LOS ANGELES – There aren’t many sure things in the Hollywood movie business, except maybe death and facelifts. Now add this to the list: count on New Moon to score big at the box office.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon previewed here over the past few days, and most in attendance agreed afterward that the Twilight franchise’s future continues to look bright.
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In fact, New Moon’s expected to surpass the $384-million US that Twilight scooped up at theatres worldwide last year.
Opening on Nov. 20, the Chris Weitz-directed New Moon continues the otherworldly romantic adventures of teen Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) who has immersed herself in the macabre after falling for vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
In this second of four anticipated movie versions of the Stephenie Meyer’s novels, Bella tries to deal with emotional turmoil when her Edward disappears even as she begins to connect with her childhood friend, Jacob.
Both of those men in her life turn out to be separate guides into the dangerous sects of the territorial werewolves and the dastardly ancient Italian vampire coven known as the Volturi. Both transforming monsters are ancestral enemies and both might jeopardize the affair between Edward and Bella.
At a swanky hotel Friday, the cast gathered to discuss New Moon and the pop-culture sensation surrounding the Twilight craze.
That’s thanks to author Meyer, whose series – Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn – has sold more than 70 million copies in more than 35 languages worldwide, winning multiple literary awards in the process.
But Weitz said New Moon had to stand on its own as a film rendition of the book and separately in tone and structure from Catherine Harwicke’s introductory movie, Twilight. “What I really didn’t want was ‘sequel-itis,’ ” said the 39-year-old.
Still, the director admitted he didn’t want to offend young fans, “So it made sense to be unashamed of the emotionality of the piece” as Bella (Stewart) and Edward (Pattinson) break up then reunite after a series of traumatic events.
“I had a really good time on this movie,” said Stewart, 19. “It was intense.
“Just because of the nature of the story it goes in a completely different direction. We undermine the first. We establish a very ideological kind of love (in Twilight) and basically tell our main character, our main protagonist, that she was wrong (in New Moon).
“What I really love about New Moon is that you see this girl build herself back up and by the time she makes this sort of rash decision to spend eternity with a vampire, she’s in a position where you actually believe her,” added the actress.
Pattinson noted the New Moon book and film tends to be more mature than Twilight. “And I think the movie shows a lot of heart,” he said.
Both Pattinson and Stewart agreed that Weitz brought a more complicated perspective.
“He is one of the smartest, coolest, funniest guys I know,” said Stewart.
On and off camera, most of the Twilight fame glare has concentrated on Pattinson and Stewart, who have, rumour has it, dated and broken up at least three times since they first met when Twilight director Hardwicke hired them in early 2008.
By now they have become begrudgingly accustomed to the gossip, the frenzied fans and the hounding by the paparazzi.
They tried to laugh off the pressure that arrives with the notoriety, but they confessed the past year has been difficult on occasion.
“I don’t think that anyone can get a handle on it,” said Stewart of the avid fans and the gossipy cover stories. “But it’s like as soon as I stopped trying to control everything that came out of my mouth and every picture that came out, that’s when I became so much happier and it was so much easier to deal with. I’ve just grown into not having to care so much.”
Stewart was more familiar with the fame process, growing up in the film industry as a child actor who made her debut as Jodie Foster’s diabetic daughter in 2002′s Panic room. Previously, the Brit Pattinson, 23, had a cameo as the doomed Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Taylor Lautner, 17, as Jacob shines in New Moon and has been featured much more in publicity and in the media. Previously, he played Sharkboy in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl and he had a co-starring part in Cheaper By The Dozen 2, but those experiences hardly prepared him for the attention he received for his higher profile role as the transforming werewolf in New Moon.
Indeed, he had to transform in more ways than one on screen. He added bulk with muscle for the second movie, which was part of the requirement for being re-hired for New Moon. “I had to transform physically, mentally and emotionally” he said, referring to Jacob’s involvement with Bella in Edward’s absence.
All the positive news doesn’t mean the series has been without controversy.
Weitz abruptly replaced Hardwicke weeks after Hardwicke’s Twilight became a smash. At the time, Hardwicke said she needed a bigger budget and more time to shoot New Moon, while insiders say Weitz was brought in for his special effects credentials established by bringing Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass to the big screen.
Then Montreal’s Rachelle Lefevre, who played the vengeful Victoria in Twilight and New Moon, was replaced last summer by Bryce Dallas Howard for Eclipse, which recently wrapped filming in Vancouver.
Still, Dakota Fanning agreed she was thrilled to join the New Moon cast in an against-type cameo role for her. She plays the ruthlessly manipulating Volturi guard Jane, who can torture others with the illusion of pain.
“It was fun to play a feared character who uses her power not for good,” said the 15-year-old Fanning who also co-stars in Eclipse set for release next June.
Lautner said he’s looking forward to the fan reaction of Eclipse, as well.
“It’s the height of the love triangle,” said Lautner.
And what about Breaking Dawn? So far, there’s no start date and no director attached. But Pattinson said he expects the finale of the Twilight saga may start shooting next fall.
Source: The Gazette