“We started this big movie very small. It was only Rob and Kristen plus a couple other actors for half a day … We were starting on a honeymoon. It was kind of a dreamy thing to do, you know. I found it great,” Condon said during a fall press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel. “We had some weather problems and got rained in, socked in, and all had to sleep in bathtubs and things at the honeymoon house. But everything about it was magical.”
“Twi-hard” fans of the series seemed to agree: “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” has grossed nearly $702 million worldwide since it opened in theaters Nov. 18.
“The biggest challenge is that these books are so beloved by so many people that you want to make sure that it’s your take on the material but that it doesn’t betray what people’s expectations are and yet still becomes a fully cinematic experience,” said Condon, 56, who became the fourth director to work on “The Twilight Saga” when he took the helm of the final two movies.
“Making two movies at once wasn’t fun, either. Well, it was fun. It was hard, though. It was hard ‘cause it was such a big thing,” he added. “Kristen … would be young Bella, high school girl, in the morning and then a vampire in the afternoon and then a pregnant mother in the evening. She had days like that. It was crazy.”
Along with Edward and Bella’s highly anticipated wedding and honeymoon, “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” includes the dramatic arrival of their daughter, Renesmee. The birth not only threatens Bella’s life — an emergency vampire conversion is her only hope for survival — it also endangers the Cullen clan’s pact with the local werewolves of the Quileute Tribe, including Bella’s best pal, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).
“That’s a good example of the challenges because obviously it’s very, very kind of powerfully described in the book, and you want to be true to that experience. But how do you show some of those things? As with a lot of other things, I think the key to doing it and being able to have that experience is to tell it from Bella’s point of view,” Condon said.
“Once Bella’s on that slab, we’re only gonna see what she can see as these things are happening to her — and we’re only gonna see it through her eyes as she gets weaker, as the morphine takes over.”
The harrowing birth of Renesmee and rebirth of Bella as a vampire set up the series’ eagerly awaited finale in “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” due in theaters Nov. 16. When they learn the baby has been targeted by the corrupt vampire peacekeepers known as the Volturi, the Cullens gather other covens to make a stand and protect the child.
“I remember we would have scenes with the Cullens and you’d have eight or nine vampires in a room and I was thinking, ‘Oh, good, this is an easy day.’ Because we had so many scenes with literally 27 people in a room,” he said. “It’s huge that way. But we have such good actors and it is important that everybody get their moment to define who they are. It’s a real challenge …. about the second movie. But we gather these vampires from around the world, and we want to know as we get into the climax of that movie what each of them represents and what their powers are and who they are.”
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