USA TodayWhere: Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. When: Monday night
Guest list: A cavalcade of cast members including Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser and Kellan Lutz. Plus guests Heather Locklear, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ashley Tisdale and Rob Lowe.
"An experience to treasure": The fourth installment of the blockbuster film franchise, in theaters Friday, chronicles the lavish forest wedding, island honeymoon and impending parenthood of mortal teenager Bella Swan (Stewart) and her brooding vampire crush, Edward Cullen, played by Stewart's real-life squeeze, Pattinson. While shooting the nuptials, Pattinson said he was made painfully aware "just how irrelevant the groom is in a wedding. You just kind of stand there." But for Stewart, the shoot could not have been more touching. "It was just what I was hoping for," said a J-Mendel clad Stewart. "I wanted to remember it as an experience to treasure without any neurotic actory weirdness."
Filmed over two days in Squamish, British Columbia, the ceremony "felt like a real wedding," recalled Facinelli, "though it did rain a lot. I remember the girls standing in mud."
In labor: During the packed premiere screening, the fans' thunderous applause for the "I do" exchange was eclipsed only by the deafening cheers for the long-awaited consummation scene. Director Bill Condon recalled Kristen being "as nervous as Bella would be, but Rob had her back the whole time. They're so protective of each other." One warning: the climactic (and truly gruesome!) birthing scene is not for the faint of heart. "It's difficult to get more surreal than chewing through a placenta," cautioned Pattinson, while Stewart is still uneasy about "looking down and seeing my head sticking out of a fake pregnant body."
Part 2 (Spoiler alert!):
Be sure to stay in your seats after the closing credits begin to roll for a glimpse of the treachery ahead when Twilight's concluding chapter hits theaters in November 2012. Mackenzie Foy, 11, appears for only a glimpse at the end of Part 1 as Bella and Edward's daughter, Renesmee, but says, "I do a lot more in the next one." Such as? Taking a ride on the back of Jacob (Lautner) in werewolf form. Reaser's favorite scene finds her and movie husband Facinelli heading to Egypt "to recruit vampires in this Egyptian palace." Lutz, meanwhile, can't wait for fans to see his arm-wrestling scene with Bella, a newly christened vampire. "It's kind of ridiculous that she beats me," said Lutz, "but she does!" And according to Lautner, Bella also gets rough with his Jacob. "There's a scene in Part 2 where Bella finds out I imprinted (summoning a protective spell) on her daughter, and she throws me around the backyard. It was so funny for me to see Kristen doing that."
Famous fans: "It's a super hot ticket," said Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik, who confessed to not having seen any of the previous films. But Love Hewitt, a true Twi-hard, "asked for tickets ages ago. The books make me feel like a mushy teenager again, and this movie is when it really gets good. They get married and have S-E-X for the first time!" Also among the eager: racing champ Danica Patrick, having heard "it's one of the biggest movie weddings ever filmed."
Not so famous fans: Devotees flew in from all over the world for a chance to camp out as early as last Wednesday for the best spots along the black carpet. Many were rewarded with autographs and photos with their favorites. Megan Lambert, 14, from Colton, Calif., flashed a sign reading: "Taylor Abduct Me", and reunited with two friends she met at last year's Twilight: Eclipse premiere. And Adam Velasco, 23, one of the few guys in the crowd, flew in from Chicago and spent the last few days "brushing my teeth in the parking garage." Condon, who paid the crowd a surprise visit on Saturday, noted, "This has to be the most interactive relationship ever between a movie and its fan-dom."