has to improvise and, with a vampire baby, it’s not just boiling water,” laughs Facinelli.

The tensions finally come to a head between the Cullens and the wolves. “The battle actually happens when they’re coming back with the blood. But that night, everything has gone wrong,” says Meyer.

“I’ve really gotten the taste for filming the fight scenes, that visceral real vampire side that I really wanted to portray when I first read the books,” says Rathbone. “Taking on the role of Jasper, I had to wait two movies to get to do any real vampire stuff. He’s going against every instinct that makes vampires cool to me… killing people, drinking blood, and all that really fun stuff. Finally in Eclipse, we get to see some bloodshed, a little action. The fight in Jasper really sold me on the character. The battles are my favorite scenes to do, because it’s who Jasper is. It wasn’t like he started fighting after he was turned, he was a warrior before and he’s still a warrior. Playing that on screen is comfortable… I find it disturbingly comfortable to play the malicious side of Jasper. I love doing it.”

“Getting to play a recurring character in a film series has its definite advantages,” adds Rathbone. “In between, you don’t miss the hours in the makeup and the hair chair… what you miss are the people. Everybody from our crew – the gaffers and the grips – all the way up to Summit, has been amazing. We’ve changed guards a lot of times, as we’ve traveled and had different crews, but there’s been a core unit that’s kept together. It’s been a beautiful thing to see the cast grow up together. But, the white makeup and contact lenses do get a little tiring.”

The actors also found inspiration in their leaders. “All of our directors have been really great in their own way, very different and unique, but equally just wonderful. But Bill is a whole new chapter,” comments Reed. “It’s not just that he’s a pleasure to work with, because he’s funny and always smiling, but he has the answer to every question. He’s more prepared than anyone I’ve ever worked with, his attitude and the energy that he exudes is what drives our set.”

“When I first heard he was on board, I was very excited because I knew that Bill would be an actor’s director,” admits Facinelli. “He has a very gentle way of directing, very open to actors’ ideas, and willing to try things that you bring to the table. I’ve never heard him yell, not once. He’s just a very gentle soul, very warm and so giving.”

“Plus, he’s doing two movies,” adds Facinelli. “When I got the scripts to these movies, they were almost 250 pages! It was heavy! When we had a discussion about Carlisle’s journey, I told Bill, ‘You have a huge road ahead.’ Good luck because it’s not going to be easy, but it will be very satisfying. We’re going to be there in the trenches with you.’ I have to give him credit… he’s our general and commander in this battle. It’s a beast to slay and he’s there every day, gung ho, 6 o’clock in the morning until we wrap.”

“I’m a real fan,” adds Reed. “I’m a real admirer and this is more than a job to him. Bill’s living and breathing this thing and it’s all consuming. I can’t imagine doing one of these, let alone directing two! I ask him every day ‘How do you still have hair on your head? How are you sleeping at night? How are you still functioning as a human being?’ These things can be so overwhelming and he’s doing more than a great job helping us to know where we’re at while shooting.”

“You want your character’s journey to have a beginning, middle, and end. When you’re shooting two movies simultaneously, shooting scene 3 at 5 a.m. and scene 118 at 8 p.m., you can feel a bit lost. Where am I? You always want to be interesting and engaging over the course of two movies, but it’s a lot of information to take in. So that’s why I’m so grateful for Bill Condon’s preparation and guidance in carrying this big load. When I don’t understand, he very calmly answers my question and never tells me that I’m an idiot,” laughs Reed. “When we first started rehearsing with Bill, he took us all into his room so we could talk about our characters. He’s coming into this when we already have three movies of experience, so he wanted to know how we saw our characters, where we took them, and what we want to do with them. He had some great ideas and we got to just talk and figure out stuff,” offers Lutz.

“Working with him has been so great,” agrees Greene. “Bill’s a patient, kind, and really talented director who’s super collaborative and it’s just been a very humbling experience. Hands down, I would love to do another film with him, or ten other films, because you get to set and he works harder than anyone. He’s probably up at all hours of the night figuring things out. Bill’s this ball of energy on set and you can tell that he loves what he’s doing. He’s creating his masterpiece, so it’s been really, really fun working with him.”

“We’re lucky to have Bill on board for these two films,” agrees Rathbone. “I’ve been a fan of his for years now. The guy has got a track list that is pretty phenomenal, so to have him joining our ever-growing roster of directors for the Twilight franchise is a great way to put a close on the series. It’s been a privilege and an honor and he’s a wonderful guy… really sweet and relaxed and that energy really permeates the set. It’s been hectic, but it’s as peaceful as it can be shooting a Twilight film.”

“I wish I had a dad like him,” adds Lutz. “He is just the nicest guy and I’m very fortunate to work with him. Bill’s very talented and always happy. He’s thought everything out. He always knows what he wants, he’s very personable, and he can work with the actors, which is really important, especially in a long movie like this with so many actors. Bill really cared about the Cullen family and showing even the little things, making the interacting moments seem more real.”

Rathbone adds, “Bill definitely has a sensibility towards characters, as opposed to the situations around them. His stories are really character driven, even if it’s in a very big fantastical world. You have very real connections in the way that the characters relate to one another. Bill definitely focuses on that and tries to bring that out of all of us as actors.”

The Cullen actors also appreciated the author’s insight into their complicated characters. “It’s really nice having Stephenie here to talk to because she is the creator. It’s nice to know if you’re on the right track. She’s embraced all of us,” says Greene.

“I really enjoy when someone who creates something still loves it and still wants to be a part of it,” adds Lutz. “I don’t feel like it’s something that Stephenie has to do, but she wants to be here. That really shows an artist’s passion for their project.”

“We’ve seen her beautiful face on set everywhere… everywhere we go, she goes. It’s wonderful because it’s hard to take a story from a book and portray it accurately on a film. To have the author here on these movies, helping guide the process really helps not only the actors, but I’m sure the directors and producers as well,” adds Rathbone.

“I was just so grateful to be a part of this amazing carpet ride and as busy as Stephenie is, she still cares about this. I really have to take my hat off to her. It’s just great to have her around,” says Lutz. “Twilight is an unbelievable experience and we’re all blessed. We’re fortunate to be a part of one of the biggest things that’s ever come in the movie industry.”

“We’ve all been together a really long time, so we’re all really comfortable with each other, which makes things a little easier. We’ve formed these bonds and connections and so we really do care about Kristen, which makes it easier to act out these crazy, intense scenes with Bella,” adds Greene.

“Honestly in the first film, it felt so natural coming together, we all just meshed from the onset. We’re all very different people, extremely different, but what family isn’t?” says Rathbone. “Those are the differences that bind us as we’ve grown together over the years. I’ve been really proud of my cast mates and the choices they’ve made and the things they’ve done and what they’re going to accomplish with their lives and their careers. I’m lucky to be around such accomplished individuals.”

“I’m a sad vampire dude, talking about the ending, but every story has its ending. As we get closer to finishing, do you get sad about the inevitability of it coming to an end, or do you look to cherish every moment before its gone? That’s where a lot of us are at right now, that precipice. What do you really focus on? I’m trying to focus on just cherishing every moment and enjoying the amazing people that I’ve had the chance to work with over the course of the years. I think we’re going to see each other again,” winks Rathbone.

“It never feels like we finish, because we’re always doing these movies,” smiles Facinelli. “We’ve done five of them in a three-year period, so it’s almost like we take these little mini breaks and then we’re right back in it. When you’re good friends with somebody, you can not see them for a few months and then you pick up right where you left off.”

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