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'Twilight' screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg talks Kristen Stewart, Bill Condon and 'Breaking Dawn'

June 14, 2010 |  3:20 pm

MelissaRosenberg002 Last week, official word came from Summit Entertainment that "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" will come to the big screen as two films. Now what? 

Major cast deals are signed, Bill Condon has set his directorial wheels in motion, and the world has "Eclipse" to snack on while massive preparation gets underway for "Dawn" Parts 1 and 2. 

We got to chat with the woman at the eye of the vampire storm, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, midway through her adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's final book.

While she'll break from the job at hand to receive honors from Prevention magazine Tuesday in Los Angeles for her charitable work with the Writer's Guild Foundation, the scribe admits she's all "Twi," all the time.

Does she think Condon is up to the task? Will we see the sex, violence and graphic childbirth the book promises? Is Kristen Stewart ready for the epic journey in store for Bella Swan?

 Get these answers and more in our Q&A after the jump...

Ministry of Gossip: 'Breaking Dawn' is no small undertaking. How's adaptation going?

Melissa Rosenberg: It's going really well -- it's a very big challenge. It's just thick with mythology and characters and choosing which stories to bring forward. It's a beast, but I think it's going well.

MoG: Stephenie Meyer has been consulting on the films from the start. Given this is the final chapter, what are her major priorities for the fans?

MR: She has always only demanded one thing, and that is that we adapt the book. All of her really big boundaries have to do with just adapting the book. That said, she isn't terribly precious about things. She's supportive of my bringing invention to it. 

MoG: Speaking of which, [spoiler alert!] fans are crazy over Bella losing her virginity, the graphic birth of her and Edward's child, and her vampire transformation. Any idea how you'll handle such serious imagery?

MR: On the fan site, on Facebook, all the comments are "It has to be R rated! You have to show the childbirth! Gore and guts and sex!" For me it's actually more interesting to not see it. You know, you can do childbirth without seeing childbirth ... it doesn't mean it's any less evocative of an experience.  

MoG: Kristen Stewart arguably has the most work to do in the final films. Is she up to the challenge?

MR: Kristen Stewart is really, I think, tremendous. And one of the reasons why we got Bill Condon. And Chris Weitz, for that matter; they all want to work with her.

MoG: A lot of the fans credit you with giving Bella more backbone in the films than she has in the books. Was that something you did actively? 

MR: That's something I did very consciously. What's interesting is that it's all there -- the strength was there, it was just kind of tearing away some things. You know, she's human. She doesn't have the physical strength of Edward and all of them. So how do you make the character strong when she's physically vulnerable? There really is a goal to give her stamina and other strengths. She really is a role model.

MoG: Your prior credits ["Dexter," "Ally McBeal"] definitely incorporate strong females. Is that a place you'll return to after "Twilight" is done? 

MR: Absolutely. What I really want to do is create great roles for women. And I'm not talking Nicholas Sparks romance. I think women's roles have gotten ghettoized in these sort of places. ... I'm thinking women in action, comic books, or like the Tony Soprano of women. We need some complex roles.

MoG: Back to "Twilight"; this franchise has dozens of characters. Anyone in particular you love writing for?

MR: I love Charlie, Billy Burke's character [Bella's father]. Writing for him is so spectacular, he's so funny and wry and every scene he's in he just takes. There's a scene in "Eclipse" where Bella tells him she's a virgin, and it's the funniest, most awkward scene I've ever seen on film.

Rosenberg says pre-production will begin July 1, with both films slated to film back to back at the start of October.

What do you think of her plans for "Breaking Dawn"? Tell us in comments.

-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Melissa Rosenberg

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