Author Stephenie Meyer on Twilight
By Fred Topel | Image property of Summit Entertainment
Stephenie Meyer was inspired to write Twilight from a dream she had. When the books took off as a major franchise, filmmakers offered to put her dream on film. Nobody can get inside Meyer's head, but she vouched for what the rest of us get to see in the Twilight film.
"It was a funny experience and it’s hard to pull out a moment because as a whole it was just so overwhelming," Meyer said. "It took me a minute and I was so braced for it, because what if it was really horrid? So I was just like all ready for it to be bad, almost watching through my fingers. I had my little notepad because it was a rough cut and I was going to give them the notes on what I wanted. So after a couple of minutes and you start getting into this voice and you start hearing Kristen’s voice and then it becomes Bella’s voice, and you see in the scenes, it got to where I completely forgot why I was there. And all the scenes, there were so many things that were like déjà vu to see them that when the movie was over and the producer I was with said, 'Okay, let’s have your notes,' I said, 'Give me a minute.' I was so overwhelmed. I had to just have a moment to just sit and think because there was so much to take in and it was so many scenes were the way I had envisioned them. There was partially creepy and partially wonderful."
The Twilight filmmakers welcomed Meyer's input on the script, whereas previous attempts had shut her out of the process. "It was a really pleasant exchange from the beginning, which is I think not very typical. They were really interested in my ideas and I really didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I don’t know how to make a movie, I didn’t want to get in the way and make it worse or screw it up somehow. So I let them come to me and they did, and they kept me in the loop and with the script, they let me see it and said, 'What are your thoughts?' And so they really opened themselves up there, and I sent them back the script with red marks, the whole thing. And it was stuff like, 'Wouldn't Bella say this more like this? Wouldn't this sound more like her voice?' It wasn't like, 'This whole scene needs to go,' because it was in really good shape from the beginning. But they let me have input on it and I think they took ninety percent of what I said and just incorporated it right in to the script."
Compare that with the first company that tried to produce Twilight. "It was an interesting thing because when we started out with this I actually sold the rights to a different company. I got a look at a script that objectively [was] probably a decent vampire movie that had nothing at all to do with Twilight. You could have produced that movie and never given me any credit because it wasn’t anything to do with the books. And that was kind of a horrifying experience. I had realized it could go wrong and that they could do it badly, but that they would do something that had nothing at all to do with the story, it was kind of shocking to me. I know that’s because I'm really naïve."
The one thing Meyer wanted to ensure was that nobody slapped fangs on her vampires. "Summit said, 'We really want to do this' and I was weary and I said, 'You know, I'm just not sure.' And they said, 'What can we do for you?' I said, 'What if I give you a list of things that absolutely can't be changed?' I’m not talking like it has to be exactly like the book. It was very fundamental outline things like the vampires have to have the basic rules of the vampire world I've created, which means no fangs, which means no coffins, which means they sparkle in the sunlight. The characters have to exist by their present names and in their present forms and you can't kill anyone who doesn't die in the book, and just basic things like that that were really just the foundation of the story. I got it in writing. That's the best thing about working with a new company, is they're really open to working with you."
Should Twilight warrant the sequels Meyer has already published in novel form, she expects the final one to be the biggest challenge for a filmmaker. "Book four without a doubt is the hardest thing to do and there's a really simple reason for that. You have a character in that and you almost have to do a CGI, Nessie. While CGI can do dragons and it can do almost anything in the whole world. The one thing that I've never seen is a completely realistic CGI human. So that's something that either groundbreaking technology will have to develop in the next couple of years or it will be impossible. One or the other."
Twilight opens to theaters on November 21st.
For the trailers, posters, stills and more movie info, go to the Twilight Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of Summit Entertainment
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