24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Twilight

'Snow White's' Kristen Stewart still wants new 'East of Eden' pic

June 1, 2012 |  2:26 pm

Kstew
With “East of Eden” often mentioned by Kristen Stewart among her favorite reads, the actress' fans have long clamored for the "Twilight" heroine to star in a reboot of the John Steinbeck classic.

That reboot, announced more than three years ago with Tom Hooper and Imagine Entertainment, has been perpetually stuck in development. But Stewart still feels strongly that the Cain-and-Abel story -- of course originally brought to celluloid by Elia Kazan and James Dean in 1955 -- could use another go-round on the big screen.

"Obviously ‘East of Eden’ is a really great movie," Stewart told 24 Frames when asked what book she'd most like to see adapted to film. "But it’s the last chapter of the ... book."

The Kazan film focuses only on the latter sections of the novel, particularly the dysfunction and adventures of a pair of brothers in California’s Salinas Valley around the time of World War I. Stewart said that a new film could take the scope of Steinbeck's epic, which goes back a previous generation and even flashes back to the Civil War, and make a more faithful adaptation.

"That really is much more of a saga. It's so long; there is so much to take," she said. 

The actress didn't say anything about starring as the Cathy/Kate character, as many KStew fans have been pulling for. (Cathy/Kate is the lead female character, a conniving and murderous operator who gets involved with several male characters.)

Stewart did, however, say she was relieved about the development progress of a different book that has struggled to make its way through Hollywood — John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," to which Zach Galifianakis has just signed on as the bumblingly iconic Ignatius Reilly.

"Finally, they're going to get that made," she said, breathing a sigh of relief.

In addition to starring in a new spin on a Brothers Grimm tale with this weekend's "Snow White and the Huntsman," the Bella-fied one appears in another adaptation of a classic text -- "On the Road," the film version of the Jack Kerouac tome that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and opens in December.

Garrett Hedlund, one of her costars in that film, has strong feelings himself about a book that could use a big-screen treatment. In contrast to "East of Eden," however, this one is older, longer and more French.

“There’s something about ‘Swann’s Way,'" Hedlund said, alluding to the first volume in Marcel Proust’s seven-part opus “Remembrance of Things Past," "something so Gatsby-ish, so wackily period, with so much substance."

He addded, “One of the things I loved about Marcel Proust is just the writing style. There’s like three periods and 150 commas in the opening pages. It’s amazing.”

RELATED:

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Kristen Stewart: I'm not trying to distance myself from Twilight Saga

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Kristen Stewart at a screening of "Snow White and the Huntsman" in Los Angeles. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


Kristen Stewart: I'm not trying to distance myself from 'Twilight'

May 30, 2012 | 12:23 pm

Kristen Stewart stars in Snow White and the Huntsman

In the four years since Kristen Stewart began playing the role of Bella Swan in the "Twilight" franchise, the actress has only appeared in three films outside of the massively popular series.

The most popular of the nonvampire fare was the 2009 comedy "Adventureland," which at its height played in around 1,800 theaters nationwide and ended up collecting $16 million -- nowhere near the kind of money a "Twilight" film rakes in. Her subsequent turns as Joan Jett in "The Runaways" and a stripper in "Welcome to the Rileys" were even less widely seen; the latter film grossed only $158,898.

Which all makes her latest role as the princess in "Snow White and the Huntsman" that much more significant. The big-budget spin on the classic fairy tale, out Friday, will mark the first time that most American moviegoers will get to weigh in on whether or not they buy Stewart as anyone but Bella.

Still, the actress says taking on "Snow White" wasn't a calculated move to change her on-screen image.

"People are going to think that it's me trying to either distance myself from 'Twilight' or try to prove myself beyond it or whatever," the 22-year-old said Tuesday evening at a screening of the $175-million production. "But it's [just] good timing. I think it's all fallen off the truck in a really lucky way. But it's totally not my doing."

Asked if she felt "Snow White" marked a new phase in her career, Stewart said it didn't.

" 'Twilight' means so much to me, but it doesn't stand out in terms of -- " she paused, looking for the right words. "Everything I do needs to be really important. ['Snow White'] is neither better or worse than anything I've done."

Her latest film, which also stars Charlize Theron, is the second picture based on the children's tale to hit theaters this year; "Mirror Mirror," Relativity's lighter take on "Snow White," struggled at the box office after its release in March. But Stewart said she thinks her version of the film will resonate with fans because it's a "fundamental story" that makes "you care about people."

"Not to be totally over-sentimental about it, but it's got a nice message -- and a very, very simple one. It just kind of makes you feel good about being human."

Stewart will show off a different side of herself in an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” which premiered to generally positive reviews at the Cannes International Film Festival last week and will hit U.S. cinemas later this year. Meanwhile, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2” -– the final film in the series -– will open in November.

RELATED:

Kristen Stewart: I loved scaring myself in 'On The Road'

Kristen Stewart on her 'Twilight' fame: 'It's like you don't exist'

Charlize Theron reveals a running gag from the 'Snow White' set

-- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Kristen Stewart stars in "Snow White and the Huntsman." Credit: Universal Pictures


Cannes 2012: With 'Cosmopolis,' Rob Pattinson seeks acting cred

May 25, 2012 | 11:58 am

Pattico
"Twilight" stars Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson have sex multiple times in Cannes (separately, and on screen) but it's a very different kind of lovemaking. As Marylou, Dean Moriarty's wife in "On the Road," Stewart's sex is uninhibited and hedonistic. As Eric Packer, the troubled Wall Street Master of the Universe in "Cosmopolis," Pattinson's sex is mechanical and joyless, as if he's trying to exorcise some unhappiness instead of simply indulging in pleasure.

Audiences got a glimpse of that exorcism on Friday when the David Cronenberg-directed "Cosmopolis" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The contrast in the "Twilight" stars' bedroom manner proved telling.

"On the Road" is a free-form depiction of an era and has won largely plaudits at Cannes. "Cosmopolis" is a claustrophobic  look at a troubled billionaire who is watching the world implode around him from his limousine, and it landed far more mixed responses from critics and festival-goers. Some thought it a timely, idea-driven gem, while a far larger number saw in it a purposelessness reminiscent of Packer's moments in flagrante.

Based on Don DeLillo's dialogue-heavy novella, "Cosmopolis" tells of Packer, a billionaire financier in New York who undertakes the simple task of having his limo driver escort him to a barber across town, despite vague threats on Packer's life and, possibly, the larger world. For all the intrigue and respect he elicits, this isn't a man who's liked very much; that’s what you get for climbing to the top of the corporate heap, or, maybe, for becoming the world’s biggest teen idol.

The setting is typical Cronenberg, a place that looks much like our world but somehow isn't quite. As the trip unfolds, the billionaire, speaking in that Cronenbergian flat affect, entertains a host of acquaintances who pop in and out of his limo, often to talk about things like technocapitalism and its wonders (per Packer) or dangers (per others, and perhaps the film as a whole).  These guests both in the limo and outside it (Sarah Gadon, Emily Hampshire and Paul Giamatti co-star) engage in elliptical exchanges with Packer about their views of the universe, often in turns of DeLillo-ian eloquence and/or impenetrability.

Continue reading »

Cannes 2012: Redoing ‘Romeo & Juliet’ for the Twilight Generation

May 19, 2012 |  1:03 pm

Romeoand

CANNES, France -- A film version of "Romeo and Juliet" seems to pop up every generation. Are the Millennials ready for one to call their own?

The people behind a recently wrapped production of the classic love story believe they are. The simply titled “Romeo and Juliet” is a somewhat unexpected collaboration between high-end Austrian design house Swarovski (it financed and also brought some of its fashion savvy) and Julian Fellowes, the novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter (he wrote the script).

Starring British teen Douglas Booth and “True Grit” It girl Hailee Steinfeld as the star-crossed pair, the film looks to capitalize on the timelessness of the love story and the youthful appeal of its stars. It is being directed by Carlo Carlei, an Italian director who shot the traditional costume period piece in Italy earlier this year.

The film is still being edited, with footage shown to buyers here at the Cannes Film Festival. The idea is to eventually land a U.S. deal and bring it out Stateside, possibly, though not necessarily, in 2013, according to producers. It’s one of several new spins on the classic play currently being attempted by Hollywood and independent financiers.

At a swishy beachside party Saturday night aimed at shining a light on the Steinfeld project, filmmakers gathered to toast their film and woo distributors such as Sony Pictures Classics, whose executives were in the room. Sparkly Swarovski bracelets were handed out and a designer-cocktail menu with concoctions like "The Capulet" and "The Montague" was served. 

But despite the setting and the source material, the filmmakers said they were aiming for youthful, populist entertainment.

“It’s a classic story that we want every teenager in the world to come see,” Ileen Maisel, one of the film’s producers, told 24 Frames, adding that even though the dialogue retained Shakespeare’s flavor, it was uttered in “understandable iambic pentameter."

Or as one of the film’s publicists put it: “This is ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for the Twilight Generation.”

Central to that effort is Steinfeld, a teen star since her breakout turn in “True Grit" in 2010. It was hard Saturday night to forget Steinfeld’s presence in the film, with a giant painted portrait of her dressed in full Juliet regalia adorning one end of the party's lounge space.

The tortured-love vibe of “Romeo And Juliet” is felt strongly in much of today's youth entertainment. But given that baby boomers had their version of the Shakespeare classic (Franco Zeffirelli’s in 1968) and Generation X had its version (1996’s quick-cut “Romeo + Juliet,” directed by Baz Luhrmann), it was only a matter of time before someone in the 21st century tried the actual thing. The Cullen-obsessed, these filmmakers hope, want some of their dramatic romance without vampires, too.

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--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth in "Romeo and Juliet." Credit: Swarovski Entertainment


Box office: Even cute Kermit can't top Lautner, Pattinson [Video]

December 5, 2011 | 12:06 pm

The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 was the No 1 film at the box office for the third consecutive weekend
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of "The Muppets" were expected to rule the box office this weekend, but even the cute puppets couldn't prove more alluring than the latest "Twilight" flick.

For the third consecutive weekend, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" was the No. 1 film at the box office. While the film raked in an additional sum of around $17 million, it was otherwise a lackluster weekend at the multiplex. After a slew of new films hit theaters over the Thanksgiving holiday, no movies debuted nationwide this weekend. As a result, it ended up being the second-slowest movie-going weekend of the year.

Still, both the family films "Hugo" and "Arthur Christmas" held up decently, as both films have now grossed around $25 million. But how big can the 3-D movies get? Check out this week's box office video report for more details.

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-- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo:  Ashley Greene, left, Kristen Stewart and Nikki Reed star in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1." Credit: Summit Entertainment


Are fans shunning repeat viewings of 'Breaking Dawn'?

December 5, 2011 |  8:00 am

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn."

The repeat-filmgoer is a time-honored, and much-coveted, Hollywood tradition. Teenage girls around the world came out again and again to see Leo's Jack Dawson shed a romantic tear in "Titanic." (He still died.)

Director Christopher Nolan has practically mastered the repeat feat -- art-house audiences came back to see "Memento" twice just to figure out what in the name of Einsteinian theory was going on -- while "Inception" was a double-dip favorite among the fan boy set a few summers back.

If there's any movie that would seem to lend itself to repeat viewing this year, it's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1" The film's fans are the rabid sort who want to cry with each gesture of vampiric love and tense up with each werewolf confrontation. For many, buying a ticket is less an act of filmgoing than a ritual. And you don't perform a ritual just once.

PHOTOS: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn'

Yet the movie's box office performance this weekend shows that the movie may not be generating that sort of reaction. As my colleague Amy Kaufman writes in Monday's Los Angeles Times, the Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson picture tallied $16.9 million this weekend -- not a bad total for a third weekend, but down a bit according to one key metric.

Though the fourth movie in the franchise has grossed $247 million since opening two weekends ago, it’s still lower than  the November opening of the second movie, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” which took in $255 million over the same period. (The third picture “Eclipse,” came out in June, which makes comparisons difficult.)

It’s impossible to know why the numbers are slightly lower this time around, but executives at studio Summit Entertainment have a theory: This film isn’t generating the repeat buyers like “New Moon” did.

PHOTOS: What's next for 'Twilight' stars?

"I think our audience has grown a little bit older, and therefore their interests have changed," the studio's Richie Fay told Kaufman. "That audience was also a big repeat audience, so maybe this time they've only seen the movie once, when they would have seen it 4 1/2 times before."

It’s an interesting theory, though repeat viewings don’t on their face seem to be correlated with the age of the filmgoer -- certainly “Inception” wasn’t playing primarily to the grade-school set.

There is, however, a neater explanation. This movie is the first of two, as its title, not to mention its cliffhanger ending, suggests. After all, Stewart's Bella Swan (spoiler alert, though if you somehow do not know this then you probably don't care to), after appearing dead during the movie's climax, bolts her eyes wide open just before the movie ends, hinting at the vampire life she will soon lead. And when you tease people that much about what’s to come, they may not be satisfied with what they have.

Or, put another way, when you leave them wanting more, they don’t always come back for more of the same.

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-- Steven Zeitchik
twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn." Credit: Summit entertainment


Breaking down 'Breaking Dawn -- Part 1': What do you think?

November 28, 2011 |  3:25 pm

Twilight Breaking Dawn
When it opened Nov. 18, the long-awaited, long-titled vampire romance "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" didn't fare particularly well with movie critics, many of whom found it corny, toothless or at best a guilty pleasure. The lack of critical praise didn't stop legions of Twihards from turning out at midnight on opening night to see the film, or from catapulting it to box-office success two weeks in a row. We're curious to hear what readers think about "Breaking Dawn — Part 1" and what you expect from the series conclusion, "Part 2," due next November.

Steering the ship for that final installment will be British director Bill Condon, who made his "Twilight" debut with "Breaking Dawn — Part 1." For some people, including Times film critic Betsy Sharkey, Condon's entry into the series disappointed. In her review of the film, Sharkey writes, "I'd really hoped for more that just a well-polished look from Condon. With his 'Dreamgirls' and 'Gods and Monsters' background, he seemed a perfect fit for the final chapters of the tale of this dream girl and her godless monster. Such a pity."

"Breaking Dawn" star Robert Pattinson, who plays the vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen, would disagree with Sharkey (though he might be a bit biased). The 25-year-old English actor told 24 Frames that he appreciated Condon's point of view, his sense of humor and his poise. "Bill would always have a great explanation for why it's not ridiculous and it's not corny," Pattinson said. "It was great to have someone on set who could convince me of those things."

Online, "Breaking Dawn" viewers are displaying a range of opinions about the film. Some, like Sharon Grant, thought Condon nailed it (Team Bill?). In a comment on 24 Frames, Grant wrote: "I thought this was the best of the series.… Bill Condon got it. He understood what it was about the Edward/Bella story that drew us in."

Another commenter, Sue Nebgen, thought the film dragged on: "Could have cut an hour out of this movie, long on stares and short on action. It felt like every scene was drug out to have the movie run two hours. Very disappointed and would not have wasted the money seeing this one at the theater."

Where do you stand on "Breaking Dawn — Part 1," with the critics or the supporters? Do you think Condon will rise to the occasion for "Part 2"? Has the franchise worn out its welcome, or is the best yet to come? Tell us your opinion in the comments below or on Twitter, @latimesmovies.

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— Oliver Gettell

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1." Credit: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment


'Breaking Dawn': Robert Pattinson cheers 'Twilight' director Bill Condon

November 21, 2011 | 12:54 pm

Robbilltaylor

Reviews for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" might have been, well, mixed, to put it kindly -- as of Sunday evening, the movie had a 29% fresh rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes. But the film's director, Bill Condon, has at least one very prominent supporter: the movie's star Robert Pattinson.

The 25-year-old English actor, who plays Edward Cullen in the series, had nothing but kind words for Condon, the fourth director to sign on for a "Twilight" film and the man who will conclude the saga next year when "Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" is released. He said he appreciated what the filmmaker was up against: a tonally challenging narrative, a special-effects-intensive production and pressure to meet outsize fan expectations for the first half of the finale of the franchise adapted from author Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire romance novels.

"It was a massive undertaking, much bigger budgets and huge expectations, since it was the last one in the series," Pattinson said of the production. "There was much more pressure than the last one."

Pattinson said he felt that Condon had a point of view with the film -- Condon told The Times that he wanted to marry melodrama and horror in telling the story of Edward's marriage to Bella (Kristen Stewart) and the fallout from the unplanned pregnancy that happens soon after. The actor also enjoyed Condon's humor, which showed up both on-screen and off. 

"It's very easy to become cynical about stuff, especially where you are doing five movies in the series," Pattinson said. "It's a very sentimental story in a lot of ways, and I'm an incredibly cynical person. Bill would always have a great explanation for why it's not ridiculous and it's not corny. It was great to have someone on set who could convince me of those things."

Pattinson said that from the beginning, the shoot was a challenge. The six-month filming schedule for both parts of "Breaking Dawn" kicked off in Brazil, where Pattinson said "everything went wrong."

"Just the fact that he didn't get overwhelmed within two seconds was a big deal," Pattinson said of Condon. "We were in Rio [de Janeiro] for one day. Two cameras broke down, a crane broke down and everything was crazy. There was no crowd control, and he stayed perfectly calm. Bill was really thrown in the deep end, and we came up with really nice stuff. It was really pretty and nice."

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-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Bill Condon is flanked by Robert Pattinson, left, and Taylor Lautner at the Barcelona, Spain,  premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1." Credit: Job Vermeulen/Associated Press


'Twilight: Breaking Dawn:' Does it send the wrong message?

November 21, 2011 |  7:00 am

 

Kristen Stewart's and Robert Pattinson's "Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" carries an antiabortion message, say some feminist critics
It was of course never much of a question whether millions of Americans were going to rush out to see "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" this weekend, which they did -- about 18 million people, to be specific. For comparison's sake, that's just slightly behind the number who watched last year's "American Idol" finale -- as studio Summit Entertainment rang up $139.5 million in box office for the latest Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson film.

The bigger question, though, might be what these millions were left thinking after they left the theater, particularly in the areas of sex, love and childbirth, areas in which the Bill Condon-directed, Melissa Rosenberg-penned script has plenty to say.
 
A quick recap, in the unlikely event there isn't a Twihard in or around you. In this fourth installment of the vampire film franchise, adapted from about half of Stephenie Meyer's final book in the “Twilight” series, Bella Swan (Stewart) and the vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) finally consummate their love. Though still a teenager, she marries Edward in a glittery affair while the shape-shifting werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) hovers nearby. The wedding leads to a surprise honeymoon in Brazil as well as to Bella's deflowering (not to mention de-feathering; vampire men and pillows are apparently a dangerous combination).

Most conspicuously, the wedding-night sex results in Bella becoming pregnant with a kind of human-vampire hybrid, which soon threatens the life of its mother. Told of the danger, Bella doesn't even consider terminating the pregnancy.

Continue reading »

'Breaking Dawn': Kristen Stewart's extreme 'Twilight' transformation

November 20, 2011 |  4:17 pm

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1"

The fans who lined up over the weekend to see "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" — and there were a lot of them, considering that the fourth installment in the franchise adapted from Stephenie Meyer's bestselling young-adult novels raked in an estimated $139.5 million — witnessed some pretty radical upheaval in the lives of young Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire beau Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).

The couple marries, and during a romantic honeymoon getaway, they finally consummate their relationship. But Bella unexpectedly becomes pregnant and fights to carry the child to term, though the fetus is seemingly incompatible with her body.

To depict the great physical toll the pregnancy takes on Bella's body — she's unable to eat and essentially is withering away as her stomach swells — the "Breaking Dawn" filmmakers looked to Lola Visual Effects, the company responsible for downsizing muscular Chris Evans to a pre-transformation weakling in this summer's comic book superhero film "Captain America." The results are certainly eyebrow-raising, with Bella becoming increasingly pale and extremely gaunt. 

"The idea was to leave you with a question mark about how they did it," said the film's director, Bill Condon. "We wanted you to think it was possible that Kristen actually lost a lot of weight for it."

The visual-effects team added prosthetics to Stewart's face (a process that took three hours of application) to make her eyes look more sunken and her ears larger. Stewart likened wearing the prosthetics to having a "big, skinny head" for the scenes. Still, the 21-year old actress was game for the transformation.

"I'm so happy that they were not afraid of it — to have your main character look so awful for half of the movie is a bold choice for a huge film," Stewart said. "It was the one thing I wasn't fully responsible for concerning Bella and it made me really nervous. I didn't know what it would look like until I saw the movie."

RELATED:

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— Nicole Sperling

Photo: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson as Bella and Edward in 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1'

Credit: Summit Entertainment


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