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

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

We've got all the "Eclipse" headlines you could want. Don't miss the Ministry on Facebook and Twitter.

 
Comments () | Archives (121)

The Twilight books are about a love story between Edward and Bella. I don’t know who let this woman do the scriptwriting for the films but they screwed up! Rosenburg has twisted the story to a Bella and Jacob love story. She has make Edward look bad and has downgraded his role. She has Bella all over Jacob and giving him the most attention of the two by letting Bella give him looks of love, always happy with Jacob, always has her hands all around him and just in general does everything that Bella is suppose to do to Edward. Bella never is close to Edward, she doesn’t put her arms around him like she does on Jacob in fact she usually is pushing him, she never is happy around Edward and she acts like she wants nothing to do with Edward. The book is just the opposite of this. Bella loves Edward so much, she can’t live without him, she wants to have sex with him, she stays hot for him all the time, she is all over him in the book, and I can go on and on. In the book Bella doesn’t kiss Jacob in front of Edward, Jacob doesn’t say he’s hotter than Edward during the tent scene, Edward never gets mad and angry with Jacob in the book in fact he’s nothing but nice, Bella does not get on the motorcycle with Jacob in front of Edward at school, and other untrue scenes over and over. Rosenberg is for team Jacob and has rooted Edward out of the scenes that were due him. There are millions upon millions of fans and they love the story that is in the books and it was written that Bella is madly in love with Edward and is willing to give her life to be with him forever. She cries and screams and loses part of her life for five months after Edward leaves and she cries a night and day over Jacob when she says by to him! How is that for a comparison of the love between them? She knows she can’t live without Edward. She kisses Jacob because she doesn’t want him to take his life and you take the hottest kissing scene and give it to Jacob. So thanks Rosenberg for pushing Bella and Jacob together and ruining the story. Edward leaves Bella because he loves her so much and doesn’t want to put Bella in danger and you come in and start rooting Edward out. This was a highlight of the story that the one you love loves you so much is willing to leave you and endure being alone forever in order to keep you safe, NOW THAT IS LOVE! There is so much that you, Rosenburg, have turned around that I couldn’t write it all. We at least have our books to read and no one can change that. I have read all four books nine times each, watched the DVD on Twilight 110 times and watched DVD on New Moon 74 times, and watched both movies on the big screen two times each so I know what is in the books and what is in the movies and believe me Rosenburg, you really screwed up a wonderful romantic story about our Edward and Bella! You have upset millions and millions of true fans by not telling the true story! However you can’t take the real story out of our hearts. We love you Rob and Kristen! Even with all the chopping and changing and twisting around and everything else, Rob still wins because you can’t change that. His and Bella’s love endured all and will love each other forever and forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe you can tell the real story in the last two films! May God continue to bless Rob and Kristen! They sure have blessed me plus millions and million of other team Edward’s fans! LOVE YOU ROB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love Breaking Dawn and cant wait to see it,but i think they should be a little more truer to this one considering its the last some scene should be in and not talking out. Everyone says theyve been true to the books,but it think theyve taking most the good parts away,and since they last will be out next year they should do more with this one....

I am writing to you in hopes that you will read this through for it comes from the heart. I think the movie needs to be just like the book and no changes. The fans that read the books expect this and it’s upsetting when it is changed or scenes are left out. I have read all four books nine times each, watched the DVD on Twilight 110 times and watched the DVD on New Moon 74 times, and watched both movies on the big screen two times each so I know what is in the books and what is in the movies.
The movie that stayed with the book and acknowledged Edward and Bella for the character that they are was Twilight which was directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Chris Weitz did pretty well at staying with the book in New Moon however; I noticed Edward, Bella, and Jacob’s character slowly changing. Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse all should have been three hour movies because too much was cut out. From the scenes of Eclipse, I see many changes in scenes and character changes in Edward, Bella, and Jacob that doesn’t go along with the book.
I want to say a little about the soundtracks. I have bought all three CD soundtracks and there is a ’Bella’s Theme’, and a ‘Jacob’s Theme’ but where is ‘Edward’s Theme’? I guess his theme will be in this next movie or I surely hope so. I think it would be a great ides for Rob to make his own theme song; he really is awesome on the piano and the fans would eat this up! I also think Rob and Kristen should make and cut a couple songs for the last CD soundtrack because they are both very good and I think you would make more millions of dollars because more fans would buy it! Wouldn’t this be wonderful!
Back to “The Twilight Saga Series”; all four books is a story about Edward and Bella’s love for each other and a love that is so strong that it will endure forever. There is nothing that can compare to the love they have for each other, nothing that can keep them from loving each other, and what they will do to keep this love. Bella’s love is so strong she is willing to die by giving birth to their daughter and loves Edward so much that she wants to be turned into a vampire where she can love him forever. Their love is so awesome! Edward’s love is so strong that he leaves her to keep her safe and he loves her so much he’s even willing to die. The birthing of their child is a long drawn out scene and is a big ordeal to them both and it should be in the movie. The fans already know the ‘gory’ scenes and all about the birth because they have read the book.
In the last book, a lot of things happen and because it is the last book the movie needs to go along with the book and no changes. The Wedding scene should be just as it happens in the book (hot kiss scene-bottom half p.50 to first half of p.51) Highlights: introduced as Edwards wife- middle p.54 /addressed as Mrs. Cullen-bottom half p.53/hot kissing-bottom half p.70) After the wedding, Edward and Bella have sex three times on their honeymoon while she is human and these should be in the movie. These three scenes should be more than a kiss and hug. They are married and have waited a long time for this. (First sex scene- Edward and Bella loosing their virginity-p.80-98/good human sex scene p.106-110/good hot sex scene p.115-117) Next she gets pregnant and goes through hell to have their child. After she turns into a vampire, Edward and Bella feels like they have a 2nd honeymoon because everything is all new to both and they have sex three times, really hot making out sex, all night sex, and these scenes should be in the movie and it should have some length and detail and emotion put into them. ( hot vampire kiss- p.394-397/hot vampire kiss*p.426-427/ Two hot vampire sex scenes back to back-p.479-p.485/last vampire sex scene-bottom half p. 573 to top half p.574) It doesn’t have to be ‘R’ rated to do this; it can be done with a PG 13 rating because it’s done in other films. Watch the movie, ‘Remember Me’, ‘Vegas’, P.S. I Love You’, and ‘Australia’ for a start.
At the end of the book there are flashbacks with Bella letting Edward in her head. I think you should go back and get lots of flashbacks of Edward and Bella scenes since this is the ending of a classic saga movie series. (Read last three pages of book) Please leave us with a long, real romantic, like they mean it, really serious, KISS scene with their bodies molded and intertwined into one (like it describes in the book on the bottom half of page 482). Give us a scene at the end that will be remembered and embedded in our minds for always. This is the end of our beloved Edward and Bella and saying good-bye for the last time will be very sad and very very hard, so gives us something we can put in our hearts and hold onto forever. Please let the last be the best and memorable because this is the final curtain, like a death, for many millions and millions of fans and believe me when I say there will be many many mega millions of tears falling and millions and millions of broken hearts. OUR LOVE IS FOREVER!!!!WE REALLY LOVE) THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@indranee Thank you. I hope so, too. And I believe she does.

I am now of the opinion that creative license extends far beyond screenwriters, and interpretation is as individual as each of us. Someone not knowing would think some of us had read alternate versions of the same books. After several readings of Eclipse, I stand by my own interpretation that Bella is completely in love with Jacob in the way that any teenage girl would be when experiencing a normal, human first love, and that she doesn't realize it until the end wholly because of her near supernatural, magical love of Edward. This is how I see it, just as clearly as someone else may see it another way. I absolutely do not begrudge anyone their own interpretations of their individual reading experiences. We read what we want to read. We see what we want to see. That is human nature. Once a book is purchased, it is ours to be what it will be to us. Personally, I will cherish all four books for as long as I live and read.

I watched Twilight last night, for at least the tenth time, and it struck me how so many scenes did not happen in the book, and so many scenes in the book did not happen in the film, but nonetheless, the movie contained every essential scene, however adapted, and many of the catch phrases. It captured the essence of the book and the characters and it was intimate and dark and wonderful and magical. In a way, and this is my interpretation, it's like a love letter to the fans of the book because only having read the book could you truly appreciate the film. Only having read the book and known the book and loved the book could anyone have captured it so beautifully. The film is a testament to the fact that Catherine Hardwicke and Melissa Rosenberg did their homework. Their creative license added spark and flow and continuity to the film and took nothing away. Catherine's casting of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, not to mention the entire cast, is nothing short of perfectly knowing her characters and who could best represent them on screen.

There are few books, if any, that can be translated literally from page to film. The movie adaptation of a book that can capture the essence of the book and the truth of the characters is a success. I am so over the motorcycle scene not appearing to be quite right and am disappointed in the pettiness of having brought it up. I am certain the scene will be completely perfect within the context of the film. And I am also certain that Melissa and David Slade have done a beautiful job with Eclipse and that she and Bill Condon will do a beautiful job with Breaking Dawn I & II. Stephenie Meyer is right there with them. If Stephenie is happy, there is no room for complaint for she, above all, would know whether or not her work is being interpreted correctly. I am grateful, so so grateful, that these wonderful books that I love have been, and are being, adapted to film--now and not decades from now--by such caring, capable and talented individuals. All the more to love.

I loved the books and so far I loved the movies. I think the reason why they change some things in the movies from the books is to make it more interesting. Don't get me wrong I loved the movie and the books. I can't wait till eclipse comes out and o can't wait for breaking dawn. I can't wait to see how they make the last book into the movien :-)

Unfortunately they changed the sense of story. These are not just "a few changed things".
Edward is weak (hello! he is vampire afterall!), Jacob "good boy" without flaws (absolutely another character)but Bella ... oh. They lost mild, naive, lovely Bella. Yeah, Bella -from-movie could be rude and cruel. Why Rosenberg thinks that means "strong character"?

I agree with many of the previous posters. Melissa has never been able to capture the true essence of these books in any way. And by the look of the clips from Eclipse, she has completely changed the character of Bella. Summit doesn't care about our feelings because they know that millions of fans will go see the movies even if they aren't quality movies. The fans are just in love with the books that they will take any manifestation of it that they can get. I'm a huge fan of the books but I plan to skip Eclipse. It was my favorite book and I don't want a bad movie to taint the future re-reading of the book for me. :( I really hope Stephenie writes all of the books from Edwards' POV so that she can sell the movie rights and we can get proper do-overs of the movies.

MR is ruining the E/B love story by adding too much Jacob.
Really, we know that MR is team Failcob,
but Twilight isn't about J/B!
It's about Edward's undying love for Bella.
I think MR read a totally different book than mine.
Can't MR see that Jacob is an ass.

WE WANT A LOT MORE E/B and LESS FAILCOB!

i personally do think they should have all the violence and sex and all that gory 'stuff'. I don't know one person that has said they don't want the sex part, and i have talked to a lot of people about it. Making the movie R rated will decrease the amout of people when it comes out, but there will still be tons to go and see it. And once the kids that weren't allowed to see it when it came out, grow up, they will see it.

We have got to see the sex scene.The child delivery scene also has to be included with details.We've watched these two people keep these desires reigned in for this long, I mean omg their kisses have seemed like orgasmic experiences. I wont settle for less than seeing him ( Edward) activily bite that pillow,and destroy that headboard!!!!!!!We deserve this as fans and so do the characters.

Please no R rating. The book is geared toward a teenage audience. The movies have been as well. Just leave the "R" scenes to our imagination and keep the screen PG.

I want to cry. I had such hopes that the Eclipse film would FOLLOW the bible that is the book, and stick with the story. While tossing Rileys story in was interesting, I would have preferred to spend that time seeing how the tribe became one with the wolves. I feel physically ill, I was hoping to leave the theater filled with love for this adaptation but am convinced I will have to wait to remake myself. (and become a director and have cash to pay for it.;-) Anyone who wants to make this correctly should definitely consult someone who has read the book and can see the story playing out in their head (Like me and Connie Richardson on here). Mrs. Meyers may have given Mrs. Rosenberg a wide berth but the fans do not. Do it right please. I want to go see BD and feel their passion. If Mrs. Meyers wrote the book, 'R', then it should be 'R'. Like PG-13 isn't 'R' already.. Seriously, I think I'm going to have to read the book again just to get the movie out of my head.

So, the first 3 books were AWSOME! and Melissa literally killed the escence of them. No wonder people who hasn´t read the books hate the movies and dont understand why we ´Twihards´ cant stop talking about it. Maybe with Breaking Down will be the opposite and since the book pretty much sucked, she will make something good out of it!

Jacobs_True_mate,

Let me answer your questions.

1) when you say: "Edward is completley and utterlly unrealistic and you (Melissa R.) have made him realistic." ANSWER: NO!, she hasnt make him realistic, she made him a 17 year old human! WHICH HE IS NOT!

2) when you say: "What guy who loves his girlfriend so much would approach the forced kiss calmly?"
ANSWER: First, he is not just any random "guy" HE IS A 108 YEAR OLD VAMPIRE! and because of that he knows how to control his feelings and he is mature enough and know bella enough to understand how he should react to something like that.

You call yourself a Twilight fan? please!!

I agree with most of the postings here, and that the movies, especially Eclipse, don't follow the books. Bella can be a stong woman, as she does have a lot more fortitude in Eclipse, but she doesn't have to be so cruel, which she is toward Edward in Eclipse.
I don't know who's fault it is, but they really need to listen to the fans, who most have all read the books, and go to the movies and buy them, and make the movie follow the BD book, with all of the scenes in it. I don't think they realize, that a majority of the females that have read the books and watch the movies are not teens. Look around when you go to the movie, and almost no males, even tho they seemed to try for them in Eclipse.
In the first movie, even tho some of the scene's were changed, they followed the story line, but had less in New Moon, and even less in Eclipse. They even left off most of the romance, which is why females loved the books so much. Yes, she loves Jacob, but not the way she loves Edward, and can't be away from him or has panic attacks. This is a fairy tale romance, of an undying love where you don't fear loosing your true love who is also your protector, and they love each other more than life itself.
If MR can't write it, maybe Rob and Kris can have some say so since they will be getting royalty's from the last 2 movies.

Forgive me for my blunt opinion but Rosenberg has TRASHED Meyer's story completely. I mean, seriously. The break-up between Edward & Bella (in NM) was so atrociously written. I mean, at first, I thought it was just purely bad acting, but no, it is what they are given. I've been writing scripts since I was a teenager and I could provoke more emotion than she ever did in all of the Twilight movies so far COMBINED. Not even the best actor in the world could give those lines emotion. My goodness.
I mean, in Eclipse, she had soooo much forced comedy interlaced with bad dialogue, which to be honest, was basically filler. The only good thing about that movie was that they showed Jasper & Rosalie's stories--especially Jasper--because she had been giving him next-to-no lines. And the ACTION. The action was great, but how many minutes of that did we get? Like, what? 10 minutes? And I was looking forward to Jacob in the movie because I'm a big Jake fan but-- Jacob outshined everyone in a horrendous, annoying way. Not even in a cute puppy dog way. UGH. And I'm a Team Jacob chick...
Just please Melissa Rosenberg, take the MAIN story line in the book and hold onto it. Stop going everywhere and making things so main story line when they AREN'T. BAH.
:(

I just saw Eclipse for the 2nd time, and was really shocked by the end of the fight scene. They had Edward about to be killed by Riley and Victoria, have his head ripped off, then Bella cut her arm. It made her the savior of Edward and the hero. Where did that come from?

Eh, I don't completely agree with the comments about the Saga being just about Edward and Bella's love. Jacob was a HUGE part of the books, and Bella did love Jake. But they are right about Rosenberg making it too much of a conflict for Bella to choose between Jake and Edward. She never doubted being with Edward, even though she loved Jake.

All in all, she's just a terrible writer. The movies turned out to be a really bad soap opera. It doesn't flow well at all, and I feel bored during the movies. They're just stale.

I agree with wanting more love between Bella and Edward. They have managed to keep the pre-teens enthused throughtout all three filmes so far, but I think they forget about the ENTIRE audience of us who are over the age of thirteen or even seventeen. If I had a "love" like the one Bella and Edward are supposed to have then I would hope that they can't keep their hands off each other. I understand we aren't goin for a porno here, but in the movies when they kiss it looks as if it's horribly painful to even embrace each other. I know Edward has to be gentle with Bella but take off the white gloves already. I want to actually see "I love you, I can't live without you, hold me, kiss me, touch me." type of things. I am going to be very upset in the fourth movie if we don't get to see any of that. They are supposed to love each ohter with such feelings it would be impossible to ever experience in normal circumstances. All i'm sayin is we've kept the kitty gloves on now for three movies, let's take them off for the fourth on and give us our LOVE story! Please.

Ok...... I have read all the books and I have seen all three of the movies that have been released. I can not say that other then watching Robert on screen I truely loved the movies. Kristen is good too. But I think that the movies could have been written alot better. I am an aspriring screen writer myself and I have taken the books and wrote them for screen. I am telling you there is a lot that she could have done to show the love between Bella and Edward that she did not do. I feel that the love story is more geared to Bella and Jacob which was not Meyers intention and is not why the fans go to see the movies. New Moon while i was glad to see that there was more of the dialouge from the book in the movie was not as captivating as it was meant to be. And I also agree with the other people in here saying that New Moon was about the choice between Edward and Jake and should have been left there. Eclipse was supposed to be about the choice that she made and making the arrangments for that future. I do not think that that was captured at all. I think that Melissa made it look like she was choosing all over again. The pain and confussion that Bella felt after kissing Jake before the fight was not there. And Edwards reaction was not what the book called for. As far as Breaking Dawn goes I think that the sex scenes between Edward and Bella should be done very tastefuly just because I think that the most romantic love scenes in movies were the ones you only saw the beggining of and the end of. As for the birth scene I think that has to be shown as much as possible. You can not just show her like crumble in pain and thats the end of the scene. Next thing you know Bella is a vampire. What about those that have not read the books??? They might want to know how she is turned. I think that is one of the more important things to be shown. How Edward turns her. And how he is feeling when he knows that there is no other way for her to survive. But this is all just my opinion. I think that she could have done a much better job with the scripts then she did. Melissa I hope that you readthese and know what people think so that you know how people feel and what they want from the last movie.

I dont like the way new moon,eclipse ture out. The books are
a love story. But melissa try to get bella and jacob together
I didn't like jacob in the book. bella would never do that too
edward the way the two moives did. I wish they would have
got diffent sceem writers for each one.Better i wish
Stephanie would have done it.

 
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