New Moon Director Chris Weitz Spills Juicy Twilight Details
A chat with director Chris Weitz reveals a LOT about the upcoming Twilight sequel.
When Rotten Tomatoes visited the Vancouver set of The Twilight Saga: New Moon in May with an exclusive group of online outlets, director Chris Weitz was wrapping up key scenes before production crossed the Atlantic to film for five days in Montepulciano, Italy. There, the medieval hillside town would stand in for the city of Volterra, home of the ancient Volturi vampires in Stephenie Meyer's novel, as filming concluded with the book's final set piece.
During our visit, finicky weather had forced the shoot to jump between soundstages to film two separate scenes from New Moon: in the first, Bella (Kristen Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson), and Alice (Ashley Greene) met the Volturi leader Aro (Michael Sheen) in the crisply decorated underground headquarters of the Volturi -- with dire results. Later, on a separate stage, we watched as Pattinson's Edward, appearing as a hallucination in Bella's mind on a darkened street, was filmed against green screens with an enormous tracking camera. That Weitz and crew moved from the first scene to the second in the span of a day demonstrated the speed -- and, seemingly, the smart planning -- with which New Moon was being filmed. (UPDATED: Read Part 1 of our New Moon set report, including interviews with cast members and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg!)
When we caught up with Weitz months later, New Moon's well-documented production -- during which predominantly teenage fans from all over the world flocked to New Moon's sets just to get a glimpse of filming -- was complete, and the soft-spoken director was in the thick of a long, complicated editing process. He spoke at length to answer every one of our questions, ranging from his interactions with the cast, to what rock bands might be on the soundtrack, to the rumors that he might direct the fourth Twilight film, Breaking Dawn.
But Weitz took pains to keep at least one scene under wraps: the infamous "proposal scene," in which Bella and Edward come to a tenuous agreement that has huge implications for the remainder of the series. Will it stay in the film, as written in Meyer's book?
Read on to find your biggest, burning questions answered!
ON THE LOOK OF NEW MOON, AND EDWARD'S NEW "SPARKLING" EFFECT
Weitz is still developing New Moon's computer-generated effects -- including a new take on Edward Cullen's "sparkling" effect, which drew criticism in the first film -- and is just weeks away from delivering a first cut.
"I am about two weeks away from showing my director's cut to the studio," Weitz told us. "I've got some wolves with fur, and some wolves are still invisible, basically. And some wolves are kind of like...what look like Claymation versions. We are still in the late R&D phases of what Edward looks like when he's hit by sunlight, what the vampires look like when they're hit with sunlight, the diamond effect, and also the hallucinatory effect that Bella has when she hears Edward's voice and she imagines him there."
Upon Stephenie Meyer's insistence, New Moon's werewolves and vampires will be grounded in reality -- the Wolf Pack's transformations will pop, and the Volturi will remain true to Meyer's descriptions.
"Our aim was to make them look like what it says they look like in the book, and not to be too fancy about it," Weitz explained. "You know, it was very important to Stephenie that, for instance, the werewolves transform very quickly and that they look like wolves, that we not have this kind of magical, Lon Chaney-esque long transformations, and I think the reason behind that is to give a sense of their reality."
"I think that was important for the Volturi as well; they're not levitating above the ground, they're not surrounded by mystical auras, they are creatures who actually exist and they're very specific, they're very stylish, they're very elegant, they're very dangerous. Essentially, it's really faithful to the book.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, TWILIGHTERS
Once his initial cut of New Moon is submitted, Weitz will have about three months to fine-tune his film. His due date to complete a final cut will come just weeks before New Moon is set to premiere:
"Ironically, I think it's the day before Halloween. I believe October 30 is our drop dead date when it's time to start striking the print, or we're in big trouble."
THE MUSIC OF NEW MOON: ALEXANDRE DESPLAT, BELLA'S LULLABY, AND...THOM YORKE?Weitz has brought aboard familiar collaborators to work on New Moon, including Oscar-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat (who scored Weitz's The Golden Compass). But will Desplat carry over the fan-favorite "Bella's Lullaby" theme composed by Twilight scorer Carter Burwell, played famously by Edward in the first film?
"Alexandre Desplat has just started working on his music for the film, and we are just starting to put together what bands are on the soundtrack, so it's kind of like keeping ten plates spinning at once," Weitz said. "But it's all good, because we've got Alexandre Desplat, who I think is one of the greatest film composers living, and because of the strength of the franchise that I inherited, a lot of bands are really interested in working on the soundtrack."
When asked about "Bella's Lullaby," Weitz confirmed that it would reappear -- at least, in some form. "I think yes, because like any franchise, there are certain themes that become familiar. I suspect he's going to transpose it in some manner, and most of the music will be entirely new to the franchise because his style is somewhat different from Carter Burwell's. But I think that there is some value to having some kind of familiar leitmotifs running through the entire series."
Speaking about the music in New Moon, Weitz revealed that requests have flooded in from bands who want to contribute to the soundtrack; after all, the first Twilight film helped launch alt-rock band Paramore into the pop culture stratosphere. In talks to appear on the soundtrack are none other than Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Kings of Leon.
"Fortunately, I'm not at the stage where I have to turn anybody down yet, because everything is still kind of up in the air," Weitz shared, "but I am surprised at some of the bands that have said they're interested. It's kind of great. The criterion will still always be what's right for the movie at that given moment, but Thom Yorke is interested; we might, if we're very lucky, get Kings of Leon to do something... it's exciting to be able to have access to this kind of talent."
Next: Chris Weitz's favorite scene, changes from the book, if Face Punch will be made as it's own film, and the "Proposal" scene!