'Twilight' Countdown: Stephenie Meyer talks about the film's twist ending
When I spoke to “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer, she seemed in much better spirits than she had been in following the “Breaking Dawn” backlash and subsequent leaking of “Midnight Sun” online. (For the record, she says she won’t resume writing the book, her planned retelling of “Twilight” from Edward’s point of view, until the noise around it has died down. “I have to feel like I’m alone with it again,” she said.)
The author looked rested and genuinely excited about promoting the big-screen version of a story she’s been talking up for the past three years. And even now that she’s more in-demand than ever, Meyer graciously took some time to talk to us about what she misses most about interacting with her fans; how she argued with Robert Pattinson over his “emo” take on Edward; which moment from the book she fought to have added to the film; and her thoughts about the movie’s twist ending. (Don’t worry, “Twilight” fans, I didn’t include any spoilers in this Q&A.)
Has the divided reaction to “Breaking Dawn” put a damper on this entire “Twilight” experience for you?
Well, hmmm, no. You know, it was funny because I was expecting this sense of closure when I finished the rough draft, and I was expecting it again when I finished my editing and I knew it was going to print. But it wasn’t until the books were out on the shelves that it was done, and I had that sense of crossing the finish line, like ‘I’ve done it! I’ve gotten it all done!’
It’s sad when you can’t make everyone happy, though. It’s impossible but, at the same time, you still hope. You think, ‘Maybe I can do it,’ but you know you can’t. But gosh, if I had to rely on giving people what they wanted, I would have had to write 40 billion different books and even then, I wouldn’t get it right.
What I have to say to myself is, ‘Would I have done anything differently? No. Am I happy with how it is? Yes. Do I like to read it? Yes. Does this feel like the right ending to me? Yes.’ I’ve always written for myself. ‘Breaking Dawn’ was no exception.
The bigger things get, the more haters there are. It’s not about the books, it’s about everything they can find to pick on you about. That just seems to be how society is and it’s kind of sad. For myself, I don’t spend time on things I hate, you know? It kills me. There’s so little time, spend it with what you love.
But has the reaction changed how you interact with fans? Or how much you interact with them?
That had already started to change because it’s now a volume thing. When I started out, I’d do an event, 40 people would show up and we could have this big conversation and really get to know each other. I knew who they were and I actually corresponded with quite a few of them because I could. But then things got busier and busier and it got overwhelming. At a signing, I can barely say ‘Hi!’ to people. And that’s no fun. I really don’t enjoy that. I know people want their books signed and it’s worth it to them, but it feels horrible to me. I can’t find out what your name is or who you are and what you’re about. I don’t like that. So that’s changed and that’s a little sad. It’s great to have things be successful, but there are sacrifices that come with it.
Was there any one actor in the film that you came the closest to your vision for their character while you were writing “Twilight“?
On first look, the one that really jumped out was Ashley Greene as Alice. I saw a picture of her and just thought, ‘You found Alice! Oh my gosh!’ On the set, the person who really exceeded expectations was Rob. I didn’t think anyone could get that close to Edward. I mean, I knew he was going to do a good job, and he has this great look, but I’d seen him as Rob himself and I couldn‘t picture it.
The thing is he looks different when he does characters. When you watch the films that he’s done, you might not be able to put together with the same person because he’s such a chameleon. There were times where he was just being Rob and then you’d hear 'Action!’ and he’d step into character -- and he’d look different! He’d like sound like Edward! It was crazy. He did such a good job.
Earlier at a press conference, though, you mentioned that you butted heads with Rob over how each of you saw Edward.
Oh yeah! That was a worry! He’d sit there arguing with me telling me I’m wrong about this character. He thinks Edward is a lot more depressed than I do. He thinks Edward is on the point of suicide. I’m like, ‘No! He’s got his family that he loves. He‘s got Carlisle.’ And Rob would go (putting on a British accent), ‘Well, why does he like Carlisle so much? This man changed him into a vampire! What are you thinking?’ (Laughs) There were very intense conversations. But it was hysterical after the fact. I was worried though. I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s going to go in there and play Edward like Edward The Emo. Nooooooooo.’ But he didn’t! And it’s exactly what I wanted to see. It was crazy, but he got it. It’s on the screen and that’s all that matters.
Did you give any notes after seeing the movie’s rough cut?
Oh yeah! I sat with some of my friends because I needed the moral support. I just made notes about all these little things. Some of it was me going, ‘Oh, I wish this scene had been longer.’ Like the meadow scene I thought should be longer. And I wanted to see Jacob at the prom. I missed that. In the first cut we saw, the scene didn’t exist!
People thought they were doing reshoots because there were problems, but that was so not the case. What it was is that everyone had the same reaction -- they wanted to see more of certain things. So Catherine was like, ‘Hey! Let’s shoot some more.’ The parts they added in, you really can’t imagine the movie without them after you’ve seen it all. They’re awesome. The impact of the things they added -- and it must be just like 5 minutes, at most -- is so cool.
What did you think of the movie’s ending? [Note to readers: It’s a bit different from the way the novel ends.]
It was fantastic. I thought, ‘Now I’ve got them. They have to go on [with more movies], don’t they.’ (Laughs)
Was the addition at the end your idea?
It was in the original script. I didn’t suggest it. [Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg] does a lot of stuff that way. I’m looking straight from what Bella can see and what Bella can hear. Melissa comes at things from outside of Bella sometimes and thought it would be cool to add this bit in -- and I loved it.
Do you want to have any input in any succeeding movies?
In one way, I think I’d like to be more involved. I feel like I had a really great level of involvement here. I really enjoyed the people I worked with, and I just like hanging out with them now. I don’t think they’re threatened by me anymore. I’m sure no one said anything to make people uncomfortable, but I’m also sure that when I came in they thought ‘Oh crap, this author is going to come in here and start making demands and be this horrible pain.’ I think they know I’m not like that now. So that’s good. I could spend more time on the set. I’d be there every day except my kids need me at home. But I was so fascinated with how it all works -- I’d show up every day.
Have you thought about what you could stand to see cut from “New Moon” or “Eclipse” if and when they’re turned into movies? Those books are even longer than “Twilight” and director Catherine Hardwicke said they’d be considerably more expensive to make.
I am not good at thinking that way. If I thought something wasn’t necessary I would have cut it. To me every word is vital. I really need someone else to come in and do the paring down because I can’t. As far as expense, I think if ‘Twilight’ does well enough, then we should be able to do the big expensive stuff for the sequels. I mean, we have to have werewolves, there’s no way around it. They have to be there.
Do you think Taylor Lautner can continue playing Jacob, who's supposed to appear to be in his 20s in the next movie?
Taylor is a phenomenal actor and such an amazing person. He’s so grown-up it kills me. I’d love to see him have a chance at playing older Jacob. I do think it’s a stretch though. It’s hard because he’s young looking. But he’s really good. It’s not my call and, I have to say, I’m glad it’s not.
What is the best thing you’ve received from a fan?
I know the coolest thing I ever got. It must have been during the ‘New Moon’ tour. I was in Phoenix and there was this little girl, who I still correspond with now and then because of this gift she brought me. She came out from San Francisco and she had driven to Phoenix for this event. At that point I still wasn’t used to that. She brought me a homemade CD of rare B-side Muse songs. I had never heard them before and oh my gosh, I wore that CD out. I loved it so much. I felt guilty though -- I had to order everything once I knew it existed because I’m not about pirating. (Laughs) But she gave me the gift of Muse songs I hadn’t heard and it doesn’t get better than that.
Seeing "Twilight" on Thursday at midnight? E-mail me your review at Denise.Martin@latimes.com and I'll post a round-up first thing Friday morning. I want to hear all your thoughts!
And catch up on past Countdown interviews: Robert Pattinson (Parts 1, 2 and 3), Kristen Stewart, director Catherine Hardwicke (Parts 1 and 2), screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, Peter Facinelli, Edi Gathegi and Taylor Lautner.
-- Denise Martin
Photo credit: WireImage