The Twilight Saga: New Moon Set Visit Part 2
More on scenes with Kristen Stewart, Rob Pattinson, and Dakota Fanning, and meeting author Stephenie Meyer.
August 17, 2009
By: Lizerne Guiting
Fandango Film Commentator
Dakota Fanning stars as Volturi guard Jane in "New Moon."
Now that you've read the Part 1 of our two-day New Moon Vancouver set visit, we'll dive right in to our spoiler-ridden Part 2!
There's a smoky haze all around the sound studio and the air is heavy with the smell of sawdust. We media folks are gathered around the viewing area, where monitors and headphones are set up for VIPs who have their names on the back of their chairs. Stephenie Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg are among them. We're standing behind them, quietly scribbling notes on every little thing.
Kristen Stewart's Heated Rehearsal
The monitors show the inside of the Volturi's underground lair. To us, standing right outside of it, the domed, encapsulated set is constructed entirely of wood. Ladders are leaning against it in various places and spotlights are placed around it to give that sunlight-streaming-in effect. Kristen Stewart rehearses a scene with Cameron Bright, who plays Alec. Off screen, Alec's witch twin – Jane (Dakota Fanning) – is torturing Edward with her special power that gives the illusion of pain. All we see is Stewart's reaction: "Stop! Stop it! You're hurting him!" she desperately yells and stutters to Jane, not taking her eyes off Edward. "Do whatever you want to me! Try it on me—Try it on me! Just stop hurting him—please!" Bright holds her arm as she futilely attempts to twist free. Cut to a close-up of Stewart's face. Her brows are furrowed and she's misty-eyed. The camera lingers on Stewart as she falls silent. Off screen, we hear a high-pitched laugh and voice of Michael Sheen, who plays Aro: "How remarkable! She confounds us all..."
The rehearsal continues a few more times, with different camera angles set up on Stewart. In between takes, she and director Chris Weitz discuss. Stewart's hand gestures are pronounced, but she manages to keep smiling. A man walks up to her and gently combs her hair back into place. On set, a guy yells "Everybody, shut the hell up!" silencing the whispers that are adding to the ambient noise. After some of the takes, Stewart has a smirk on her face—she looks slightly embarrassed. It reminds me of a scene in Twilight where Bella is in the hospital and she's stuttering the word "no" as she pleads with Edward not to leave her. Suddenly, someone from the crew marches up to our viewing section. "All guests, step out," he commands tersely. He repeats himself, and I and the other press members get a move on. Did Kristen request that we leave? Who knows. Outside, we spot a blond bloke wearing a Volturi get-up, loitering with a cigarette in one hand and a water bottle in the other. It's Caius (Jamie Campbell Bower)! We snag him for an exclusive interview. He's hilarious—definitely the comedian of the Volturi coven.
Meeting the Writers
When a crew member calls us back inside, we tiptoe back to the viewing area; they're finishing up the rehearsal when our studio contact beckons us to meet Stephenie Meyer. She smiles warmly and we exchange whispered greetings and handshakes. She's been completely gracious to everyone on the set from what I've observed. A crew member had approached her earlier to have a copy of "New Moon" autographed, to which she kindly obliged. The whole time, she's been sitting at the viewing area watching the Volturi scenes come to life. Volturi actors like Charlie Bewley, who plays Demetri, and Chris Heyerdahl who plays Marcus, also stopped by the viewing area during their breaks to watch. It was difficult not to notice the 6-foot-4 Heyerdahl, who stood beside me towered over me. He, too, met Meyer for the first time during our set visit.
During downtime, we meet up with Rosenberg who had just finished a first draft of Eclipse. As a screenwriter for "Dexter," she'd been working double time to churn out a quality script for the next Twilight episode (complete with Easter eggs or "winks" for avid readers). "I'm really, really aware now in a way that I wasn't with Twilight of how intense and huge the fan base is," she confesses. "I don't want to be the woman who kills their beloved book." She's been watching the Volturi scenes with Meyer and she says they're turning out better than she imagined. She's ecstatic about the Volturi casting. "Oh my God, it's fantastic!" she says, having viewed the shooting. Although this movie puts more of Jacob in the spotlight, she promises Edward still has a presence. "I think fans will feel pretty satisfied with what we are doing, one, because it's true to the book, and two, because we'll see more Edward."
Like every book-to-film adaptation, Rosenberg admits there are differences in the film. "There are many things that change, but as long as we hit the emotional experience, I think it will resonate the same way," Rosenberg says.
There's been lots of talk going around about a Volturi fight scene in the movie that's not in the book. Stunt coordinator J.J. Makaro says it'll be a different style than we're used to seeing. "We're striving for a look of our own," he says. We're trying to strip down all of the old things that you've seen in a vampire movie. If you've seen it before we try to get rid of it—try to figure a different way around it."
Jane and Edward's Torturous Scenes
One little vampire who plays a huge role in the new film is Jane, played by Dakota Fanning. As the more prominent witch twin, she's known for her an angelic look that clashes with her sadistic persona. In the scenes we view, she's using her special gift—inflicting pain on her victims without lifting a finger—on Edward. Edward's scene was altogether filmed separately since he was on wires, but let's include what we saw from that scene, too, for continuity.
Robert Pattinson is cloaked in a hooded crimson, velvet, Volturi robe and his bare chest is partly exposed. As Aro gives Jane the green light to try her power on Bella, Edward runs in front of her and he receives the full fury of Jane's infliction. Pattinson stops in his tracks, arches his head back and expresses a look of excruciating pain. He lets out a grunt, the wires pull him back, and then drop him on his back. A camera that's zoomed in on Jane's face shows her red eyes widen and follow him to the spot on the ground where he falls. She hardly blinks. As Bella begs her to stop, Jane keeps staring, and her lips curve into a faint, smug smile.
Meyer and others watch throughout, mesmerized. After the take, Dakota stops by the viewing area and says "See you tomorrow!" to Meyer. Fanning looks nearly unrecognizable with her pale skin and her hair pulled back into a sophisticated, twist up-do. Her red lips match her wide, blood-red eyes, accented with smoky eye-shadow. She's wearing a black and purple, hooded dress coat with a small cape around her shoulders. "The coat's adorable!" Meyer says. After she's left, Dakota's stand-in provides a much better look at her paper-thin, pixie-like dress underneath. It's cream-colored and layered, and she's wearing white tights and one-inch heeled Mary Janes.
More of Robert Pattinson and Ashley Greene
After his torturous ordeal with Jane, Edward lies on his back on the marble floor of the Volturi chamber. Aro is in the background and Alice (Ashley Greene) crouches at his side. One of her hands is on his shoulder and the other is on his stomach. She has an "are you OK?" look on her face as she hovers over him. A crewmember issues them stage directions: To Pattinson: "In pain." To Greene: "Now you look up at Bella." When Edward sits up, the velvet hooded robe he's wearing comes off a tad too much revealing his chest. Some crew members giggle as someone from wardrobe fixes it and reties the knot. I guess they're going for just a hint of skin...
Before we switched studios to check out Pattinson's green screen work, we loitered on the Volturi sets after the cast and crew took off. We walked through one long, sand-stone colored passage that begins with a dungeon-like gate (probably the place where Volturi guard Heidi lures her victims); multiple arches stretch across overhead. On the sides of the passage walls, there are cavern crevices with little gardens. Each has different animal statues and some have water fountains. There are also stalactites, giving it an ancient, yet beautiful aura associated with the Volturi. The passage was actually made of Styrofoam—yes, I touched it—but it's amazing how much painstaking detail was put into all the sets, costumes and stunts to bring the Volturi to life.
Don't miss the rest of our New Moon features, including interviews with Taylor Lautner and Rachelle Lefevre.