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THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1

About The Production
Principal photography on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 began on November 7, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and shooting continued on the film, concurrently with production of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, for six months in three countries. The multi-national crew shot primarily in and around: Rio de Janeiro and Paraty, Brazil; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; as well as Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and Squamish, BC, Canada – all creating the world of Forks, Washington; Isle Esme, Brazil; and Volterra, Italy. (Due to the global scope of particularly the second film, multiple countries were recreated in the various locations.) Additional shots for the Brazilian honeymoon sequence for Part 1 took place in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 begins as an intimate story about a wedding and a honeymoon, the details of which are so breathlessly debated, anticipated, and sought after by Twilight devotees that extreme security measures had to be adopted to keep them secret. The resulting pregnancy ignites so much controversy that the film expands in scope with both obvious, as well as surprising, visual effects challenges and an explosive third act action sequence where the Cullens and the wolves openly battle each other for the first time. With much of the film's narrative taking place inside and outside the Cullen house, filmmakers built two full-scale versions of the home. While honoring the established elements of the novel and the previous three installments, filmmakers still left their interpretive mark on a contemporary love story involving humans and supernatural beings, which included several flashback and nightmare scenes. Like all Twilight films, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 utilized many forested settings that feature the expected character specific gloom and rain, but cast and crew also faced unexpected weather anomalies that dogged the production at often remote locations throughout the extended shoot. In addition, the largest cast of the saga required an army of experts - including craftspeople in make-up, hair/wigs, contact lenses, costumes and props - to achieve the elaborate looks described in the book, details sure to be fact-checked by the eagerly waiting fans.

One Story, Two Movies

The added challenge of making two epic motion pictures, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and the even more ambitious The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, at the same time and in two major production centers, forced filmmakers to often concurrently prep sets many thousands of miles apart. The production set up two home bases – one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where most of the interior shooting was completed; and the other in Vancouver, BC where most of the exterior work of the Pacific Northwest-based story was shot. The project also required a field trip to Brazil, which required yet a third production team, known as The World Unit. While the main shooting company started filming in Louisiana, crews in Canada (many returning to the franchise) were scouting remote wilderness locations and constructing the large-scale Cullen house and various other sets.

Following twenty weeks of prep, production used block shooting for efficiency in terms of locations, actor availability, looks, props, set dressing, and sets. "At the very early stages of development, we had to address all the things that create the signature of the character looks; wigs, make-up, contact lenses, and wardrobe; and then also the sets themselves. Bill and I sat down and went through the whole list, covering every character, every set, every venue, and every location,” shares co-producer Bill Bannerman.

"However, the homework that has to be resolved for Part 2 is very different from the homework that has to be resolved for the beginning of Part 1, and you had to have all those issues addressed before you start filming,” says Bannerman. "But Bill Condon is a genius - highly intellectual to the point that he's able to comprehend every facet of production, both from a creative vision and a physical execution perspective. Bill looks at the grand canvas and understands the various colors and how you execute those elements.”

The main unit alone logged 101 shooting days. "The logistical demands of this chapter alone are high,” admits Bannerman. "The logistical demands of the two parts put together have been even greater… three countries with multiple units - main unit, second units, action units, plate units, effects units, and aerial units. We had to break it down into these dynamics just to make it a very difficult, but challenging chess game.”

"We wound up leaving only the exterior scenes to Vancouver in winter and early spring. So, that turned out to be a real challenge because we didn't have anywhere else inside to go when it either rained or snowed, and that's what it did most every day,” laughs Condon. "So, that turned out to be a hidden price that we paid for doing so much of the work down in Baton Rouge.”

"From the beginning, Bill Bannerman tirelessly worked out a plan for how to shoot these two movies together and in a time frame where we could split the shoot between stages (and some locations) in Louisiana, and then all of our exteriors, where we've always shot in the Pacific Northwest,” explains producer Wyck Godfrey. "But, it's created other challenges. When we got to Vancouver, we didn't have as much cover (inside work) as you would like, but it was important in terms of utilizing the tax credits in Louisiana. It was a complicated mix. Plus, your lead actress having to bounce, sometimes daily, between being human and being a vampire.”

Kristen Stewart comments, "We've approached the project as a whole. Everything's being shot like one big movie, since the book is not broken up into two different stories. It's been as confusing as anything shot out of sequence, but very long.”

"Literally some days we would film a scene from the beginning of the first movie in the morning, have lunch, and then film a scene from the end of the second movie in the afternoon. It was crazy,” comments Taylor Lautner. "All of the characters change so much from the first movie to the second. Jacob changes a ton, so it was tough to keep track of where Jacob is in his journey. But we had Bill Condon to help, as well as Stephenie and all of the cast. It was challenging, probably one of the most challenging things so far in this franchise.”

"From a creative standpoint, the nuances of it for Bill and the actors are that they each have to create their own emotional journeys for two separate movies. From a production standpoint, you're worried about post-production on movie 1, just focusing on making sure all of the elements for movie 1 are in the can by the April wrap for a November release, and 98 percent of the elements for movie 2,” adds Godfrey.

Producers assembled a talented and celebrated core team of department heads to surround director Bill Condon to bring his vision for the final two films to the screen including: Oscar® winning director of photography Guillermo Navarro, ASC, production designer Richard Sherman, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, and returning 2nd unit director E.J. Foerster. With only a year from the start of filming to the release of the first epic film, a massive visual effects team led by Oscar® winning visual effects supervisor John Bruno, plus editor Virginia "Ginny” Katz, and Twilight Saga veterans, music composer Carter Burwell and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, began their work when the films were still shooting and worked tirelessly through a break

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