'Twilight' producer: 'Breaking Dawn' could begin shooting this fall
It's been one of the biggest questions surrounding Summit Entertainment's uber-successful "Twilight" franchise (apart, of course, from whether stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson really are a couple off-screen) -- just how the producers are going to manage to pull off a big-screen adaptation of "Breaking Dawn." The fourth book in Stephenie Meyer's juggernaut of a young adult fiction series about the epic love affair between high school student Bella Swan and her good-guy vampire beau Edward Cullen has plenty of heft, clocking in at upward of 750 pages, but it also has the distinction of being the most controversial entry in the saga.
When it was released in August 2008, fan reaction was intense and divided with some "Twi-hards" expressing confusion and dismay over a plot that involved *SPOILER ALERT* a recently graduated 19-year-old Bella giving birth to a half-human/half-vamp daughter named Renesmee, who grows much faster than the average mortal child and who possesses a unique way of communicating with those around her, clearly inherited from Dad's side of the family.
Wyck Godfrey, the producer of all the films in the "Twilight" saga, admits that the creative team still doesn't know how they'll handle the character in the "Breaking Dawn" movie, but said that the plan is absolutely for the production to go forward -- as either one or two installments -- with an eye toward beginning to shoot in Vancouver this fall. All three stars are signed for "Breaking Dawn," he said, meaning that Stewart and Pattinson will be dealing with the joys and woes of interspecies parenting and newly minted heartthrob Taylor Lautner will return as often-shirtless shape-shifter Jacob Black.
At the moment, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, who's penned all the "Twilight" movies, is working on the "Breaking Dawn" script(s). "It's a work in process," Godfrey said in an interview Friday. "The issue [of whether there will be one or two movies] is not going to be resolved until we get the full treatment and see whether it's organic. If it's not organic, I don't think it will be done, and if it is, it will be. It really has to do with how much level of detail from the books there is, with all of these new vampires that appear in 'Breaking Dawn,' the whole section about Jacob... It's a very long single movie if it does become a single movie."
Although there's been a great deal of online chatter about whether Chris Weitz, director of the second and most recent movie, "New Moon," would return to helm "Breaking Dawn," Godfrey downplayed that possibility, saying, "I think everyone would be happy and excited if he came back, but I don't think it's going to happen."
He and the other principals are formulating a list of potential directors, "but right now," Godfrey said, "we're just focused on the treatment and getting that right. At that point, we're going to see who's available and who's appropriate. It's such a complicated book because you have the emotions and the intensity of the love story -- so you need somebody who's just a wonderful director of actors -- and yet it's really complicated from an action and visual effects standpoint. They've got to have both tools in their kit."
A visual effects background might be particularly helpful when it comes to dealing with the character of Renesmee.
"I keep having visions of '[The Curious Case of] Benjamin Button' in my head," Godfrey said, referring to David Fincher's Oscar-nominated 2008 fantasy about a man who becomes physically younger as he ages. "It's certainly going to be visual effects in some capacity along with an actor. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being a full CG creation, but it also may be a human shot on a soundstage that then is used to shrink down. I don't know. We need a director. When we get a director, that director will need to come with a point of view of how they want to tackle it."
The third movie in the series, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," is due in theaters June 30.
-- Gina McIntyre
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Photo of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon": Kimberley French