THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 2
The Cullen House and Other Vampire Haunts
While the main shooting company started filming on various interior sets in
crews in Canada, including many individuals from the previous productions
returning to finish out
the series, were scouting remote wilderness locations and constructing the
house near Squamish, British Columbia.
For the iconic home of a contemporary family of covert vampires, Twilight
Catherine Hardwicke chose an aesthetic different from the white Victorian
described in the novel.
"The Cullen house is its own animal created for the movies," comments Meyer.
"The setting is
very magical and the house is extremely modern. The juxtaposition gives it this
feeling from this ancient forest with this interesting architectural newness
right in the middle of it.
For Breaking Dawn, I loved having the house exist in reality, where it belonged
in this beautiful
Over the course of the five films, the Cullen home has been a combination of
residences and three painstakingly constructed movie sets. In Twilight, the
Cullen house was a
rented home located in a forested area near Portland, Oregon. The Twilight Saga:
includes two brief Cullen house scenes (living room and Carlisle's office)
filmed in a different real
house in West Vancouver, that featured an interior that architecturally
resembled the inside of the
original house located 300 miles south across the border.
In the third installment The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, audiences saw the inside
of the multi-level structure in a large number of scenes. An exact replica took
eight weeks to
build inside a soundstage in Vancouver. Since the house features floor to
ceiling glass, in
additional to all the inside spaces, it was necessary to build the exterior
faĆ§ade, the decks, the
detailed teak railings, the landscaping, the driveway, and the surrounding
forest to shoot in and
out of the windows from every floor.
Key pieces of action in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 such as:
awakening, family time with Renesmee, and meeting the vampires from around the
globe all play
out at the residence. "About a third of both of these movies takes place inside
or outside the
Cullen house," states Condon. "I love that location house that Catherine found
for the first film; it
really had a sense of living within that landscape. In this case, we were going
to be seeing more
of the house than we ever had before, including a backyard that slopes down to
the river. The
great essential qualities of that house were the glass, the light, and the
landscape, so there was
no way to spend so much time in that house and be constricted to only a
For the final two films, filmmakers rebuilt the house not once, but twice... in
countries. Architectural details like windows, doors, cabinetry, fireplaces,
stair treads and
handrails, plus set dressing like furniture and artwork from the Eclipse house
for Breaking Dawn both at Celtic Media Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the
later on a full-scale
real version built on a private 50-acre property in the wilderness of British
the mountain town of Squamish, where cast and crew lived for approximately the
last month of
production. "It was crucial that we spent the time in the details recreating
that set wherever it
would land," says Bannerman.
"The Cullen house is a unique set because it's three stories tall and sits on
topography wise, so that restricted my options when it came to trying to zero in
on a building that
could host this set," adds Bannerman. "The only one in Louisiana with the
ceiling height to
accommodate us was still under construction in Baton Rouge. So we were the first
project to film
on Stage 4 at Celtic Studios."
"We got the biggest soundstage in Baton Rouge, but had to surround the house
giant green screen, so the wooded exteriors outside the windows could be put in
with the location house in Canada, they create a sense of, again, what that
original house felt
like... only bigger," says Condon. "But that also led to two movies that have
almost as many
visual effects shots as Avatar, which was all digitally created. Simply because,
in addition to all
the really complicated stuff, even in just a casual scene, almost every shot is
inevitably going to
have green screen out the glass windows."
"One of the more memorable things of this production was, having been in
shooting on that huge soundstage for about three months, and then flying to
for an hour and arriving at the same house, but in reality. I was standing on
this little stair
landing, where I'd had a hundred conversations with people on my way in and out
of the earlier
set, and suddenly it existed again, but it had this spectacular setting around
it," explains Condon.
"It was the exact same place. It was a really freaky thing."
"There's a river running by and it's incredibly beautiful," adds Omar
Metwally. "But it's
odd to be walking on a trail through the woods and then suddenly this full set
appears out of the
Ashley Greene agrees, "It's incredible to have this Cullen house transported
parts of the world. It is still mind boggling to me that they can create the
same exact thing every
time. Although, it was a lot warmer in Baton Rouge... in the middle of the woods,
house doesn't actually have bathrooms or heat. But it creates a sense of comfort
know it so well."
Filmmakers also gave the Cullens' home and wardrobe some minor updates. Sharp
will notice some subtle enhancements to the Cullen house... some due to Esme's
antiques, some due to story considerations. "We changed the house a little bit,"
"The far right wall of the living room was always a big wall, and in our house
it's all glass, so the
camera can see out over the back, the river, and the beautiful trees. The
furniture is slightly
different, because some time has passed in the story, but it's basically 98
percent the same thing.
It's a completely inherited look and we tried to preserve what previous
filmmakers had done,
although Carlisle's study is more elaborate."
"The novel provided so many great descriptions, but it was also tremendously
us to look at this body of work done by the directors and designers who came
before us and set
the tone," adds Wilkinson. "These films have been so successful, so what they
obviously resonated strongly with the audience. It was amazing for us to have
this foundation to
build from and we were all very respectful of their contributions."
"It's natural for any creative team to really think deeply about the
material, and to make
their own adjustments," continues Wilkinson. "The only tweaks we really made
were just going
straight back into the logic of the book, and the adjustments have been pretty
minor. An example
is the Cullens are people who have incredible resources at hand. Financially,
they have drawers
full of money, and fashion really matters to them. They have an innate sense of
style and Alice is
their costume designer, if you will. These people have been around for a long
time, so they've
experienced dressing over the centuries, so I really wanted to get that sense of
their high-end level of dressing. Bill and I really cared about that edgy
fashion orientation, but
also a very classically innate sense of style in each of them."
After an exceptionally cold Canadian winter that construction crews toiled
building the location Cullen house, practical special effects technicians had to
use a giant steam
truck and hot water to melt the late season snow for the first day shooting at
structure in mid-March of 2011. Snow also needed melting at Jacob's house, which
made for a
muddy mess and a rising creek, the same one from that iconic moment when
leaped over it in The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
Twilight lore is heavy with various tales of production problems due to a
range of adverse
weather conditions, beginning with a rain-soaked company at Cannon Beach, Oregon
in the first
film. During production for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 alone, a
trapped the cast and crew in the Brazil honeymoon island house overnight; and
months later, a
tsunami warning on Vancouver Island evacuated the production.
On The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, filming was impacted by
temperatures, blizzards, snow, downpours, flooding, and unexpected sunshine.
"It's funny we've
always had a very unique weather dynamic shooting Twilight movies," continues
"Unlike any other movie on the planet, we go inside when it's sunny outside
because we have
vampires that sparkle in sunlight. It's upside down, we have sun cover instead
of rain cover sets."
"Weather has always been a complicated part about putting Stephenie's world
since she set the story in the rainiest part of the continental U.S., so the
nature of it is you have to
dance around a lot," laughs Godfrey.
In addition to Alice's bedroom, the Grand Terre Warehouse Stage in Port
(across the river from Baton Rouge) also hosted the interior of Charlie's house,
anticipated interior of Bella and Edward's cottage, and the Volturi Castle.
The Cullen family, led by architect Esme and clotheshorse Alice, build the
new family a
place of their own. "We built this wonderful, charming, beautiful little
cottage... a starter home
really," laughs Elizabeth Reaser. "But really, really cute and everything's made
to look old-fashioned,
but it's all state-of-the-art."
Bella's closet is fully stocked with the latest designer fashions and
Renesmee has a
dream nursery. "Richard Sherman did amazing and beautiful things. I said, 'Wow,
gorgeous. I want that. I want that. I want that. Can I have this room?' My
assistant Megan and
I were ready to move into that cottage. It was beautiful. Richard's got a great
talent; I want him
to decorate my house."
"When Stephenie, Megan, my assistant Jacqueline and I first walked into the
literally wanted it all - that couch, that throw," laughs Godfrey. "Her reaction
is a real testament to
what Richard's team pulled off. Also the location for the exterior is a fairy
tale. Outside, it's
exactly how you would imagine if you were a vampire, dropping your house deep in
wilderness, away from prying eyes."
The exteriors of the magical abode were built in a wooded area in Coquitlam,
Columbia, close by to where Jacob transforms into a wolf for Charlie. "It's the
so close to how it's described in the book, little dream cottage that melts into
the forest. I really
like that it looks like it grew there," concludes Meyer.
Bella and Edward experience their first timeless lovemaking as a pair of
vampires at the private cottage. "It's an intimate scene that's not overly
technical, but it's really
more about a design sensibility," says Windell. "It's a very elegant, yet quite
that becomes more metaphorical - you see visceral elements like heat and flames
"This idealized version of a cottage in the forest is a very fairly tale
Sherman's challenge was to live up to fan expectation, but to stay away from the
Condon. "He did a beautiful job of creating something that was an incredibly
cozy place where
you'd want to be, but it also had very modern touches and a sense of design.
What I like is the
smallness. I love the fact that when they get into that bedroom, it's all about
the bed. There's
not much room to do anything else, and that's the point. It was one of those
really beautiful sets
that you live in on a sound stage, and then you hate to see come down."
The Volturi's home set was built adjacent to the cottage on the same stage.
wanted to take the architectural signature of the Volturi Castle and alter it
with his own personal
touch, so we started from scratch with the Oculus Room," says Bannerman. "A
drain at the epicenter of the room was added and the hallway has changed to a
"Bill and I decided to do one big change from the original Chris Weitz's
was to create a medieval space, since the exterior of the Volturi Castle in
Italy is a medieval
building," explains Sherman. "The Oculus Room now has more depth with big
columns and an
arcade, to give them places to go. But, it was a real tricky thing because
changing the entire dynamic of how the Volturi lives in Breaking Dawn, versus
how it was in a
previous movie. Interestingly, Stephenie Meyer said it was now exactly how she
closer to the book. We had new thrones made and the set had an oddly Catholic
look to it,
ominous, dark, and brooding, with a scary dank emptiness. It was a fun set to
Condon and Sherman also changed the location of Amun's Kasbah from the book.
set in the middle of bustling Cairo, Egypt, the compound was constructed at
Celtic Media Center in
Baton Rouge. "Amun's coven, they live amongst us, hiding in plain sight. The
idea is that your
next door neighbor is a vampire is a lot more terrifying than somebody who lives
a 100 miles away
in a castle where you never go," says Sherman. "We built this really beautiful
Kasbah, a huge
four-wall set, outside on the back lot. It's one of my favorite sets of the
Angela Sarafyan says, "The Kasbah has its history and purpose. This world
that they live
in has a royalty and a glamorousness about it, and also feels isolated, which is
very telling of who
they are. Walking into that set was surreal."
"Our coven's first night shooting was at the Kasbah," adds Andrea Gabriel.
flaunts his special powers playing with the water in the little wading pool in
the courtyard. He puts
on a big show and now Carlisle and Esme know about his big talent... cat's out of
Special effects technicians repeatedly dropped 50 gallons of water into the
pool, an effect
that would later be digitally enhanced to illustrate Benjamin's power. "The last
scene of our first
night out of the gate was very unglamorous. The special effects guy was wearing
very hi-tech," laughs Gabriel. "They had this enormous crane with a big trash
bin of water that
they kept lifting higher and higher as the night went on. They kept releasing
the dumpster load
until the water splashed us more completely. 'One more time, we didn't quite get
ya.' After every
time they brought their little squeegee mops to prepare to do it all over again.
In the meantime,
we're waiting for the next take and the water was real and wet and cold,
especially at 4 am. But
filming that scene was a blast. It's a great way to meet your cast mates, your
director, and your
crew - a great getting-to-know-you gig."
Visual effects would later reveal the Kasbah to be set in urban Cairo. "That
gorgeous set, and it was really fun to have a set that was totally based around
out coven," adds
Gabriel. "They described a lot about what was going to be added. So much of it
as they're describing something that they're going to create later, when you're
making your vision
of what it's is going to be in your head. There were a lot of explanations of
imaginary stuff, it felt
very much like we were a bunch of 4-year-olds all talking in make believe
Another memorable set, the 12th century Russian village that served the story
explaining the concept of an immortal child, was constructed in rural Jackson,
addition, on the property across the road in Greenwell Springs, was the location
for the campfire
scene. That land contained the only Northwest-esque forest the filmmakers could
find in the entire
An hour north of Baton Rouge, the location received a Southern downpour as
was preparing to shoot. "My first day of shooting was in a field in the middle
of nowhere and us
Denali were wearing really heavy long gowns just covered in mud," remembers
"There were fire effects, a big green screen, and the art department had built
an incredible set of
a Russian village... to be thrown into all that was really exciting. Nobody's
joking around out
here... this is serious filmmaking. All the departments are really the cream of
the crop and it
"Bill described the temperament that he wanted from that scene and Richard
pieces, and then Guillermo lit and shot it accordingly. Then my job is to make
sure when we
capture the same mood when we extend the set," comments Windell. "There was
in the beginning to set the mood and color palette. It feels very warm, a very
different look from
the rest of the film, so that you understand you're in a different time. The
richness feels very
much like a Renaissance painting to me."
Conditions on the day it was shot were not so warm. "The mud and rain
the period dresses, sleeves, and shoes. Actually, I was wearing Wellies under my
outfit, so I
wasn't very glamorous," admits Dakota Fanning.
"Everyone was slipping and sliding around trying not to get everything muddy,
century cloaks that weigh 40 pounds to start with, felt like 60 pounds wet,"
adds Cameron Bright.
"Definitely a hectic one, fun but a mother nature controlled day."
"My art director Troy Sizemore had a tough time with the research, because
there were no
cameras in the 12th century and those kinds of places don't exist anymore,"
"We did it all based on sketches from that period and did all the houses painted
ways. We found this great gulley on a sloping hill where we built the little
huts and this dirt road
goes up the middle. Bill did a great Fiddler on the Roof inspired shot across
the field that will have
an old onion-domed church in the background, for the moment when the immortal
thrown into the fire, so it was very, very fun."
"We had the cutest kid, Billy, who played the toe-headed child vampire who
entire village. Again, this is what I was so turned on by here - to get to throw
a baby into a fire -
there's something so creepy, but fun, about all of these extreme ideas from the
Fanning remembers, "The little boy playing Vasilii had to watch me put the
red eyes in, so
he wouldn't be afraid of me."
The next night, while second unit cleaned up Russian village shots, across
the street at
the campfire location, the now dry weather turned cold. "The campfire set looked
Christmas card, it was so pretty," comments Louisiana location manager Michael
"Fortunately, that location worked out phenomenally well, which was great
because the initial
challenge had been to find as many locations in Louisiana as we could to mimic
Northwest. However, finding the Pacific Northwest in the Southeast is a little
bit challenging at
best. My team did an extensive search of Southeast Louisiana - Shreveport,
Orleans and everywhere in between - looking for forested areas. Surprisingly,
there is actually a
fair amount of pine forest down here, but the problem is the trees are rather
small and planted in
"The locations department found a great small forest, and to make it work we
brought in a
lot of fallen trees, big fake rocks, and snowed the whole thing," explains
Sherman. "My favorite
thing about my job is working with a great director like Bill coupled with a
great D.P. like
Guillermo. Watching the monitor on set when the D.P. lights it beautifully,
seeing the whole thing
come to fruition, that can be very satisfying."
The campfire was the first night shooting for many of the global vampires.
says, "It was a night shoot and they made the forest look like it was snowing,
but it wasn't actually
snowing. Between that and the working bonfire, the special effects were amazing.
warming tents in the back and on breaks, the whole troupe of vampires, who
aren't supposed to
feel the cold, would traipse back to the warming tents."
"Even though we were in Louisiana, it looked like we were in Forks,
Washington in the
woods," says Casey LaBow. "Benjamin's throwing his fireballs and up until this
point, I had never
really worked on anything with this level of special effects. Watching the movie
magic of how
they did all of that was so interesting."
"Sitting around this campfire, it was cold enough that I thought it might
reveals LaBow. "The snow could have been real, but it was paper. It floats
through the air just
like real snow and you can even ball it up and throw a snowball. The poor
Amazons in their
costumes - just little pieces of leather really - and everybody dressed up in
their battle gear and
ready to go to the fight the next morning. It was slightly overwhelming at
first, with about 30
vampires around a campfire talking about the battles that they'd all been in
centuries, it was like a brief history lesson."
These big vampire group dialogue scenes posed technical challenges for the
"Guillermo Navarro has this one weird obsession that turned out to be
here. Guillermo's gifts go so far beyond this, but it was his very special
obsession was with
where are we going to start in order to effectively hit all of the beats of the
interconnections in a
scene, and never cross the line? One of the great challenges is you have scenes
with 27 or more
characters, and many times, they are just having a talk. But there are still 27
around a space. That's obviously a blocking challenge, but once you've decided
intricacies of, here is the emotional center of this scene, and this is how you
are going to stage it,
then figuring out how to shoot that in limited shooting time. Plus, they really
just stand there -
vampires don't do normal things like move or smoke or drink coffee," laughs
Condon. "How do
you make that, not only visually compelling, but also even coherent?"
In a more intimate moment that night, inside a tent Bella gives her daughter
Christmas gift. Prop master Mike Sabo says, "We built this locket in Baton
Rouge, hence the
Fleur-de-lis on it. The inscription is in French and from the book - 'More than
My Own Life.'"
Also that winter, the Louisiana crew spent two nights in New Orleans filming
scenes: Garrett's introduction, shot in Dutch Alley near Decatur in the French
meeting at a fancy Seattle restaurant with the mysterious J. Jenks; and a
involving the Japanese vampire Toshiro fleeing from the Volturi, who are en
route to Forks.
Surprisingly, filmmakers found a section of the Central Business District in
that looked like the London neighborhood Spitalfields. "We were scouting for
other scenes and
oddly we found these couple of blocks that really do look like London, with
white buildings with
the doors and brick above," says Sherman. "Guillermo actually happened on this
with a facade at the end that was all broken out. We built the decaying and
smashed windows so
it looked like a very, a very depressed part of London and we played the scene
Sherman laughs, "There was a little bit of trouble because the Volturi wanted to
dinner, so they walked across the street and all the fans and photographers got
sort of crazy."
"It was the first scene the Volturi filmed on this movie and also the first
time you ever get
to see my character use his power," adds Cameron Bright. "So it was fun except
doesn't actually come out of my hands."
"Charlie's character runs down the wall of this brick alley chasing this
who's just completely lost and has no idea what's going on," says Daniel Cudmore.
up on the wall on wires and I was hanging about 45 feet up in the air. We both
get dropped and
have this fight scene throwing him into the wall as Aro interviews him. The way
it was set up and
how alleyway looked was really cool. I was harnessed up and looking like a
fishing lure hanging
when I dropped right into the action, which is a blast for me. I love it."
"Unless you're an astronaut, you don't get to do this stuff really," laughs
"I drop in front of Toshiro and toss him around a bit. It's a wonderful thing to
be able to jump off a
wall on wires."
Set in a contemporary Pacific Northwest setting, the exteriors for this
story were primarily filmed in British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver location
Fraser's team secured a multitude of wilderness-looking locations over a range
of 200 miles.
Filmmakers returned to several locations seen in The Twilight Saga: New Moon,
Saga: Eclipse, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 including: Bella's
Surrey, Jacob's house in Coquitlam, and Edward and Bella's meadow in Widgeon
Various roads, trails, and backcountry areas surrounding Squamish were
addition to the large Cullen house built in a remote area outside of town on the
Other locations in and around Squamish included: The Stawamus Chief Park, Little
Bluffs, and Tantalus View Spot were used to shoot Bella's hunt, as well as
Cascade Falls in
Mission (Bella's leap), Pet Wall in Murrin Provincial Park, and Whytecliff Park
in West Vancouver.
The final battle utilized the Callahan Valley near Whistler for the Volturi's
grand arrival through the
woods, as well as Hurley Pass for plate shots.
Other wilderness locations include: Anmore; Belcarra Regional Park (Irina's
Pemberton (Denali House); Pitt Meadows (Romanian's arrival); Seymour
(Bella's training), Cypress Falls Park, and Capilano Park in North Vancouver;
and Central Park in
Burnaby. In downtown Vancouver, locations include: Stanley Park for some
and Beatty Street. Additional green screen stage work was completed at North
Shore Studios in
North Vancouver and Canadian Motion Picture Park in Burnaby.
"If it wasn't for art director Jeremy Stanbridge in Vancouver, and
supervising art director
Troy Sizemore and art director Lorin Flemming in Baton Rouge, it would have
comments Sherman. ""I was very lucky to choose incredibly talented people, who
are smart, who
are easy to work with, and who read the shorthand. These guys were just as good
as it gets.
Otherwise a production of this massive size would have been a really daunting
Twilight Belongs to the Fans
Author Stephenie Meyer believes that fans responded to something unique that
director contributed to the film saga. "Catherine brought this heightened
romantic charge to the
story. The success of all of this was started with her bringing to the screen
the feeling of falling in
love. You were in it with Kristen. You fell in love. You felt that charge when
Edward walks in the
room. Because she was able to make that feel real for so many people, that's
what people kept
"Chris somehow came the very closest to what I was seeing in my head. We were
sync, but he drew the shortest stick because he got the story that's all about
depressed, to the point of hallucinations," smiles Meyer. "That's not easy and
he made it
beautiful. The end had the feel of an old-fashion romance, timeless and
beautiful. In some ways
it's my favorite one to watch again."
"When we got to David, all of a sudden, the books pick up in tempo, and he is
a guy who
really gets tempo," comments Meyer. "This is the first time action is really a
big part of the story,
and the first time that we're really seeing Taylor and Rob together butting
heads. That gives us
another charge. David had the action and the speed as the story is picking up
he really rolled that through."
"Then we get to Bill, whose greatest talent among many, is he re-humanized
going on," says Meyer. "This part of the story really goes completely crazy. We
over into fantasy entirely in the last book. Bill brings it back down to being
about human emotions
that we can understand. When Bella is getting married, it feels so real. When
she falls in love
with her child, and then has to deal with the fact that everyone thinks she's
going to die and that
she shouldn't go through with this, you understood exactly what she was feeling.
It was totally
relatable, even though none of it could ever happen in reality. Bill has done
that again with this
last film, where we get big action all about a mother who will do anything to
protect her child. We
feel Bella's fierceness and desperation. As a mother, I know how effectively he
Human relatable essence is the hallmark of what he's done with these two
The celebrated director also earned praise from his cast. "Bill Condon, love
says Billy Burke. "He has a great heart, which reveals itself daily. He's so
interested in what he's
doing at any given moment and that rubs off on you, it is very infectious. I
like his style, he's very
relaxed, very introspective and there's really no substitute for a director
who's truly invested. Bill
is that guy and I'd love to work with him again."
"I didn't think he was necessarily an obvious choice for these films," admits
Sheen. "But looking at all the different things that he's done, and done so
well, I was really
interested because he obviously works with actors very well. He gets great
understands how to make the drama of something work. But at the same time, he's
handle large groups of people and big set pieces, as well as material that's
very entertaining and
very dramatic. He has displayed a wonderful mixture of qualities in the work
that he's done, so I
was really looking forward to working with him."
"Bill Condon is so aware of subtleties within the scenes," adds Mia Maestro.
such sensitivity for things, and he's so warm towards everyone of us. We're a
huge cast and Bill
takes the time to say good morning to everyone. He's a very, very personable
director and that's
very unusual when someone's in charge of a production this big. Bill is always
in the best mood
and always extremely kind."
"I've found that he's a thoroughly lovely man and a very, very talented
Sheen. "It's really nice to work with someone so pleasant with such a nice
attitude. You need
that on a film like this. You need someone who knows what they want to do, is
clear about what
they're trying to go for, and at the same time, is able to give off a calming
and pleasant attitude.
We spoke, as time went on, about Aro's play-acting and his laugh. It was great
to talk it through
and Bill was very responsive to my ideas."
Condon helped his cast to embrace the bigger themes on the final installment.
have progressively opened up on a larger and larger scale," Sheen says. "More
involved, the mythology widens out, and we start to understand more about the
history of these
characters and their interactions. Breaking Dawn is a much more epic film, on a
much more epic
scale. We're meeting characters from all over the world now, going back further
in time, and
obviously it's becoming darker."
"The themes are more adult about more serious, important things - we're not
at who she's going to go out with anymore," laughs Sheen. "This is now getting
bigger and bigger
and bigger all the time - a much more meaty, complex and filling, rich
experience. It's also much
more colorful because we've got these characters coming from the Amazon and from
and everywhere. There's a little bit of everything for everybody."
Omar Metwally agrees, "The story's continuing to expand in scope. You have
subplots and storylines happening, and everything is being weaved together for
this finale. That's
one of the things I liked about it, the mythological dimension. That finale
scene was certainly the
most memorable thing I filmed because of the size of it, how many of us were out
there, and how
long it took to shoot it. Also being the climax of five movies, there was a lot
of energy and weight
and effort put forth and, it's fun to be part of something like that."
Everyone involved in making the saga felt the responsibility to do right by
the fans with
the final installments. "Twilight is lightning in a bottle that struck a magical
nerve, not only young
girls, but for people of all ages. The only thing that I can guess is that, at
its core, it's a love story.
But it's the kind of love story that people love to fantasize about... wanting
what you can't have
and going after it anyway. People, by nature, just follow their heart and that's
really what this
story has been about," says Burke.
"I had the opportunity to see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 in
real fans," comments Condon. "I got to feel that incredible interaction between
the audience and
what's happening on screen. It was amazing how attuned the fans are to
everything, down to
looks that meant something from the book. That experience will remain a
because the story means so much to the people who love it."
"My favorite thing is that there's life after the movies with the more fan
related stuff -
conventions and autographed signings. In reality, the greatest fans in the world
run our movies.
They are so accepting and supportive of literally everybody in these movies. We
can meet the
people who love us for what we do. That makes me appreciate what I do so much
even had nine marriage proposals and I'm only 17. I'll be 18 in two weeks, so
settle down there
ladies," laughs Cameron Bright.
"The fans take the journey with you," adds Meyer. "It was easier to make
with the fans early on when only ten people were at a book signing. You got to
talk to everybody
for a good amount of time. It's harder now. Events like Comic-Con are nice
because I get to take
my time and some of the faces are super familiar. We have a back-story with some
of the fans,
they're really awesome people. They have such a strong community that started
and friendships have formed between them. Many fans have found people like
themselves, and I
love hanging out with them."
Michael Sheen offers some insight on why the series is so loved. "My daughter
even twelve yet, and a lot of the experiences that the books are about, as we
see it through the
eyes of Bella, are the experiences that a girl will go through in her teenage
years and beyond. It's
a rites of passage story for young girls, seen through the prism of the world of
gives it an exotic and dangerous quality. But ultimately, it's about moving from
womanhood, and the challenges that come along: first love, loss, difficult
decisions, what is it that
you're actually looking for, and what you need to make you happy. Also marriage,
child birth, and
growing into adulthood."
"Stephenie has found a way to tell these stories that have great meaning to
are going through those experiences themselves," adds Sheen. "It helps them
navigate their way
through it and at the same time creates this fantastical world around it - full
of desire, excitement,
fear, and darkness, as well as light. It's a wonderful combination of things. I
know my daughter,
even though she's not going through a lot of those experiences yet, she's
fascinated by that world
and it gives her a great sense of comfort to know that these characters are
going through these
experiences that she, on some level, knows are laying ahead for her."
"There's something that happens emotionally when you're at that age, when
adolescent," comments Valorie Curry. "When you're in love, you feel it so
intensely, it's so
consuming. It's really the only time in your life when you feel it in that way.
brilliantly tapped into that with her characters. Through her writing, she
allows the reader to tap
into that as well, to feel that all-consuming passion that drives this whole
story. That's what
keeps people coming back to the films again and again. It's what brought me into
"It's epic. This awkward girl who is stumbling around trying to figure out
who she is as a
person, if she fits in at all; and this man who has been waiting for her for
centuries, who comes in
and sweeps her off her feet. That's a romance that everyone in the world can
connect to," says
"This is something that hopefully will be around for a long time, that people
will be able to
revisit time and time again, because underneath everything is a timeless love
Jamie Campbell Bower.
"I've always equated the movies to a modern day Romeo and Juliette, in the
there's this love that will win out," says Bill Tangradi. "Combine that with the
fact that we're
dealing with vampires in a huge fantasy context, you get the best of both worlds
- romance and
fantasy. It hits on a lot of different levels."
"The wonderful thing about these books is that we start off with a very
something that draws in a very innocent reader. Progressively, as the books come
grow. As we move through the story, our audience matures and with that comes a
to tell the story. We can go more into more adult themes," says Heyerdahl.
"We're coming to the
climax of this story of the awkward little girl, blossoming into this beautiful
Edward is finally calming, and we see conflict after conflict after conflict. We
also see this
beautiful relationship between Jacob and Renesmee. I love the moment where Bella
she is so much more powerful than she would have ever thought of herself."
"By the time the last movie comes out, it'll be really close to a decade
working on Twilight.
Everything about my life has been surreal for the past ten years, a crazy
dreamlike life," admits
Meyer. "I did not have the slightest idea that anything would come from me
jotting down a story
in my head. If we could go back in time and snatch me out of my little house and
tell me you
have to walk into a room with people and cameras, I probably would have died of
a heart attack
on the spot. I am a more confident person now, and yet in other ways more
insecure. A lot of
things have changed, except that I still get to go home to my family where I get
to be me. That
has not changed. I wrote Breaking Dawn to be a stopping point, because I knew I
burned out, but I'm not sure as to whether I will put these characters away
Melissa Rosenberg also struggles with saying goodbye to Bella, Edward, and
work was done when production's work began, so I experienced early the end of
involvement sharing their world. It's difficult, when I stopped writing for the
Twilight series, I had
to almost relearn how to write other characters in another voice, because
Twilight is a very
specific mood and tone; and Bella, Edward, and Jacob have been part of my life
for so long."
"I'm one of only a handful of female screenwriters, and I try to encourage as
writers coming up as possible, because we need more," adds Rosenberg. "This
series has been
really eye opening for the industry in terms of audience... women are coming out
in droves and
they're seeing it repeatedly. You can have a female lead drive a successful
movie. Women can
make a number one box office, multi-billion dollar franchise."
Bella is finally able to let Edward read her mind in the final scene of the
saga, set in their
iconic meadow. "I hope the fans come out of the theatre feeling excited for
them. Bella is
stronger than anyone around her and really owns who she is; and for the first
time in forever,
Edward is a happy optimistic person. I'm happy with where they are," states
The last of the second unit work on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
at the rock climbing face of the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park in Squamish on
April 29, 2011,
about a week after principal photography wrapped in the Caribbean on honeymoon
the first part of the finale. The aerial unit then filmed a handful of ideal
weather days in the weeks
that followed. Almost a year to the day later, at the end of April 2012, a small
number of cast,
including Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson, returned to Canadian Motion Picture
Burnaby (where scenes for four of the five movies were shot) for a few days of
primarily to fill in action beats on the hunt and the battle sequences, to
complete shooting on the
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is in theatres on Friday, November
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