Collider interview with Breaking Dawn producer Wyck Godfrey
Collider: The Twilight films haven’t all come out yet, but you’re finished with filming. What’s it like to be able to step back from them a little bit? Is it weird that it’s all finished, as far as the production goes?
WYCK GODFREY: When we finished shooting in St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, on the very last night with Rob [Pattinson] and Kristen [Stewart] in the water, at their honeymoon, it was one of the greatest moments of elation in my life, in the sense that we were all so happy. A lot of times, you finish a movie and you’re either going, “Oh, thank god, that’s over,” or “Oh, my god, it’s over and I don’t want it to end.” The truth is that we made five movies in three years and three months, from beginning of shooting to end of shooting. I don’t think any series has ever done the movies that quickly. And, we all just felt really fulfilled. I think there was a real sense of, “We did it!,” rather than, “Oh, shoot!” Right now, it doesn’t feel weird because it feel like we’re doing the same thing we did on Twilight andNew Moon and Eclipse, where we’re selling the film and trying to open the film. We’ve got another film in post-production, so we’re still working on it. I think that there are no regrets. It’s all just moving forward. Once we’re all done, we move on to something else. It’s been great.
What’s it been like to have a director like Bill Condon responsible for these last two films? How do you feel he elevated not just the series, but the performance of the actors?
GODFREY: I think Bill is a very sophisticated, intuitive filmmaker, who really understands character and he really knows how to communicate what a story is about and what the character is going through, to the actors. Personally, I feel that the performances in Breaking Dawn are beyond anything that any of the actors have done, in their careers, let alone just our movies. From watching Bill every day on set, you know where it comes from. It comes from a very direct, clear communication with them. He listens and puts them in a comfortable place, where they can really explore emotions that they haven’t explored before. The reason we wanted to go with someone like Bill is because this was the first part of the story that our actors had not gone through, as people. They’re doing adult things that they haven’t done yet, like getting married, having a baby, and all of these things. You needed somebody who could help them walk through that experience, and Bill was perfect. With all of his movies, he’s gotten Academy Award nomination for almost everybody who acts in them. So, we felt very comfortable, and the actors felt comfortable in his hands.
With so many aspects of the story, what were the biggest hurdles that you had to overcome, with Part 1 and Part 2 of Breaking Dawn?
GODFREY: The biggest hurdles were just the execution of the visuals and the action, and the complication of trying to shoot two movies as one, where you have an actress who’s in almost every scene, but sometimes she has to be in vampire make-up and sometimes she has to be in Bella human make-up, and trying to get it all done in the time we had allotted. We had this release date that we had to hit, so Movie 1 was always going to be a challenge to make sure that we had shot everything that we needed. We weren’t going to have time to reshoot anything with the first one because we had to get the post-production done. So, the visual effects, shooting on giant stages with green screen everywhere when you’re supposed to be in a snowy field, and pulling off action that audiences haven’t seen before is always a challenge. You need to show people things they haven’t seen before. Fortunately, we stayed an extra two weeks and shot a lot more footage, and I think we got great stuff.
Were there many scenes that got cut out, that will end up on the DVD?
GODFREY: The DVD may have a longer honeymoon scene. It might have a longer first time scene. There are some other scenes that we’ll probably add, as you always do. When you cut a film, certain scenes fall away and don’t fit into the shape of the movie. There’s a really cool scene with the Volturi that we are going to have for the DVD. The good news about DVDs is that you shoot all this stuff and sometimes you go, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe that can’t be in the movie,” just ‘cause it doesn’t fit with the overall story, but you’ve always got that place to put it.
What was it that ultimately made the final decision not to do either of these films in 3D?
GODFREY: Honestly, certainly Movie 1 did not feel like a movie that should be shot in 3D. It didn’t feel like it was a visual journey. It was an emotional journey. It was a character story. We felt like it would be cynical to shoot it in 3D ‘cause, at the time, everyone was thinking, “Oh, everything should be done in 3D because we’ll get higher ticket prices.” We all said, “Time out. This movie should not be shot in 3D.” If anything, we would have said, “Well, maybe the second movie could be shot in 3D,” but you literally can’t shoot a 3D movie and a non-3D movie, at the same time, when you’re going back and forth between Movie 1 and Movie 2. So, we just said, “You know what? The movies have always worked without being in 3D. They’ll continue to work without being in 3D.”
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