This is just an excerpt of TwilightPoison's interview with Bill Condon. Head on to their site for the rest of the interview, also check out their Exclusive photo coverage of the recent San Diego Comic Con.
Q: About the honeymoon scene, I noticed of course the humor in that. Why did you guys choose to do it that way and how did that decision come about?
Bill: About being funny when she’s getting ready? It just felt like it was human. It was like, again, making everything as real as possible, and it’s like anybody in that moment when it’s like “Oh my God, it’s about to happen”, it’s one thing it’s gonna happen this night. God, it’s Bella, after all this time. And it’s a vampire, you know? But now is the moment and is just about making it as relatable as possible. Like, what do you do? You just try to control it in any way you possibly can. You know, you brush your teeth for the tenth time and do all those things to make yourself think that you’re ready, which of course you can’t do. And then the way we cut it it was just like a lot of jump cuts to make it like she’s sort of this nervous jangly thing. You know the way Kristen goes? (taps fingers impatiently on table, everyone laughs) that was the rhythm of it, you know? We matched that with the way we presented it.
Q: With the birth, like you talked about, it’s a violent birth, and the impending fight with the Volturi, then the honeymoon and the sex scenes. Knowing all those aspects, did you find it hard to balance the boundry between PG-13 and R? Did you sort of go to R and cut back? How did you approach that?
Bill: You know, I think it’s a good challenge because the thing that makes something R is literally showing it and if you give yourself that rule: I’m not gonna show, it’s not going to be frontal nudity, no one wants that, that is not appropriate here , but they are going to have intense love making scenes. Or we’re not going to, again, show splattering blood against the walls but it’s gonna be very visceral. It actually becomes a fun challenge to make sure you feel like you have the same experience without having to watch something clinical. I think it makes it better. There are great romantic scenes in PG-13 movies, you know?
More after the CUT
Q: Actors are often asked about scenes that are emotionally draining. Do you feel that there were certain scenes as a director that you get emotionally drawn into, what scenes in particular in Breaking Dawn that it wasn’t easy to let go of those emotions?
Bill: Well you have to because you’re on to the next one either an hour later, or the next day, but man, absolutely, there were all these things along the way that you just have an adrenaline rush when you finally get there and get through it because so many things could go wrong. Like the childbirth, I keep going back to it, but that was unbelievably intense. Taylor, his heart is pouring out of him, but Rob, you see this where he’s trying to bring her back to life and the anguish of it and the panic of it all, and then Kristen just giving it all. In the way that you’ll see, all the effort of giving birth but she is the best dead person I’ve ever seen (everyone laughs) and that’s not easy because there were takes that were a minute long and she never blinked, she never seemed to breathe, I don’t know how she did it but that cold area was very intense. And at the end of the shoot in Louisiana we’d been shooting for four months already, kind of tired and everyone is worn down, all of our defenses were down and it was also one of those things where you get there and you do it, and it lifted everybody up for the rest of the shoot because it just felt like something real had happened. That’s the thing that is great on a set, when you know something real has happened, it’s when the crew is suddenly incredibly quiet and everyone is paying attention, is sort of like you know it’s happening right in front of you and everyone’s aware of it, you know.
Q: You are obviously a very experienced director, and the cast goes from everyone to first timers, to people like Kristen that has been in dozens of films. Is there anything that any of the actors specifically taught you and that you came away with thinking that you didn’t have that information or that knowledge before?
Bill: Oh, God yes, totally. And you know I’m experienced but still, I’ve been on one half of the sets that Kristen’s been on, or maybe a third, you know what I mean? And don’t even think about Michael Sheen so yeah, I mean you’re always learning on movies, absolutely. But specifically here obviously these actors all know their characters so well, but you take somebody like Kristen, she’s going to be directing movies before long. She just knows everything about the process – everything. And she just knows “Oh my God, I should lift my eyes up just a quarter of an inch next time” and things like that. She’s an amazing collaborator where it’s like, and if you explain “Ok this feels a little unnatural but it’s worth it to do” I get it. But we would do a lot of sitting around talking about the script for weeks. And she would get ideas, I’m not saying only her, but she would a lot, and “Oh, that’s a great idea”. So yeah, all the time.
Q: One of the most insane places for Twilight, one of the most passionate places in the world for Twilight, is Brazil, how did you handle filming there with so many fans who are different from fans in America, who are very passionate…?
Bill: But respectful. It was very interesting. You know Rob told that story when we were shooting (laughs) but it was truly like everyone was in the street having a party and then suddenly one girl was like all over him (mimics arms across Rob’s neck, Rob’s surprised expression). And I think she was beheaded (everyone laughs) because I did ask like two hours later “What happened to her?” and everyone was like “I don’t know!”(laughs). Read more at Twilight Poison
Bill talks about the childbirth scene, Stephenie Meyer, Mackenzie Foy and a lot more.