yesterday The Hollywood Reporter has ranked Stephenie Meyer in their list of the Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors..
In an interview withTHR, Stephenie reveals which actor most closely approximated her idea of their character, her most challenging film adaptation ,why she can’t write a screenplay and whether she feels added pressure on her second series, “The Host.”
The Hollywood Reporter: What do you think it is about your writing that resonates with Hollywood and attracts the attention of filmmakers?
Stephenie Meyer: You know, I have no idea why it resonates with anyone except for myself. I know it makes me happy. I feel like a lot of the appeal for Hollywood now is the crazy fan base who have made this so successful. Obviously Hollywood is always trying to tap into whatever they think is gonna be lucrative, but with the first one, someone just responded to the story they saw potential there, which was cool. We got lucky where with Catherine Hardwicke, she really wanted to make it like the book. There was an original script before we were with Summit that was so completely bizarrely different.
THR: Did you ever think about writing the screenplay?
SM: That was a question, and again with The Host that was another question that they were interested in, and I just don’t think I can abridge. I can make it longer. I can always make things longer than I intend for them to be, but cutting things down is just brutal. It’s like cutting off your fingers every time you lose a word. I know that I can’t do that, and I’m happy to have someone come in who can be a little bit more distanced from it.
THR: Did you develop a relationship with Melissa Rosenberg, the Twilightscreenwriter?
SM: Oh yeah, Melissa and I have been working on the scripts for a really long time. She’s great. You know, one thing about Melissa is she’s very collaborative. If you say, 'Ah Melissa I really would love…' she’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah,’ or she’ll say, ‘Stephenie, the movie’s gonna be two hours long. We can’t add anymore.’ She’s great to work with because she doesn’t have a problem changing things and evolving and discussing.
THR: Is the twist at the end of Breaking Dawn something you’re happy about?
SM: It’s something I came up with. Melissa and I together sat down and said, ‘OK, how do we do this book?’ There were some points like, it’s really long, are we going to do two books or are we going to do one? That was one that she ended up making the decision on. She laid it out and said, ‘There’s no way we’re fitting this in.’ Then it was like the end, because we knew that they were going to want some action in the end, so we came up with a way to do that that was organic to the book and I don’t have a problem with it. We felt like, ‘This totally makes sense, let’s go.’ I don’t think it actually jumps off the page that far. In a way, it’s sort of in the book, we just don’t get to see it because we only see Bella’s perspective. It’ll all make sense.
THR: Were you at all scared about how The Host would translate to film?
SM: So many people had a hard time with that. The only three people I think who weren’t ever worried were me, Nick Wechsler, the producer, and Andrew Niccol, the director, because we all are like, ‘No, it’s obvious, totally obvious. You just need to have the most brilliant actress in the world and you don’t have a problem.’ And we got her, so we were really lucky. Saoirse [Ronan] is amazing. When you have an actress of that caliber, especially when not everybody knows who she is yet, I think she’s going to blow people away. And then you give her this concept role, it’s like a gift. She just loves to be able to do it and watching her -- oh my gosh. There’s this one scene that has no music, it’s a close-up of her face for five minutes and you cannot look away. I mean, tears streaming down my face the first time I saw it. It was unreal.
THR: Do you think that had Twilight not had the success it had, would The Host be as quick to have been picked up?
SM: Probably not. It is tricky. We did this as an independent movie. We did it outside the studio because studios couldn’t understand like, ‘How is this gonna work?’ It felt very simple to us and it works. I think that Hollywood kind of jumps on things that look like they’re gonna do well.
THR: At the same time, is there any added pressure to live up to that Twilight-level success with The Host?
SM: I'm sure there is. It’s not something that I have to feel pressure over. For me, they’re so different and I don’t expect anything to be like Twilight again. That was such a weird experience and to have everything be so crazy and bizarre, that’s just not normal. The fanaticism isn’t normal. So I would imagine it’ll be a much more normal experience, but I’m sure for investors and the like, they would really feel a lot of pressure to have it be just the same. I think this story is very different, I think people respond to it very differently. I don’t think it will be the same phenomenon at all.
THR: During your time working on The Host film, you’re also writing the sequel. How difficult was it to switch gears between working on the movie and the next book?
SM: It’s really tough. I mean, it’s such a different kind of creative expenditure. When you’re working on the movies, it’s very collaborative, there’s a lot of other people involved, and you sort of put in your two cents where you can and consult a bit. When you’re writing, it’s all you all the time and it is interesting to have the actors in the back of my head and think, ‘Anything that I write down, they may have to do. It’s a little bit more challenging to have that distraction.
THR: How far are you on the second book?
SM: Not very far. It’s been a really challenging last year. There just hasn’t been a lot of time for writing.
THR: Where do you see the story progressing?
SM: Not having written it doesn't mean you don’t know everything that’s going to happen. I have very detailed outlines, I do a lot of outlining to the point where there’s dialogue in my outlines. The outline for this is about 50 pages long. It gets very in depth. So I know exactly what’s going to happen, There’s a lot you can do with a science fiction world. There’s a lot of exploration you can do, so there’s a lot of different directions.
THR: The first book was a hefty one. How long will the next book be?
SM: I don’t have any idea. It usually surprises me. I always think I’m going to be able to tell something in a shorter period of time than it takes me, which I’m sure is a big flaw, but I think it’s gonna be shorter than the first one.
THR: How many books do you see in the series?
SM: Three. I have a pretty good end arc in mind for it, so hopefully that will happen.
THR: And you’re planning to adapt them all to film?
SM: I think they’d like to keep going. That’s the conversation I’ve had. I think the biggest hold up is the fact that I’m writing so slow.
Check out the full interview Here