New Moon Set Visit, Day One: Twilight's Volturi Unveiled

Get a detailed first look at the new villains of Twilight: New Moon in Part One of RT's New Moon set report.

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Day One: Production had just passed the halfway point when we arrived on set at the Vancouver Film Studios in May, where The Twilight Saga: New Moon -- or rather, the Untitled Sports Movie, its secret working title -- was weeks away from completion. Scenes featuring Jacob Black and the Wolf Pack had for the most part been filmed.  Production was packing up the next week to do the last leg of shooting in Montepulciano, Italy, where Bella would make her fateful run across the town square to stop Edward from committing the ultimate sacrifice. Finicky weather had forced last-minute changes to the shooting schedule, but we'd be given a glimpse that few outsiders had yet seen: the unveiling of New Moon's Volturi.

Inside, a large stage was dressed in meticulous detail as the inner chamber of the Volturi, the ancient Italian vampires who rule the vampire world who appear in the second, third, and fourth Twilight books. The gold-accented central room in this "underground" lair, hidden, according to the book, in tunnels under the town of Volterra, Italy, is an ornate and refined circular room with 30 foot-high ceilings that give it a stark airiness, punctuated by beautiful marble tiled floors and Latin inscriptions.

A sample passage, commemorating the "history" of the vampire race in Latin, reads, "liberte te ex inferis" -- translated, "Save yourself from Hell." (Coincidentally, the same phrase is also inscribed on the blast door in Lost.) Details like these lent a believable sense that history -- even the fictional, vampire kind --is written into the very architecture of the Volturi headquarters.

The centerpiece of the chamber held three throne-like chairs, belonging to the Volturi leaders Aro (Michael Sheen), Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl), and Caius (Jamie Campbell-Bower). Standing at attention were all of the Volturi guards, all dressed in vaguely European-style finery -- dark hues, sharp lines, and in a range of period styles.

In the midst of it all, cast newcomers Cameron Bright (who plays the psychically-powered Alec), and Dakota Fanning (portraying Alec's sadistic twin, Jane), were playing out reaction shots (to scenes that hadn't yet been shot!) before their days ended early, ostensibly due to child labor laws.

Focus fell particularly on Fanning, dressed in a soft, vintage-style white dress, a dark velvet cape, and Mary Janes. Her blonde hair swept into a bun, with pale skin and scarlet lips and dark eye makeup, she had the look of a textbook Little Red Riding Hood -- albeit one with blood-red eyes and a steely eeriness about her. "She's immune to all of us," Michael Sheen as Aro mused, directing his warrior to turn her pain-inducing powers on Bella. "Shall we, Jane?"

With nary a peep, Fanning's eyes lit up. She turned her head towards Bella/Kristen Stewart, and gave a slight, cruel smile. Well, the hint of a smile, really. The tension was palpable; in that miniscule movement I was sold on Fanning -- at 15 years of age, one of New Moon's seasoned veterans -- and her ability to convey unadulterated malice. On film, you'll see her bring poor Robert Pattinson to his knees, and you might even enjoy it.

Next: Michael Sheen brings Aro gleefully to life, Bella offers herself to save Edward, and Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg react to dailies.

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