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'Twilight' Countdown: Catherine Hardwicke talks about the meadow and making Robert Pattinson 'dazzle'

16 more days left…

CatherineWhen I asked you guys which scene you were most excited to see, hundreds of your wrote in “The meadow!” -- and told me how lame it was that I didn’t even list it as a choice in the poll.

You were right. It was lame.

So when I spoke with "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke on Monday, I got her to talk about what she went through to get that pivotal scene right, (in two words: a lot!), how she got Edward (Robert Pattinson) to dazzle in the sun of that meadow, and what moments in the book she had to chop from the movie. (This is the first of a two-part interview. Check back for the second half later this week.)

How did you find the perfect meadow?

That was my misery, I gotta tell you. You are just stabbing the knife into the weak point. That was really hard because on one logistic level, we didn’t have a “Harry Potter”/“Lord of the Rings” budget. On a normal movie you would have built a beautiful meadow on a soundstage, that way you could control the sunlight so that Edward can step into and out of it. But with under $37 million, that was impossible. So, oh my, picture me in the middle of January wearing snow shoes hiking up trails for miles trying to find the perfect meadow in the middle of Oregon, freezing. (It was my first time in snow shoes -- that part was pretty fun.) We finally, after hiking all over and getting stuck in chains and seeing zillions of potential spots, we found a beautiful place.

It wasn’t exactly a meadow. It was by a river. But it was just stunning. We moved the filming of the meadow scene to the end of the schedule so we would have the best possible weather, closest to spring time. And then about two weeks before shooting, we discovered that it was still covered in over 12 feet of snow -- my perfect meadow. You couldn’t even get there, there were fallen trees, logging trucks would have had to clear the place. So at the last minute, even in the middle of filming, we had to find a new location for the meadow. I was so stressed out as you can imagine. Running around shooting all week, freezing and trying to find another place.

Finally, we found an absolutely stunning location ...

It had these upturned boulders and aged, old growth trees. Just stunning -- but it doesn’t really look like a meadow. So, I’m like, “Oh no!” But the clock was ticking. I had to shoot on a certain day. And it has to be accessible. So we shot a lot of the scene there. And it looks gorgeous, I mean it looks like a fairy tale location, covered with moss and green and very Olympic rainforest.

But when we wrapped the movie, I said there was one thing I still had to shoot. I was just begging and begging, “I’ve got to shoot a meadow. Something that looks like a meadow. Or people are going to stone me in the streets.” So we ended up shooting a piece of the scene in a magical place in the middle -- bizarrely enough -- in the Griffith Park golf course. There are these old growth Redwood trees and we brought in all this amazing grass and rocks and moss and made it into our meadow. So we finally got the meadow, but man, it was not easy.

Can you talk about how you got Edward to dazzle in that meadow?

That again was super challenging. We had probably 10 special effects companies trying out experimental ideas on some footage we had to see how we can make him dazzle and sparkle and shimmer. Most of it wasn’t good. We ended up going with ILM (Industrial Light and Magic, George Lucas’ company) and they, of course, are masters at creating amazing effects. We did a full body scan of Rob, which we turned into a 3-D model of him -- (laughs) there is a 3D model of Rob somewhere! -- and did all this very high-tech mapping of every surface of his face and body.

Besides reviewing zillions of versions of it, I wound up flying to ILM with the visual effects supervisor three different times and spending whole days working with the three-dimensional models and the geometry and the physics going, “How can we get this to be beautiful?”

You know, the description in the book is a tiny bit contradictory. On one level, he is supposed to look like cut diamonds, on another, he’s as smooth as marble. So you’re like OK, when you think of encrusted cut diamonds that’s faceted -- and when we first did that it almost looked like acne, like a skin condition. And you want it to be smooth.

So it’s been very intricate science to get something we felt looked beautiful. And kind of scary, too, you know.

Are there scenes or moments from the book didn’t make it into the movie?

Well it’s almost 500 pages -- you do have to do the sweetened condensed milk version of that. We really tried to have all the most crucial potent exciting stuff be in the movie. That goes without saying.

But there are some things, for example, a scene that I kind of liked in the biology room where they do the blood typing. That’s not in the movie. We already have two scenes in biology: the first time they’re in there and then the second time when they connect. For a film, when you condense, you don’t want to keep going back to the same setting over and over. So that’s not in there.

The meadow scene is 23 pages in the book and, actually, Bella reveals in the car, way before that, driving back from Port Angeles, that she knows Edward’s a vampire. So, we took all those 23 pages in the meadow and the reveal in the car and made a more dramatic scene out of it. So instead of two characters sitting in a car talking, it’s a more visually dynamic setting -- the meadow -- where she reveals her knowledge.

-- Denise Martin

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

Photo credit: Summit Entertainment

 
Comments () | Archives (44)

I love the blood typing part of the book and am a little dissapointed that it isnt going to be in the movie but non the less the movie is going to be amazing.

YAY FOR 17 MORE DAYSSS

i love catherine hardwicke! she's my favorite:D
summit- you picked a great director for twilight!

Ah, a 3-D model of Rob...the hallelujah chorus sounds :)
o-k, i GUESS its alright that they dont have the blood typing scene in the movie (ALTHOUGH IT WAS 1 OF MY FOVORITES!!! =p )
but i mean...when she tells him everything she knows in the car, thats just how its SUPPOSED 2 be!
i dont know how theyre going 2 make it work the other way...
how can she reveal it 2 Edward in the meadow when she isnt supposed 2 even know about the eadow until WAYYYY later?!
it just seems 2 screw up the story line 2 me :(
but that does NOT mean in any way, shape, or form that im not freakishly excited 4 this movie & hypervenilating at the thought of Robert SPARKLING =0
*drools*

aww I was kinda looking forward to the blood typing scene.. But two biology scenes is awesome, can't wait to see it!

I really hope the "sparkling" doesn't look tacky.. :-/
but with ILM, I'm excited!!

awww!! i love hearing about the meadow and rob sparkling! it sounds like it will be so beautiful, and i'm glad that catherine put so much effort into finding the perfect place! i am a bit disappointed that the blood typing isn't in the movie, and that bella reveals her knowledge in a different part, but, oh well. i gotta learn to expect this stuff, i guess. it sounds great so far! i can't wait!!!!

AHH! why isnt the blood typing scene in it? ugh. :(

The meadow scene that I've imagined is much sunnier and much more covered with flowers and stuff compared to what I've seen from the clips from the meadow.. but I think it's going to great!!!

Well thats cool and HAPPY THEY DIDN'T CUT ANYTHING ELSE OUT !!!

i'm very excited about this! i love book to film adaptations! the way they've combined the meadow and the car ride back from port angeles sounds awesome! it will definitely draw in audiences that have never read the book!

I cant wait..im trying to picture rob sparkaly and i cant...As a matter of fact, i dont think I've ever picture Edward sparkaly...It's too foreign or unreal....Its like trying to picture a new color or a 4th demension, you cant picture it cause you've never seen it!!!

But that'll change on Nov. 21 when i see it in theatres.!!!woot woot 16 days baabaaY!!

Aww.. no blood typing class.. she is right but aww that was a scene that I liked quite A LOT! :) I know that the movie will never be compared to the book but well nevermind :) I can't wait!! 16 dayys!!

ahhhhhhhhhh...3D Rob...I want one!!! LOL...cool article. I can't wait for the second part and i can't wait for the movie. I too am disappointed that the blood typing scene is cut but the meadow scene is more important.

I think it's kind of weird how they keep saying how the book is too long so they have to condense it but then add new scenes that were never in the book to make it longer. Ha :D

I'm so freakin excited to see a dazzling Edward. Like dying to see him. I think just seeing Robert Pattinson will make up for the monotonous voice of Kristen Stewart :D

I think that it is better that she says it in the meadow since that is when they truly "declare" themselves. The meadow is already a dramatic scene, because that is when Edward shows Bella what he can really do, so this will just make it even more exciting.

Im not that disappointed that blood-typing will not be in there.. it was an interesting chapter but I agree that it isnt' crucial to have in the book.

But from reading this article, i have so much faith in what hardwicke did with movie! she's bringing the book's pages into VISUALLY captivating experiences. and thats all im asking. and knowing how fabulous ks and rob are as actors, i know we'll be getting the same exact emotions from when we read the books to when see the movie. all the chills, tears, screams, lovey-dovey moments and all that jazz.

I CAN'T WAIT!!

nobody better bitch about this movie, she put so much work into it. they all have.

I couldn't have hoped for a better director than Catherine Harwicke to direct this movie. I have full faith that she and her people have put everything they have into this film and it's going to be great! Can't wait to read the second part of the interview!

november 21st november 21st november 21st novmber 21st........hurry i need this movie!! got my soundtrack by the way. loved it =)

Okay, I can't say I'm not going to miss the blood typing scene because I really did want to see the look Edward gave Mike when he took Bella to the nurses station but I quess I can live through it. Seeing that Rob is the most beautiful man on the planet....or atleast 1 or the to 4. Haha! I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HIM ON BIG SCREEN!!!! 16 DAYS LEFT! YAY1

I was really worried about the whole dazzling effect, but now that I know ILM is in charge I have NO WORRIES!!! ♥

Oh, I feel really bad for Catherine Hardwicke that she had to go through all that just to find the perfect meadow. "I’ve got to shoot a meadow. Something that looks like a meadow. Or people are going to stone me in the streets." LMAO, ya they probably would. xD But it looks like Catherine's taking good care of the movie. ♥

Thanks for this article!! ;D

It's offical,
I adore LA Times!

Awesome interview i will find that 3-D Rob....

Catherine Hardwicke is great! I trust all the choices she made on what to leave in and what to cut out

Awwwwww.... No blood type scene... :/
And I totally agree, the story line is a little screwed up, but.....
I'm still uberly freaking exctited!!!!!!!!
Counting down the days!!!!!!!!!!11
15 more days!!!!!!!!!!!!
AH!!!!!!!

I hope they mention something in new moon movie about bella not liking blood because I mean that is like 1 huge thing that makes who she is.

Like everyone else, I'm bummed that we won't be able to see the blood type scenes. That was the first time that Edward picked Bella up. Both of their feelings were coming out of them so quickly during that time. I think during that time, Bella hears Edward laugh for the first time and is entranced with him. We know that the movie can't be a page afor page transcription of the book but that moment is such a bonding moment for Edward and Bella. Is there anyway that the scene could be added for the DVD?

 
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