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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 Louisiana, crews in Canada, including many individuals from the previous productions returning to finish out the series, were scouting remote wilderness locations and constructing the large-scale Cullen house near Squamish, British Columbia.

For the iconic home of a contemporary family of covert vampires, Twilight director 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 great unreal 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 forest."

Over the course of the five films, the Cullen home has been a combination of two actual 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: New Moon 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 and outside 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 faƧade, 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: Bella's 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 soundstage version."

For the final two films, filmmakers rebuilt the house not once, but twice... in two countries. Architectural details like windows, doors, cabinetry, fireplaces, stair treads and handrails, plus set dressing like furniture and artwork from the Eclipse house were reassembled 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 Columbia, near 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 an incline 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 with a giant green screen, so the wooded exteriors outside the windows could be put in later. Together 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 Baton Rouge shooting on that huge soundstage for about three months, and then flying to Vancouver, driving 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 greenery."

Ashley Greene agrees, "It's incredible to have this Cullen house transported to different 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, the location house doesn't actually have bathrooms or heat. But it creates a sense of comfort because we know it so well."

Filmmakers also gave the Cullens' home and wardrobe some minor updates. Sharp fans will notice some subtle enhancements to the Cullen house... some due to Esme's interest in antiques, some due to story considerations. "We changed the house a little bit," admits Sherman. "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 useful to 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 were doing 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 background into 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 through in 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 the multi-level 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 Jacob-wolf first 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 raging monsoon 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 freezing cold temperatures, blizzards, snow, downpours, flooding, and unexpected sunshine. "It's funny we've always had a very unique weather dynamic shooting Twilight movies," continues Bannerman. "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 on screen, 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 Allen, Louisiana (across the river from Baton Rouge) also hosted the interior of Charlie's house, the highly 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, that's 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 cottage, she 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 the wilderness, away from prying eyes."

The exteriors of the magical abode were built in a wooded area in Coquitlam, British Columbia, close by to where Jacob transforms into a wolf for Charlie. "It's the storybook cottage, 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 tireless equal 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 powerful sequence that becomes more metaphorical - you see visceral elements like heat and flames and sparks."

"This idealized version of a cottage in the forest is a very fairly tale idea. Richard Sherman's challenge was to live up to fan expectation, but to stay away from the obvious," says 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. "Bill Condon 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 three-tiered blood drain at the epicenter of the room was added and the hallway has changed to a more dungeonesque feel."

"Bill and I decided to do one big change from the original Chris Weitz's version, which 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 suddenly we're 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 described it, 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 build."

Condon and Sherman also changed the location of Amun's Kasbah from the book. Now 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 movie."

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. "Benjamin 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 the bag." 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 hip waders, 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 was a 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 is imagination 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 terms."

Another memorable set, the 12th century Russian village that served the story by explaining the concept of an immortal child, was constructed in rural Jackson, Louisiana. In 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 state.

An hour north of Baton Rouge, the location received a Southern downpour as the crew 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 Casey LaBow. "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 looked incredible."

"Bill described the temperament that he wanted from that scene and Richard built those 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 artwork done 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 absorbed into 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, but 12th 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," reveals Sherman. "We did it all based on sketches from that period and did all the houses painted in interesting 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 child gets thrown into the fire, so it was very, very fun."

"We had the cutest kid, Billy, who played the toe-headed child vampire who destroys an 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 novel," comments Condon.

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 like a Christmas card, it was so pretty," comments Louisiana location manager Michael Burmeister. "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 the Pacific 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, Lafayette, New 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 neat rows."

"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. Lisa Howard 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. We had 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 actually snow," 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 throughout the centuries, it was like a brief history lesson."

These big vampire group dialogue scenes posed technical challenges for the filmmakers. "Guillermo Navarro has this one weird obsession that turned out to be unbelievably important 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 vampires sitting around a space. That's obviously a blocking challenge, but once you've decided on the 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 Renesmee a 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 three scenes: Garrett's introduction, shot in Dutch Alley near Decatur in the French Quarter; Bella's meeting at a fancy Seattle restaurant with the mysterious J. Jenks; and a London-based scene 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 New Orleans 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 long alleyway 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 with fog." Sherman laughs, "There was a little bit of trouble because the Volturi wanted to go 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 that mist doesn't actually come out of my hands."

"Charlie's character runs down the wall of this brick alley chasing this Japanese vampire, who's just completely lost and has no idea what's going on," says Daniel Cudmore. "Charlie was 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 Charlie Bewley. "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 supernatural love story were primarily filmed in British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver location manager Abraham 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, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 including: Bella's house in Surrey, Jacob's house in Coquitlam, and Edward and Bella's meadow in Widgeon Park.

Various roads, trails, and backcountry areas surrounding Squamish were filmed, in addition to the large Cullen house built in a remote area outside of town on the Cheakamus River. Other locations in and around Squamish included: The Stawamus Chief Park, Little Chief, Smoke 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 ridge); Pemberton (Denali House); Pitt Meadows (Romanian's arrival); Seymour Demonstration Forest (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 wilderness inserts, 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 never happened," 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 task." Twilight Belongs to the Fans

Author Stephenie Meyer believes that fans responded to something unique that each 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 coming back."

"Chris somehow came the very closest to what I was seeing in my head. We were very in sync, but he drew the shortest stick because he got the story that's all about being horribly 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 momentum, and he really rolled that through."

"Then we get to Bill, whose greatest talent among many, is he re-humanized what was going on," says Meyer. "This part of the story really goes completely crazy. We are stepping 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 captured that. Human relatable essence is the hallmark of what he's done with these two movies."

The celebrated director also earned praise from his cast. "Bill Condon, love that man," 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 Michael 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 performances and understands how to make the drama of something work. But at the same time, he's able to 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. "He has 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 director," furthers 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. "The films have progressively opened up on a larger and larger scale," Sheen says. "More new characters 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 just looking 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 Romania and everywhere. There's a little bit of everything for everybody."

Omar Metwally agrees, "The story's continuing to expand in scope. You have little 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 theatres with 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 cherished memory, 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 more. I've 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 connections 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 with Twilight, 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 is not 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 vampires, which gives it an exotic and dangerous quality. But ultimately, it's about moving from girlhood to 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 people who 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 you're an 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. Stephenie just 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 the book."

"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 Marlane Barnes.

"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 story," agrees Jamie Campbell Bower.

"I've always equated the movies to a modern day Romeo and Juliette, in the sense that 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 gentle beginning, something that draws in a very innocent reader. Progressively, as the books come out, readers grow. As we move through the story, our audience matures and with that comes a deeper ability 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 powerful woman. 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 realizes that 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 was getting burned out, but I'm not sure as to whether I will put these characters away forever."

Melissa Rosenberg also struggles with saying goodbye to Bella, Edward, and Jacob. "My work was done when production's work began, so I experienced early the end of the my 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 many young 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 Meyer.

The last of the second unit work on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 wrapped 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 scenes for 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 Park in Burnaby (where scenes for four of the five movies were shot) for a few days of additional filming, primarily to fill in action beats on the hunt and the battle sequences, to complete shooting on the saga.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is in theatres on Friday, November 16, 2012.

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