Take Two for November 15, 2012

'Twilight' saga screenwriter reflects on success of vampire series on the big screen

Twilight: Breaking Dawn

Summit Entertainment

Still from the movie "Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2."

Well, it's been several epic battles, countless lovelorn gazes, and quite a few shirtless hunks in the making. Now, the final installment of the "Twilight" saga is here.

So far the film adaptations have grossed $2.5 billion, and it's stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner have become touchstones for tweens, teens (and, let's face it, even some adults) around the world.

While the films have been directed by differen't people, all five films were written by the same person, Melissa Rosenberg. She's also written for the Showtime series "Dexter," and she's currently working on an upcoming drama for ABC called "Red Widow."

Interview Highlights:

When you were introduced to this project, did you have any idea of what getting into? 
"No idea at all really, the producers mentioned, ‘you know this book is quite popular, it has quite an online following.’ I remember taking a peek online at the fan site and quickly pressing the escape button because if I knew how popular it was I would be paralyzed. These books have such a huge following there was just no way I would be able to satisfy all the people all the time. Hopefully I was able to satisfy some of them.”

What made you want to take it on?
“I love the mythology. Stephanie Meyer has created this world and this mythology and these characters that are so rich. There is something very universal about the relationship and the drive of our lead character, Bella. That pursuit of what she loves and who she wants to be, and that is something I really related to on that.”

Related: Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2: Los Angeles says goodbye to Bella, Edward, Jacob

It has been said that "Brokeback Mountain" was an inspiration for the movie, can you explain the relationship between the two?
“’Brokeback Mountain,’ from the novella to the movie, it was an incredible adaptation. They had the opposite problem I did, I had to take a book of 500 pages and condense into a two-hour movie; they had a book of 30 pages they had to expand. But they did so beautifully, I found it inspiring. There is also the relationship, the forbidden love aspect of the two characters, and them perceiving their own desires as being inappropriate or to be despised, so holding themselves back. And I think that is very much Edward’s point of view about himself. There are some emotional and character similarities.”

Some critics have taken issue with Bella, saying she is a bad role model… what is your opinion?
“I would argue [against] that actually, I would argue that Bella, in the film, is passive. This is something that Catherine Hardwicke [director of the first film] and I discussed at the front…we knew that a lot of young women were going to be seeing this and we wanted to present a character that had some chutzpah. So there is a marked difference in the character of Bella from book to film. That’s part of adapting a book into a film. In a book you can have a character be reactive because you are inside her mind and her thoughts are active. You can’t do that on a screen, your lead character has to be driving the story. For instance, in “Eclipse,” the scene in which Jacob comes to the high school to meet Bella. In the book that’s a much more reactive moment, he sort of goads her along, and she kind of goes along for the ride. In the movie she makes a conscious choice, she does it in front of Edward and it is a moment of rebellion against him. I’ve had many fans ask me, ‘why did you do that?’ Those are the choices that I felt needed to be made.”

Have you ever been mobbed by fans like Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson?
“That’s the beauty of being a screenwriter, no one knows what you look like. Although I did have the very first movie we went to Comic-con, this young girl, 12 or 13, pulls me aside in the aisle and says will you sign my book, and I looked at her and she whispered ‘I know who you are’ and I laughed.”

The other show you worked on, "Dexter," is a pretty grim show, how was it bouncing between?
“There were some similarities between Dexter and Edward the idea of having a demon that you must keep within control. How Dexter does that is by a code who he will and wont kill. He kills the bad guys. And Edward manages by only eating animals instead of people. There is always this risk with both of them with the code dropping out and doing something not good, the demon winning. And also for Dexter, I’ve sort of seen is it as this alien landing on the planet and studying what it is to be human, trying to pass as human, and that’s what it is for the Cullen family as well, just trying to pass as human.”


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