Contributed by Courtney Quinn, Entertainment Reporter for RadioFree.com
July 21, 2011

There is perhaps no greater example of Comic-Con's explosive, all-encompassing growth than the inclusion of Twilight amongst its highlight presentations. The pop culture juggernaut's target demographic of young girls swooning over a love triangle between a stalwart heroine and her vampiric and lupine suitors stands out in stark contrast to the prototypical fanboy long associated with the annual convention, even though the resultant fervor is no less formidable.

After successfully embracing Comic-Con in 2009 with New Moon, the Twilight franchise returns to duplicate its magic and embrace its fandom once more with Breaking Dawn: Part 1. In this interview, franchise stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner join director Bill Condon to meet with the media at a press conference and talk about their experiences of making the fourth film in the series spawned from the bestselling books by author Stephenie Meyer.

MEDIA: So how does it feel to be loved all over the world?

ROBERT: It's nice, it's different. [laughs] I don't know if it's "love" necessarily, but one of the interesting things about having an international fan base [is that] every single country is a totally different reaction to you and to the movie. Shooting on the street in Brazil compared to people trying to sneak a picture or something if you're shooting in the States or Canada...Like in Brazil, people would literally just go up and try and grab you. And so it was pretty fun on the set.

KRISTEN: Grabbed him, not me. [laughs]

How was your experience of shooting on location in Brazil?

BILL: It was amazing. That's where Stephenie wrote the honeymoon...We went in search of what she wrote as Isle Esme, and I think we found it, you know? It was very cool. We would take a half hour boat trip to work every day--that was great. We got stranded--that was dramatic.

KRISTEN: It was nice being able to shoot on the actual streets and see the people. I mean, to see that within the context of this movie is definitely jarring in a great way. It's very different.

BILL: [to Taylor] And you were there kind of, Taylor, because--it was eerie--there was an extra who looked exactly like you.

TAYLOR: It's so weird...I do love Brazil, but I was not there. But they came back and they told me that there was an extra that looked just like me, and I was like, [dismissively] "Okay, sure." They show me this picture, and I even thought it was me. It was the weirdest thing. [laughs] Didn't you guys have to place him further back, in case the camera accidentally went over him?

BILL: Oh, he kept pushing his way into the shot, yeah.

KRISTEN: That's the thing: he was acting like you, too. He looked like an Eclipse poster.

Bill, we understand you were a fan of the original Dark Shadows television series. Where does that interest in the supernatural come from?

BILL: I don't know...I was a kid, and I would run home to see that show. Obviously, it was all kinds of fantasy creatures, mostly vampires and Barnabas Collins. [jokes] I think growing up in a very intense Catholic household maybe, or something, makes you a little twisted...But whatever new vampires come around, I've always been interested, as I was with Twilight.

Many of your films seem to share a common exploration of societal oppression. Do you think that theme of people not being allowed to be themselves also comes through in Breaking Dawn?

BILL: I do. And it would sound really pretentious to say that, but I do feel like I always hook into people who are outsiders in some way, who are yearning. [laughs] And all these characters are: Jacob is yearning all the time, and [Bella and Edward are trying to] find a way to live the lives that they were meant to. I won't say any more, but yeah, I do, definitely.

Kristen, Bella goes through a lot in this movie between the wedding and the honeymoon and the pregnancy. How did you feel about going on her emotional journey?

KRISTEN: I can't draw a line between myself and the stuff that I do. It's funny, I don't want to make it sound like it's not just about this, but really with everything that I do, it's hard for me to take myself out of it. So I had been building up to these moments for four years--I was 17 when I started doing this [series]. And this one really is loaded with those really cathartic, impactful, huge life moments, and they're not all completely fantasy. They're really very rooted in a reality that I can completely see myself in, and anyone who reads the book could imagine. And shooting the scenes, I had to kind of let myself realize that these moments will find themselves naturally, and I can't let the book punch me in the face every morning to wake me up and give me stomach aches. You have to "let the moments happen." And they did, and we just sort of went for it. And I do feel like it's very, very close to the book, and a really sincere telling of the story, but at the same time, we sort of added bits. There are surprises that surprised me, too, in the more iconic bits, like in the wedding and at the honeymoon.

BILL: I think the thing that amazed me is that there's no bigger fan of Twilight than Kristen.

KRISTEN: [deflects the compliment] Oh...!

BILL: No, it's true. You're approaching it as an actress, the way you described it, but also, she's always there like, "I know what it felt like when I read this the first time," and pushing, pushing, pushing to make sure she was capturing that feeling.

KRISTEN: I feel like this is such a self-conscious answer... [groans]

BILL: Yeah, but it's true.

What scene had to be kept the most tightly under wraps while you were filming it?

KRISTEN: The wedding, definitely. It was like secret service style insane. The crew was completely inconvenienced, and just grumbling around the set, like, "I can't have a cell phone!"

TAYLOR: No cell phone, no e-mail...

KRISTEN: Exactly. It's like, [appreciatively] "You don't understand what this means to us, thank you so much! If this dress gets on the internet, I'll die!" But that really was crazy.

BILL: And then there was the helicopter, right as you're ready to take the vows.

KRISTEN: I had a Volturi cloak on, because that's all that we had to cover up. [laughs]

Was there a scene that made you feel particularly vulnerable or exposed?

TAYLOR: [to Kristen and Robert] Would that probably have been Brazil for you guys?

ROBERT: Not really. I mean, we didn't have to do anything which was too intimate or anything, where there were a lot of people around. Or we didn't know there were a lot of people around. [laughs]

KRISTEN: We didn't know when we were being photographed and stuff. That was always a weird experience after the fact.

TAYLOR: A lot of the movie takes place inside...We were in Baton Rogue filming on a stage, and then we had two months in Vancouver. But Breaking Dawn is very intimate, and I just feel like they did a really good job at allowing us to be creative and just be able to be with each other. And we really didn't have to focus on being distracted and anything like that on this movie.

KRISTEN: They protected us. [laughs]

Aside from the wedding, were there any other pivotal scenes you were nervous about recreating accurately?

TAYLOR: I was pretty nervous about imprinting [on Renesmee]. I was given an X on a wall [to work with].

KRISTEN: Well, what, did you want her to be sitting there? [laughs]

TAYLOR: No. [laughs] I don't know what I would have wanted. I don't think there was any ideal scenario here. But there was an X on a wall, and I had to walk into the room on the verge of killing this baby, and then stop, twist, and imprint on it. Whatever that means.

ROBERT: [laughs] That sounds amazing. "Stop, twist, and imprint." It's Jacob's signature move!

TAYLOR: [laughs] It was challenging. I mean, I spent a lot of time talking to Bill and to Stephenie, and just being like, "Okay guys, what exactly does imprinting even look like?" I don't know. It was tough. So I sure hope it comes across all right.

Robert, any moments of apprehension for you?

ROBERT: Embarrassingly, the only thing I was most nervous about was taking my shirt off. [laughs]

KRISTEN: At least he's honest. That's cool. [laughs]

ROBERT: In a series where so much of the books are about Edward's body and stuff, I managed to avoid having my shirt off like the whole series--the thing that, in the book, is almost every three pages. And it's like, "How can I swim [without taking my shirt off]? Maybe I can wear a t-shirt when I'm in the sea? Wear a onesie..." [laughs]

Kristen, any awkward moments during filming?

KRISTEN: Well, occasionally, I couldn't pick up [Renesmee]. You know, we have Mackenzie Foy, who's an amazing little kid--like the coolest kid I've ever met, and smarter than me in a lot of ways--and then we had these other little girls that would come in to play the younger version of Mackenzie. And they're all great, awesome little kids, it's just that not to have them there with you every day, I'm awkward. [laughs] I can't handle that. I mean, me and Mackenzie were awesome, but I just couldn't really deal with [picking them up]. Like I looked ridiculous--they're bigger than me in some cases.

BILL: I think you're talking about one kid, specifically...

KRISTEN: Yeah. That was just not a good day, dude.

BILL: This girl had to run toward Billy Burke, and instead, she kept running into walls. And so it's like, "No, you've got to carry her." [to Kristen] And of course, you said, "Okay, I'll do it," and then she peed on you.

KRISTEN: Yeah. I was holding her, and she just, you know...And that's fine, she was so nervous. [redirects back to the media] This is probably not a great answer. You probably want something like, "Well, to do the love scene was weird, because having so many people on the set..."

ROBERT: Talking about the baby, we had an animatronic baby for one bit.

KRISTEN: That was awkward, too.

ROBERT: I think it was your scene where you had to be introduced to the baby for the first time.

KRISTEN: And in the book, that is, my God, like one of my favorite parts. And then to know that you're not going to be looking at a child [when you're actually filming it]...

ROBERT: And to see, literally, Chucky from Child's Play...

KRISTEN: Yeah, and the [animatronic operator is] like sweating right below your eyeline, trying to get the hand up to touch your face, and then it sticks to your hair and pulls a little bit, and you're like, "Ugh, get that thing off me! Get me a baby, this is ridiculous!" And it had hair, and it's a newborn baby. I know that that's in the book and you can imagine how cool that would be, but...

ROBERT: Or if you've ever seen a baby with a wig on. [laughs] That's pretty funny. They look like the trolls you stick on the end of your pencil.

BILL: And the weirdest thing, I was looking at the dailies of that, and you'd call cut, and then the baby's eyes blink. It's creepy.

What are some of your favorite scenes from the movie?

TAYLOR: I've always been able to choose one for all of the movies...

KRISTEN: I was going to say, Taylor's going to have a favorite for sure.


KRISTEN: [surprised] What?

TAYLOR: I'm about ready to let you down. I'm so sorry. I was going to say, I've always been able to choose one for every single movie, but this one, I can't. I don't know...There's so much going on in this movie, and all of the characters are dealing with their own little things. It's impossible for me to choose my favorite scene in this movie. I mean, Jacob changes so much from the beginning to the end, so it's hard for me to choose. Sorry.

KRISTEN: There's a scene with me and [Billy Burke] at the wedding that I loved so much. And also with [Sarah Clarke], as well--one after the other. I really liked them. They're sweet.

ROBERT: I think the birth scene is so different to everything else in the movie. And also, for a fantasy series that has kind of a youngish audience, I find it interesting it goes quite far. It's quite hardcore, it's quite graphic. I mean, it was while we were doing it, anyway.

KRISTEN: It felt overtly graphic.

ROBERT: Yeah. But if you read the book, there's literally no way to do it in any kind of tamed way. So it was fun. I felt like it was brave.

How do you think things would have turned out differently had Twilight been just a small, independent film?

KRISTEN: If this was a tiny little independent movie that only ran on Sundance, then we wouldn't be able to do the movie justice. I mean, maybe the first few...[But] this one is really a big movie. And it's nice to be indulgent, it's nice to shoot for six months with an A-lister! [gestures to Bill] So yeah, sure, we wouldn't be sitting here doing a press conference about it. Maybe we'd be sitting in some cool little snowy, lofty place in Sundance...But we'd be having the same conversation, probably.

Is Breaking Dawn really the end of the Twilight series, or is there the possibility of more sequels and spinoffs?

BILL: I think [Stephenie Meyer] always says it's the end of the Bella/Edward story. But, especially in the second movie, there are so many new characters that I suspect she'll want to revisit them at some point.

In keeping with the Comic-Con theme of embracing your inner geek, what are some nerdy/geeky things you've discovered about each other, having worked together for so many years?

ROBERT: I don't think Kristen would see it as nerdy, but I guess I do...

KRISTEN: [jokes] I think I'm always cool.

ROBERT: Kristen literally only watches the cooking channel. And especially on set. It's bizarre. She has a TV in the make-up trailer which is always on.

KRISTEN: It was dismal times! It was a long shoot...

ROBERT: It's her only diva-ish behavior, having the cooking channel on at all times in every room. [laughs]

KRISTEN: And you all reaped the benefits!

TAYLOR: It's true, it's true. I'm thankful of that nerdy thing.

KRISTEN: Taylor can dance, and he never wants to say that he can.

TAYLOR: No! That is so not true.

KRISTEN: See? He can move his hips better than I will ever dream...

TAYLOR: "Move my hips"?

KRISTEN: Literally, it's crazy.

TAYLOR: [laughs] That is so not true.

KRISTEN: No, you can move.

ROBERT: That's not nerdy. That's awesome.

KRISTEN: No, you should see how he does it, though. It's always to like the craziest music. [laughs]

TAYLOR: [laughs] You're right, you're right. I'll give you that one. In the hair and make-up trailer...It's where things happen.

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