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'Twilight' Countdown: Melissa Rosenberg defends 'Breaking Dawn'

Melissa 7 more days ...

There's no question that “Twilight” fans were divided on Stephenie Meyer’s series-ending finale, “Breaking Dawn.” But the author can take comfort in knowing that should the remaining books be turned into movies, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg is in her corner.

In my interview with Rosenberg, one of the driving forces behind Showtime's darkly comic "Dexter," she goes to bat for Meyer, reveals which actor came closest to the character she had envisioned while adapting "Twilight" and talks up Robert Pattinson’s take on the brooding Edward.

As a writer yourself, what did you think of “Breaking Dawn”? Fans were pretty divided.

I was utterly compelled by it, first of all. I understand why there's uproar, but I respect Stephenie for having made the choices she did. She easily could have played it very safe. She could have had the series go on for another eight novels, but she took a risk. And she blew it out! She just completely went wild. I just think that that's such bold storytelling. She turns the series upside down.

Here's the thing: If you're playing it safe, you're not going to offend any of the fans. If you take a risk, you risk losing your entire audience, you risk destroying your entire series. We deal with that on "Dexter" all the time. Every time you take a risk, you have a 50-50 chance of choosing wrong. We've all seen series take that risk and fall flat on their asses and everyone cries, "What have you done to my series?" And then you're the most hated person. But I think Stephenie was true to herself and her story and that's what is important.

Tell me how you got involved with the movie.

I had written "Step Up" for Summit Entertainment. They gave me a call and told me about the book and told me it had quite the fan following. But it was the characters that compelled me to take the job. And actually, more than that, it was what Stephenie did with the vampire genre, which is one of the most well-trodden genres we have. She reinvented the mythology in a fresh way, and that's really quite the feat. I'm a big fan of the genre. Plus, I was really intrigued by Bella, who is really the everygirl brought into this new world. She was someone I wanted to see more of and develop.

Did you know how big that fan following was at the time?

When I signed on, I had gotten a little bit of a sense of it. I researched it online and realized it was pretty extensive, then I stopped looking. I didn't want to know! I knew it would get overwhelming.

I’d heard that Stephanie sent you a “manifesto” of things that had to be in your adaptation of “Twilight.” Can you talk about what it said?

She did send one, yes. It's understandable after what happened the first time around.

But there was nothing on that manifesto that I disagreed with. It was very much like, "You can't kill characters who don't die in the book"; "if you kill Jacob, you don't have the sequel." It said the characters had to have the same powers and gifts they do in the book. Basically the manifesto said to adapt the book. Since that was my intention, to adapt it as opposed to use it as a jumping-off place, it was easy to adhere to.

Which actor came closest to the character as you envisioned while writing the script?

Billy Burke I thought was just incredible. I wasn't sure at first, because I didn't really have an actor in mind while I was writing Charlie, but he so beautifully embodied that relationship with Bella. He's one that really stands out for me. I was also delighted by Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper. He doesn't have a ton of dialogue or screen time, but he just pops. I don't know what it is exactly; he's just got this spark. And Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were also both spot-on.

That’s interesting. Both Robert and Stephenie have said they didn’t see eye to eye on Edward initially.

Yes, that's true. But I liked what Robert did. The tone of my original script was off. It had more humor and he brought it to a more sober place, which winds up being really great and dramatic for the film. He's very elegant in a way. You can see him as this guy who's been around for 100 years; he brings that history with him. It's almost as though he's from a different time. It's really effective.

Which of the books is your favorite?

They're all so different it's hard to choose. As a reader, I'd say  "Eclipse." But it would be the greatest challenge to adapt because Bella isn't driving the action in that book.

Are you onboard to adapt the sequels?

I'll adapt anything Stephenie writes! She's a great storyteller, and now that I know how she collaborates, I think we'd work well and much closer on future movies.

Catch up on past Countdown interviews: Robert Pattinson (Parts 1, 2 and 3), Kristen Stewart, director Catherine Hardwicke (Parts 1 and 2), Peter Facinelli, Edi Gathegi and Taylor Lautner.

-- Denise Martin

Related:
Complete "Twilight" Countdown coverage
Complete "Twilight" coverage on Hero Complex

Photo: WireImage

 
Comments () | Archives (17)

I would like to take this time to formerly beg- PLEASE MAKE BREAKING DAWN RATED R! It has to be!!! There's no other way to do right. If the studio is worried about ticket sales, I truly believe they will not be disappointed. Fans of age (I'm 27) are much more composed and may quietly obsess- but obsess we do- none the less! Any that are not yet 18 or over now, will probably be so by the time the final installment releases. Thank you, that is all. :)

She'll adapt anything Stephenie writes? Oh!!! Do The Host! It's my favorite Stephenie Meyer book by far! >.<

When it comes to Breaking Dawn, there were just so many people that went into the book with all of these ideas in their heads. They speculated and made predictions and they had these expectations. Those readers basically set themselves up for disappointment. I went into the reading with an open mind. I still don't understand how people can say that Renesmee is "too far out there." That's just ridiculous. I mean, these are books about a love between a human and vampire for crying out loud!

Anyway, this is the first time that I've found myself interested in every aspect concerning a film. I've read several interviews with Melissa Rosenberg and have enjoyed them thoroughly. Also, just wanted to add that I love the sense of girl power surrounding this film. The book was written by a woman. It was adapted for the screen by a woman. It was directed by a woman. And a [young] woman has first billing in the acting credits. I love it!

Sadly, if Breaking Dawn is rated R many won't see it in the movies. Including Stephenie Meyer herself. If you've read any of her interviews, she states that because of the way she was raised, she has never seen a R rated movie. Also, the fan base, as you know, is young teens. Why destroy such a strong fan base?

Speaking from a personal perspective, I'm an adult, but I choose not to see R rated movies, either. Even the "really good" ones. It's a religious and moral choice for me. And I don't think I'm alone in this choice. As I've stated before, even Stephenie Meyer hasn't ever seen a R rated movie.

At any rate, I think it's entirely possible to make excellent movies and still keep the PG13 rating. If anyone could do it, certainly the genius of Melissa Rosenberg could!

I love the Twilight series and I have to say next to "Twilight" itself "Breaking Dawn" is my favorite. I think what Stephenie Meyer's did was fantastic. I finished all four books in one week. I agree that "Breaking Dawn" as a movie would be off either R or NC-17 in order to do it justice. I am 36 and know many adults my age who love the Twilight saga as well. I think movie makers would find that the higher rating will still do just as well as any of the other movies will do.

I just want everyone to know, its not just teenagers who love this book...I am 37, most of my friends are in their 30 s, and this book is a great escape into what we think is a great escape from the reality of love. Weve been married, divorced, expierenced, and have never found an Edward. LOL...But being able to read these books have just been a fantastic escape...so its not just the teeny boppers, its us grown ups too!

I hope the Twilight movie turns out to be a good movie and that it enjoys a ton of success and wins the fandom a few new Twilighters.

But I really cant see Breaking Dawn being made into a movie. Don't get me wrong, it's not the fact that it would have to be rated R....um the actors are all gonna age though aren't they? Then it'd end up just being silly when we've got a visibly twenty-seven year old Rob going around pretending to be 17...

Maybe technology will be so advanced that his and the other vamps' ages won't really matter....? Cos I am dying to see ALL of these books made into movies.

well, after watching the twilight movie Friday night, I was a bit disappointed in the writing. the scenes did not flow well with each other. the main parts were exquisitely executed by the actors. it had all the key points from the book and were done well, however nothing really flowed into the next and if you weren't familiar with the books, it would be questionable as to what the attraction between the two really were. the pivotal moments in their relationships were left out. these were the conversations and the rationalizing of all of her moments. the movie was like "hello, I am bella and this is edward. i like him, i want to bite her, i am dangerous and we shouldn't be friends, but i want you, okay. " where were all the thoughts and dreams and hardships for him that were discussed in the books, there was no depth to the movie. there were real emotions, but it just happened so fast. maybe it was due to the budget, etc.

As for new moon, they really need to increase the budget and get a real stunt person instead of one who specializes in martial arts so it can be more animalistic. with the increased budget the transformation to a werewolf could be more like Van Helsing rather than Professor Lupin which was so cartoonish. the final book is really not a very violent book except for the destruction of tanya. they don't really fight and the sex in the book was tasteful. i wanted more details, but it was kept clean for the young readers. so really there is no reason for an r rating.

I just hope that she doesn't cut pivotal scenes in New Moon and Eclipse like she did in Twilight. I mean the one scene that should not have been ANY DIFFERENT from the book was The Meadow and it was just all too chopped up for my taste and OMG ... how about Edward and Bella saying I love you to each other at least once in the movie. Don't get me wrong ... I like the movie I just wished they didn't chince out on the meadow. So in New Moon the rescue of Edward at the end and the whole Voltri scene would be essential.

Well i just wanted tosay THEY NEED TO MAKE THE LAST BOOK IN TO A MOVIE!
i will so see it like 12000 times.Iv seen Twilght now 12 times!i love it.i cant wait till New Moon!

I think they should replace melissa R. She really didn't read the book or paid attention to the cullen kids or characters. I wish there was more about how the cullen family came to be rather than just hearing it through jacob in twilight. There wasn't much character development, and that's not very good. Melissa is supposedly signed on to do new moon.., so I guess we'll have to see what she brings to the table. I hope she proves us wrong and does something spectacular

First...Breaking Dawn???? I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! It was AWESOME!! Any book with Edward and Bella in it is GOING to be awesome!!

Second....Personally, Breaking Dawn will be good either way - rated PG-13 or rated R. The loves scenes tho....woooww!! Could you IMAGINE that in a rated R!!!? Man!! What sexual tension, passion and energy in that! WOW! But - to each his own!!

Either way - I will love it...providing they keep the tone and movie the SAME!! Hollywood sometimes has a way of "changing' things when they dont NEED to be changed!!

I have to laugh at a former comment saying Stephanie Meyer has never seen a rated R movie. I highly doubt that and it surely didn't stop her from writing a rated R book. I think she should have been bold enough to write a descent and touching love scene rather than skipped past it but left visual pictures of feathers and broken head boards and babies being chewed out of stomachs. It makes no sense what does that say? I think it would rdiciulous to not make Breaking Dawn into a movie if you're going to invest in the other three movies. I think they'll just keep it on the down low until they can figure out a way to go about it without losing the fanbase. Everyone has an opinion on Breaking Dawn but the fact is they didn't write it and if they had such great ideas themselves they would have published they're own books and made as much money as Meyer. Breaking Dawn has the potential to be a great flick if its done right and the notion that it can't be done because of the more mature theme is utterly ridiculous because certain things can be tamed for film. Eventually characters grow up to some extent and if people believe that the novels were going to stay sex free and baby free they're nuts. This is reality people get pregnant, people get married. My delivery of my children was a similiar gorish nightmare without the bite. They will do Breaking Dawn if New Moon and Eclipse make money thats the bottom line it is about money.

I think that breaking dawn should be rated pg-13 because it shuldn't be R because it wouldn't be good for the people that aren't 18 and up. I think it will be good even without the sex scenesso explicit and the pregnancy isn't that bad. I'm begging that you keep it pg-13

MELISSA ROSENBURG! IF YOU ARE WRITING ALL THE SCRIPTS FOR THE SEQUELS, THEN YOU BETTER MAKE THEM AS IS FROM THE BOOK! YOU LEFT OUT SO MANY THINGS AND ON TOP OF THAT, BELLA WASN'T EVEN THAT PLAIN AND CHARLIE AND EDWARD DO GET ALONG IN 'TWILIGHT', BUT YOU MADE IT SEEM LIKE HE DIDN'T APPROVE OF EDWARD AT ALL. AND YOU TOTALLY MURDERED THE PROM SCENE. BELLA LOOKED HIDEOUS, I WAS EXPECTING GLAMOUR BUT YOU MADE THE MOVIE SEEM DULL WHILE THE BOOK ITSELF WAS MORE THAN JUST DULL.

WITH THAT BEING SAID, I HOPE THAT NEW MOON IS 95% AS THE BOOK, OR SUMMIT IS GOING TO NEED TO FIND A NEW WRITER BECAUSE YOU SUCK!!!

I am 27 and me and all my friends love the twilight saga we want it to be as sexual as the book, its not fair, please let it be rated R!

After reading the comments on here I have to say that I agree with those who the movie rated R. I'm not shy to say that the honeymoon was what I had been waiting 2000 pages to get to! Although I absolutely adore these books, I was utterly dissapointed that Meyer skipped the passion completely.. Bella losing her virtue to Edward was her one and only "demand." Finally, reading page after page of Bella freaking out about the scenerio of Edward and her making love, it is skipped completely! Anyways, I usually don't agree with Hollywood basing a movie on a novel and changing the movie completely, but I want Hollywood to do what it does and really represent the longing and passion this couple shares. I want to see the feathers flying and the wooden boards breaking! If she didn't this movie rated R, then she should have thought of that before she wrote the book. I believe that fans over the age of 18 will seriously be bummed of this movie is tied down to a dawson's creek re-run. Ya so the teenies won't be able to see this movie with their parents. Honestly, the term "sex" or "making love" or "sleep with me" shouldn't even have been mentioned in the series if it were truly meant for the eyes and minds of 13 years olds. Well, that's my take on it...


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