A Twilight film without Rob Pattinson? A new Jacob? Catherine Hardwicke fired? These questions have kept Twilight fans up at night in the year since the sequel geared up in production.
Fans can finally see how all the shakeups turned out when New Moon, the second film in The Twilight Saga, opens Nov. 20. The cast and filmmakers spoke about the film's controversies in a series of press conferences on Nov. 6.
New Moon picks up with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) dating Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) in high school. Edward breaks up with Bella when the Cullens have to leave town. While suffering from depression, Bella gets close with her childhood friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who she learns is a werewolf. Chris Weitz directs.
When Edward Cullen breaks up with Bella in New Moon, as he does in the book, the filmmakers decided not to deprive movie audiences of actor Robert Pattinson. Their solution was to have Edward appear as visions in Bella's mind.
"Those scenes were the hardest scenes," Pattinson said. "It's not Edward who you're playing. It's a manifestation of Bella's loneliness and desperation. I was trying to ask Kristen, 'How would you play it?' It's her opinion, so I guess that was hard."
Either way, Edward's gone
Whether you get your glimpse at Pattinson or not, he still breaks up with Bella. Is that really the best payoff to Twilight?
"We undermine the first [film]," Stewart said. "We establish a very ideological idea of love and basically tell our main character, our main protagonist, that she was wrong, and it's like, 'Where is our story going to be left if Edward's not there?' It was really hard to go back and forth, because you don't shoot a movie in sequence, obviously. I had to do stuff with Jacob where I was alive and happy and out of this depression thing and then after lunch go back and scream in my bed for six hours. So that was difficult."
Taylor Lautner was almost recast
Since Jacob has a bigger part in New Moon, and must be more physical, producers briefly considered recasting the part. Michael Copon, star of the straight-to-video prequel The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior, was a front-runner until Lautner hit the gym and proved himself to be the true Jacob.
"I'd say there was a brief possibility where [we might have recast]," Weitz admitted. "I was always convinced that he was going to be able to do it. I like the sort of sweetness of his character in the first movie, and I knew that it was easier to take an actor in the direction of anger and rage than it was to find someone who is kind of a hunktor 6-foot-5-inch Native American and somehow turn him into that very sweet-natured persona that Taylor brings out so well."
Catherine Hardwicke got fired
After she directed Twilight, Summit Entertainment rejected Hardwicke from making the sequel. They said they wanted to shoot sooner than she could be ready and that they parted ways amicably, yadda yadda yadda. Producer Wyck Godfrey said it will only benefit the series to have a different director film each one.
"Catherine set an amazing foundation and a very distinct style to Twilight that brought people to the movie," Godfrey said. "One of the choices that Summit and we made was to bring in a director with a different visual style, who could approach the same characters, the same locations, but with a different eye. I think that's very important. We've got a different director for the third film. I also think bringing in new, creative people on every film allows the actors and the writer to kind of regenerate their interest by working with new people."
New Moon is Rachelle Lefevre's last appearance as Victoria
Lefevre played Victoria in Twilight and returns to chase Bella in New Moon. She's replaced in the upcoming Eclipse by Bryce Dallas Howard. Producers blame a scheduling conflict for the recasting. The cast say Howard is filling the role just fine.
"Bryce is scary," Stewart said. "Victoria for Bella is like an ever-present fear. Even when Victoria is not around she's scared that she's coming back. Bryce is such a good actress, and it was easy to be scared of her."
Production moves to Vancouver
Twilight portrayed the town of Forks, Wash., by filming in Oregon. New Moon and its sequel Eclipse moved to Vancouver, but the stars say you won't notice the difference.
"Canada is great," Lautner said. "The first time we were there it was really rainy and dark and cloudy. It was snowing, and that was difficult weather-wise, but this past time, filming Eclipse, it was beautiful."
What will the wolves look like?
New Moon has to debut the next big monster in The Twilight Saga. They'd better not look lame. Weitz learned that the secret is just to make them transform fast.
"A lot of the things that you really worry about, like how is one thing going to transform into another, are really solved by doing it very quickly," Weitz said. "There was some worry about volumetrics, which was how do you turn a 180-pound guy into a 600-pound wolf? We had to do some early tests on how you might do that. It proved much more doable than we thought."
Bella wants to be a vampire
Every relationship has hurdles, but Bella's got maybe 100 years to live, and Edward is immortal. She'd love just to get turned into a vampire herself, but is that really the right decision for Bella?
"By the time she makes this sort of rash decision to spend eternity with a vampire, she's in a position that you actually believe her," Stewart said. "You're like, 'Okay, you're old enough, you're mature enough to know. You've lived life.' She grows up."
Are they turning Twilight into an action movie?
Except for some vampire baseball and a fight at the end, Twilight really focuses on the love story. New Moon has more werewolf battles, but Pattinson says don't worry. That's all hype.
"It's weird," Pattinson said. "I keep getting told by people, 'Pump up all the stuff about the action and all this stuff for the guys to go and see it,' but it's ridiculous. It's like saying that guys can't appreciate romance. I don't think you can say that about Gone With the Wind. I've watched Titanic, and I didn't think, 'Oh, this is a girl's film.' Especially in New Moon, and actually in the whole series, I've never played it thinking, 'Oh, I'm in a series of girls' films and I'm doing something just for girls.' I like doing romantic scenes. I felt like a lot of the storyline in New Moon is very heartbreaking and true. I didn't think I was doing something just for the sake of romance. I thought, in a lot of ways, that it was a really sad story."