HitFix has a new interview with Eclipse director David Slade.
"It’s safe to say that for film fans of the non-“team-Edward” or “team-Jacob” variety, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” is the most accessible. It was choc full of action and included considerably less navel gazing than the previous installments. I’m biased of course, as I’ve known director David Slade since the days when I was in TV commercial production and he was primarily a commercial director.
I apologize in advance, as our natural direction of conversation leans towards the technical and we tend to veer off here and there. We talk about the challenges that “Eclipse” fight sequences presented, the complexities of shooting a movie in 3D (which he hasn’t done yet) and how he goes about choosing his next project.
George Lucas has gone back and re-done and re-done the Star Wars movies, re-done the special effects because he could. You’re not of that school?
Slade: Not so much. I’d like to re-do "30 Days of Night." There was definitely a point in the editorial process that everybody acknowledges we departed from the structure. It was the first hard R-rated horror that Sony had put out and there was a lot of trepidation. And I do believe there’s another film, I’d like to call it a "better film", there’s certainly another film in that material that we shot. That’s the instance where I would go back not to kind of remaster and just polish but to actually do a director’s cut and make the film what I set out to see. Now, of the three films I’ve made it’s the only one where that happened. And I think I put a lot of that down to personal lack of experience within the studio system. But “Hard Candy” is the director’s cut and actually pretty much “Eclipse” is pretty much exactly the film I wanted to make. So, once you make the film you wanted to make, I don’t really like the idea of going back and visiting it. I prefer to spend the years I have in my life moving onwards to something else.
Now, “Eclipse” is the biggest you’ve done in terms of size and budget?
Slade: Yeah, I guess technically speaking, but I would say this: you do commercials and you get a million dollars to make a commercial. If you add that up per day, it’s a bigger budget than doing a $100 million movie. I think at the end of the day the figures that are involved in movies don’t really add up to much. At the end of the day, the question is not how “much it cost?” but “is it any good?” It’s the same when you hear people say “oh this was a troubled production” or any kind of gossip. None of that lasts. At the end of the day, is the film any good or not? Technically speaking though I mean yes, it was the biggest budget not just films I’ve done, but actually I think it was the biggest budget “Twilight” movie of all of them. It was an epic huge thing with battles and you know massive huge sets and all kinds of special effects work and a very short schedule. Usually what happens when there’s not much time there has to be more money.
Right: the “impossible triangle?”
Slade: It’s an old cliché but it’s a true…as many clichés are: It’s time, money, quality. Pick two.
Was the largest set piece the vampire vs. wolves war scene?
Slade: I think the mountain top battle between Victoria, Edward, Riley, Sethwolf valor battle was probably the biggest most complex set piece. [I had to] make room in our schedule for me to go back and direct the key elements of that fight scene because the fight scene was like a three-act structure story. It’s not just, you know, a fight. It has a beginning, it has a middle, it has an end. It has various character traits that make things happen if they’re good. So, that fight sequence was one where the tree going over was a big part of the plot but was also part of the story because the story enveloped the character. The character of Victoria was that she was an escape artist. She always ran. And she was going to jump. She was going to get somewhere safe. She was always safe. So, a character is feeding into your fight. There’s no description in the book that she jumps into a tree. It was just like, “Well let’s make her jump into a tree because...” and you work that way. You work out the ideas through -- she’s going to run away and she’s just to live another day but he’s going to have to find a way to bring her back with words. Still the character -- even though it’s a fight, you know? - And then at a certain point he’s got to use words to goad her into the proximity it’s going to take to fight, you know? It’s a very, very structured thing. We didn’t shoot it for days on end but it was certainly one of the most complex things to engineer. The actors went into training for it all and it was one of those things where I was solely kind of every day hammering away at until we shot it. And I think because there is a point where all of these things I’m talking about just randomly appear. They happen.
Slade: You know, in the end it was great in the first screening to hear everyone scream and cheer when Victoria dies. That worked.
That’s what you were working for.
Slade: Yeah, yeah. You got to the point when actually you’d taken a character who had been largely been brooding, internalized character and you turn it into a marauding beast for just a few moments. And this was such a great exciting thing to see and then she’s dead and it happens just like—bang! There’s nothing slow and deliberate about it. It just happens and yeah, that was a rewarding end and really really hard work."
That's pretty much all the Eclipse talk. To read more click here.