Category Archives: Melissa Rosenberg
“Breaking Dawn” Screenwriter Expands on “Twilight’s” Story
Fans of the “Twilight” films are going to have a little added story to sink their teeth into.
The previous movie adaptations of Stephanie Meyer’s vamp-lit juggernaut have gone pretty much by the book, but with the final novel “Breaking Dawn” being broken into two feature films, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg tells PopcornBiz she’s enjoying a little more leeway to add some fangy flourishes of her own.
“I did actually [get to do that], because we got to fill out the story because we’re doing the next two movies,” said Rosenberg. “So there was room to play and expand on some of the characters that Stephanie introduces. That was a lot of fun.”
“It’s a much more grownup movie – It’s an adult story,” the writer said of evolving the franchise beyond its high school origins. “The stakes are raised even higher because it’s not the story of teens. It’s the stories of grownups, so we’re talking about marriage and children and family – and these are pretty grownup things, but sexy.”
If you haven’t read the books, beware of the SPOILER up ahead.
Rosenberg says the highlight of the story will be seeing Kristen Stewart’s character Bella become a vampire at long last. “Kristen gets to make the transformation and that is going to be so exciting to see. [Director] Bill [Condon] and I talked about it in developing this script and the screenplay. Now she’s going to embody it. It’s going to be so great.”
Rosenberg, who penned all of the “Twilight” films and previously wrote for Showtime’s “Dexter,” hasn’t quite adjusted to the fact that, minus a few rewrites, her bloody good run is coming to a close.
“It’s a shocking experience after four years to not be writing ‘Twilight!’” she said.
Kristen Stewart Talk About Breaking Dawn with the LA Times
In the upcoming “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” Kristen Stewart’s character, Bella Swan, becomes a mother. But that’s a reality the actress says she has a hard time comprehending.
“My best friend just had a baby. She’s my age. So I’m a godmom now, which is … crazy,” said the 20-year-old during an interview to promote her upcoming film “Welcome to the Rileys.”
Asked if the experience was helping her tap into her own maternal instincts, she replied: “It’s actually making me realize more that I have absolutely no idea. Like, I see that going on, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’ ”
Though “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth installment in the “Twilight” franchise, doesn’t begin production for a few weeks, Stewart says she’s already been caught up with preparations for the film. She’s had a number of meetings with director Bill Condon and has even temporarily eliminated some favorites from her diet.
“I want a cheeseburger so badly, but, you know, I have to be a vampire in a few weeks,” she said over lunch at a restaurant in Topanga, where she settled for a veggie burger.
Ironically, she won’t even be able to show off her figure for the majority of “Breaking Dawn.”
“I’m incredibly pregnant in the first movie,” Stewart said, adding that she has spent the last couple of weeks trying on prosthetic bellies. “I’ve worn it. It’s … crazy. I’ve done fittings. It gets immense. It gets so massive at some point that it actually looks inhuman. Like it’s hurting her. There are striations of bruises.”
As gruesome as it may be, Bella’s big birthing scene in Breaking Dawn can’t come soon enough.
But until then, here’s an update on what to expect…
Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg tells me she’s been in Baton Rouge with director Bill Condon doing rewrites for the scripts for the two BD movies.
“We’re working on it,” Rosenberg says of baby Renesmee’s less-than-pretty arrival. “And we’re working on it to be as intense as it is in the book.”
Yikes. That could be a whole lotta gore.
“I don’t think it’s about the amount of blood you show,” Rosenberg says. “It’s about the intensity of it. It’s on their faces. It’s all from Bella’s point of view when you’re seeing what’s going. It should feel visceral. I think it’s going to be pretty intense.”
What’s Rosenberg’s ETA on the final scripts? “It better damn well be before the beginning of November,” she says, “because that’s when we start shooting.”
Pic Fan Made by jezie-b via Breaking Dawn Movie
‘Breaking Dawn’ Scribe Says She’s Wrestling With ‘Battle Scene’
‘It’s an enormous challenge to choreograph on the page,’ Melissa Rosenberg reveals from Emmys red carpet.
In the midst of Emmy mania Sunday night (August 29) — Dresses! Nominees! Celeb couples! — which predictably revolved around the world of TV, pre-show viewers got a pleasant surprise as “Twilight” screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg made her way down a very long red carpet at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Naturally, when MTV News caught up with the busy scribe, we had to press her for another update on the progress of the “Breaking Dawn” scripts.
“They’re coming along,” Rosenberg said. “I just flew in last night from working with [‘Dawn’ director] Bill Condon, prepping the scripts. It’s a lot of work, I’m exhausted,” she added. Rosenberg also revealed that she’s between 75 and 80 percent finished with the two screenplays. “But we’re intent on making them the best scripts yet.”
Regarding the biggest challenge she faces in finishing “Dawn,” parts 1 and 2, Rosenberg said it’s the climactic “battle scene” — in which the two opposing vampire groups face off in dramatic fashion at the end of the book — that’s proving to be her biggest obstacle, rather than the infamous “birth scene”.
“The final battle sequence is a big challenge because it lasts 25 pages,” Rosenberg told us. “It’s almost an entire three-act story in and of itself. You have to track (kept all in one setting) hundreds of characters. It’s an enormous challenge to choreograph on the page and for Bill to choreograph on the stage.”
Rosenberg went on to say that perfecting that scene is her “next big hurdle.”
“I’ve written a couple of drafts [of the scene]; I haven’t gotten with Bill [to go over it] yet. That’s the next big hurdle to sit down with the stunt coordinator and create the ballet.”
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Work Hard, Twihard
Written by Dylan Callaghan
In her tenure as sole scripter on the entire Twilight franchise, Melissa Rosenberg has experienced the screenwriting equivalent of the heady, harrowing arc of Bella Swan, the beloved human heroine at the center of the spectacularly popular teen vampire bestsellers-turned-blockbusters. Even as the franchise’s third installment, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, hits megaplexes everywhere and Rosenberg slogs through a marathon junket promoting the film, she’s already neck-deep in adapting the fourth and final book, the 900-page bone-rattler Breaking Dawn, into two separate films simultaneously. The twin closer has already set Twihards across the globe into a frenzy of speculation as to how the film will depict Bella’s visceral, nearly fatal half-human-half-vampire birth and her (SPOILER ALERT!) transformation to immortality.
Rosenberg has maintained her breakneck pace since late 2007, two months before the writers strike, when she was tapped to adapt Stephenie Meyer’s maiden book in the series, Twilight. Not only did she turn that first script around in a little more than two months to beat the strike deadline, but she’s written the franchise while juggling her co-EP-ship of the hit Showtime series Dexter. Time and the enormity of writing two scripts at once for Breaking Dawn drove her to leave Dexter behind, a show she counts as the best of her television career.
In a junket day chat with the Writers Guild of America, West Web site, Rosenberg discussed this new penultimate book and film, Eclipse, which grapples with Bella’s choice between her vampire love Edward and her werewolf friend Jacob, the challenges its action-heavy third act presented, and how she feels about life after Dexter and Twilight.
(Melissa Rosenberg will discuss her career and field questions on writing for film and TV at the Writers Guild Foundation’s Writers on Writing event on Tuesday, July 13. Go to WGFoundation.org, for tickets.)
You’ve said you thought this current film, Eclipse, would be easy at first. Was that partially because you knew Breaking Dawn, your two-part adaptation of the final films of the Twilight series, was coming?
That was actually from the outset, separate from Breaking Dawn. Looking at the first three books, it seemed like it would be easier just because it had all this action. Of course, that was wrong. Thinking anything in writing is going to be easy is always…
Always a mistake. It is never easy. Writing is hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would do it, right?
True. So Eclipse has a lot of action, but it’s mainly in the third act.
Tell me what you had to do with those first two acts to lead up to that big conflict.
It was about taking that threat and building on it to the third act conflict. The entire book is from Bella’s point of view, so anything that happens in the book, she hears about after the fact, [when] she’s not actually present. With the script, I don’t have that restriction. I could actually go away from her point of view occasionally, so I was able to build a few of those scenes that she hears about after the fact and invent a few to help build to this conflict, which, hopefully, helps to keep that sense of threat impending and growing throughout [the first two acts].
This Twilight phenomenon has happened really fast, but it’s also been, what, three and half years now that you’ve been ensconced in this?
Yeah. It was about two months before the strike.
In all that time, has your process for breaking down these books remained the same?
I’ve used the same system that I’ve had from the beginning. The only thing that’s changed a little is that I’ve involved Stephenie Meyer a little more in my process. I’ve used her as a resource more and more as I’ve gone along… and our relationship has developed over that time.
You must start to feel some sense of ownership as an author, too…
I’ve certainly become very invested, but I give all props to Stephenie. I would not have the career I now have without her, so I take nothing from that, certainly.
Of course. And going back for a minute, can you encapsulate what your process has been for these breaking these books?
The first thing I do is read the book and sit back and let what comes to mind pop. What I’m looking for there is structure; what emerges as the mid-point, what the arcs of the characters are and how best to structure them. I let the scenes wash over me to decide what the big moments are.
Then I start building from there. The way I do that is to put into a very abbreviated few pages what the key scenes in the book are, chapter by chapter. Once I have my structure of what the basic acts are, I start filling in the muscle and sinew.
Did Eclipse take comparatively less or more time than the others?
Well, to some extent, it’s [been a matter of] how much time I have. I did have a little bit more time with Eclipse. With Twilight, we were fighting the strike deadline, so I slammed that one out. With New Moon I had more time, but I was juggling Dexter at the same time.
How fast did you do Twilight?
I think I outlined for about a month, while simultaneously working on Dexter, and then it was five weeks to write the script.
And then with New Moon you had…?
New Moon was over the course of about six months, but you gotta understand, that was two days a week.
Right, because you were doing Dexter…
So it was two days a week times six months.
No one’s sayin’ you’re a slacker here, believe me.
And then Eclipse was done when Dexter was on hiatus… I did rewrites when it came back.
So for this one you were luxuriating in time, relatively speaking?
Yeah, although I had to take a few months off to just regenerate a little.
Did it actually make it harder, having the luxury of a little time and being able to focus on just the one script, not being completely under the gun?
Well, I was still under the gun with Eclipse because I knew Dexter was coming back, and I had to get it done. But with Breaking Dawn now, I have that for the first time. I left Dexter. I had to knowing that Breaking Dawn was probably going to be two movies. I can do one Twilight and Dexter, but I couldn’t do two.
So I very sadly left Dexter, because that show was my favorite television experience to date, and I’ve had many.
But it’s true that, when I don’t have time pressures, I don’t use my time as wisely. It’s a so much nicer way to write, and it allows me time for creative contemplation, which is great, but sometimes I find myself just kind of surfing the Web, and I’m like, “Wow, three hours just passed.”
On the one hand, perhaps I’m coming up with more ideas because I have time. Maybe the work is better. Then again, maybe it’s not because I’m not as disciplined.
And looking ahead to Breaking Dawn, where are you with it now?
Deep in the center [laughs].
Now that you’re in the midst of this final couplet of films and the end is in sight, what are your feelings contemplating this being done?
Well, it’s interesting. For the past four years I’ve been writing Dexter and one Twilight or another. Both projects have been amazing experiences, the best of my career. I know both of these worlds really well, I know the characters’ voices, [and] I’m comfortable living in their worlds. That has been hard-won. I’ve spent many, many years trying to find a home, and then I found two.
So that’s hard to leave. It’s a nice feeling; confidence is a nice feeling. And yet I’m excited to see what’s next – nervous about it, but very excited to see what I can do next.
Twilight Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg Shares Her Vision For Breaking Dawn and Just How Gory It Will Be!
– From PopSugar
Now that Eclipse has hit theaters and broken box office records, Twilight fans are already anxiously awaiting the next onscreen chapter in Bella and Edward’s love story: Breaking Dawn. We talked exclusively to Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter behind all of the Twilight films, to find out what we can expect from the final two installments. She weighed in on whether or not Bella’s childbirth scene will make it to the screen, shared her most surprising fan moment, and dished on her creative relationship with Stephenie Meyer.
PopSugar: How did you feel about the decision to split Breaking Dawn into two movies?
Melissa Rosenberg : Relief, actually, because it was going to be quite a challenge to condense such a large book into one movie. That’s always the challenge with all of these and, more so, Breaking Dawn. Having a little more room to breathe is nice . . . on the other hand, there’s also the challenge of making sure there’s enough to fill two movies.
PS: We’ve heard there are some scenes you want to avoid showing on screen in Breaking Dawn. For example, Bella giving birth. Can you tell us why?
MR : That was a misquote. The childbirth — all the scenes, I feel — should be on screen. I think perhaps what I was referring to was, would we actually see Edward’s teeth through the placenta? I don’t think so. I don’t think we need to see that, and if someone needs to see that, I think they should take a look at that. [Laughs.] I believe it will be implied, but I don’t think we’ll see teeth in the placenta.
While Eclipse continues to shatter box office records, we recently chatted with the woman behind the film, Melissa Rosenberg.
Beyond praising Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart‘s “rare and enticing chemistry,” the screenwriter of all the Twilight flicks couldn’t have been more complimentary of Rob. Especially how he handled the changes David Slade brought with him the third time around.
Here’s what Rosenberg had to say about Pattinson and Slade’s dynamic, as well as what “way hot” rating she foresees for Breaking Dawn—thanks to that certain sex scene:
Congrats again! Eclipse was our favorite movie out of the three.
“Oh great, I’m glad! I think it may be mine, too.”
Some fans were worried initially when David Slade signed on that the film would be too dark. What was your impression when you first met David?
“We were so in sync, and that’s not just a line. We really were. He speaks in a visual language. It was a great collaboration because he would bring storyboards, act out scenes in terms of how he saw them and I was able to translate that onto the page. By the time he got on set what was on the page was what he wanted to shoot and was what got shot. There wasn’t a lot of inventing going on past that.”
Rob said recently he was very challenged by Slade in playing the role of Edward this time around, and that it felt like a new character. What was the dynamic between Rob and David like?
“You know, David has talked about how Edward has to go from having just gotten Bella back to literally ripping someone’s throat out at the end [of Eclipse]. It’s a hard journey to get to for a character. So I know David worked with Rob in terms of bringing out that dark aspect of him, and we worked together on the script to make sure that was in there.”
Change can be unnerving for an actor, so was Pattinson onboard to bring this new character out? Or did he prefer the Edward in Twilight and New Moon?
“Oh sure. Rob is a courageous actor. He wants something to chew on, as it were! He wanted something meaty to really be able to act.”
At a press conference to promote the upcoming release of the film, director David Slade, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and producer Wyck Godfrey talked about exploring the characters and the mythology more deeply in Eclipse. As the one responsible for writing the adaptations, Melissa Rosenberg also gave some insight as to what fans can expect from a two-part Breaking Dawn.
Q: David, what did you do to prepare for Eclipse? How did you bring your own style to the film?
David: There’s a cinematic vocabulary to each of these films, and it doesn’t come from that much premeditation. It comes from seeing the film in my head before we go out and make it, and being very clear about that and planning it, and then it’s about what’s right for the scene and the character. I believe the most interesting thing to look at, in the world, is the human face. That is why I tend to be a little closer to human faces than maybe other directors will be.
Wyck: When David was first talking to us about the movie, he had said that, by letting the background fall out of focus and really focus on the characters, in the dangerous scenes, it creates a heightened sense of anxiety. You feel like you don’t really know what’s back there. And, in the romantic scenes, it creates an incredible sense of intimacy. You really feel like you sense these two people in that world. And, I really think that was effective.
David: With close-ups come selective focus, and it is to focus the viewer and point them in a direction. In a sense, you get a close-up, which has very little amount of focus in it, but you’ll see medium shots and wider shots that will bring the audience’s attention to a specific place that is completely intentional.
Q: Why should someone go see Eclipse?
David: If there’s nothing worth seeing on TV, and you’ve not got any plans, I think we’ve got six or seven decapitations. If there’s nothing much going on that night, it’s a good night out, as long as there’s nothing else on, or any other movies you want to see. No. Being serious, I think it’s the most mature book, and I think we made the most mature film. Certainly, there’s a great deal of romance in the film, but there’s also other things. Vengeance is a very big theme in the film. Our action sequences are built out of character, so they’re not just events. They’re built out of a need to get to a place. And, I think it’s a film for everyone.
Q: David, you were working with a ready-made cast for Eclipse. How did you help establish what would be expected of their characters for this film?
David: What I did was see each one of the actors, individually. We had one-on-one meetings. The first time, I would just listen to everything they told me about their characters and everything they thought about their characters. Then, we’d meet again and talk about the script, also one-on-one. Then, we’d meet a third time and a fourth time. By that time, we were talking about all the ideas that we were incorporating into that character and story. And then, the final stage was to go into an ensemble rehearsal, where all the actors came together, and we didn’t talk about character anymore. We talked about content and story. That was how I chose to go about it.
Q: Melissa, how difficult was it to adapt this novel into a two-hour movie?
Melissa: To begin with, it took me by surprise because I actually thought this would be the easiest adaptation, since there’s so much conflict in it, and you have this huge battle that you’re building toward. But then, once I got into it and was actually breaking the story, I realized that all of that happened in the third act. So then, it was about looking at what was going on in the first two acts, other than conversation, leading up to the third act. What I found was that, in a movie, we can cut away to another perspective, but in the book, it’s all Bella’s perspective. So, it actually ended up being the most fun to write, in the end, after I got over the incredible disappointment that it wasn’t going to be easy, as if anything ever is.
Q: David, were there any expectations for you to maintain the style and tone of the first two films?
David: You know, I think the only thing that really was expressed to me was continuity. Different films are expected when there are different directors per film with different visions for the film. I was given a great deal of freedom, in terms of the aesthetics. I inherited the sets, but I went into the kitchen set and we made it bigger, and we went into Bella’s room and made it four feet wider because I was going to shoot with a different lens than the way they shot before. So, the answer is that I was given freedom, only just to respect what had come before. There were no mandates.
Wyck: I think, if anything, one of the chief reasons we hired David was for his visual style, and that it was different from the first two films. He had really worked with young actresses and gotten performances out of them that were incredible, and we felt he understood them. Something we’ve always wanted was for each director to bring his own individual style.
David: I tried not to focus too much on the other two films. I tried to just keep this one in my mind, and people like Wyck were there to give me a nudge, if I was doing something that was going to invalidate something or cross a line, which hardly ever happened, really.
Wyck: Every now and then, he’d have Edward walk through the sunlight and we’d be like, “Oh, wait, he has to sparkle.”
David: Let me tell you, the sunlight was our biggest enemy in Vancouver. We had the sunniest time. Every day, we’d spend more time in the sun than we did in the rain.
Wyck: No one likes to hear that you’re not shooting because it’s sunny.
David: It would have been perfect for any other movie.
Q: Can you talk about the decision to replace Rachelle Lefevre with Bryce Dallas Howard?
Wyck: It all happened really quickly. Rachelle became unavailable three weeks into shooting, and we had to react very quickly. Bryce was somebody that early on, even from Twilight, had been on a list and was unavailable. We were up against it and had to pick quickly, and were really fortunate that we sent Bryce the script immediately and she decided she wanted to do it. So, the process of replacing Rachelle and finding the right actress was actually smooth because Bryce was the first person we went to and she said yes.
David: One of the slight misconceptions about these films is that they’re these giant, huge-budget blockbusters. These films are made more like independent films, so our schedule is so tight. We shot this film in about 50 days. Most action movies are shot in double or triple that. We had a schedule that had been put together like a jigsaw puzzle, so we basically had no other choice.
Q: Melissa, do you get intimidated having Stephenie Meyer so involved?
Melissa: Regarding Stephenie, I’m really grateful she’s able to spend the kind of time on set that she does. She and I are the people on the page and we see things in a way that I hope is valuable to the director and the producers.
Q: Are you on the set during shooting?
Melissa: Because I’ve been juggling Dexter and Twilight for all this time, and have gone right from one Twilight to the next, I’ve been unavailable to be on set and, frankly, I don’t know if I could have been much use. If David needed a rewrite, I’d get a phone call.
Wyck: Also, Melissa and Stephanie work so closely together in the outlining and script stage that, by the time we’re shooting, there aren’t really any surprises. And, if anything comes up, Stephenie can answer questions that we have that aren’t in her books, like, “Would that character ever do this?,” and she’s like, “No, that character was born in 1702.” She rattles it off and it really just fills out the screenplay.
David: She has all of these backstories for everybody. I remember Melissa and I getting on the phone with her about Riley and the cave because we had no idea, and we said, “What is all this?” And, Stephenie was like, “Well, it’s obvious. This is how it happens.” We wouldn’t have known, but she knew because she’d written the story in her head.
Q: What is the most important aspect of the adaptation process?
David: I think sticking to the emotional character arc was the most important thing, yet we had so much story to tell and it was a great story. I think the hardest thing was combining those things and figuring out what the hell we were going to cut. The Jasper story is a movie in itself, and we wanted to have all the salient points, but not detract from the main story, and still pay respect to the source material. It’s the dichotomy between such great content and story, and how you shave off.
Wyck: The genius of Melissa Rosenberg is that she’s able to distill a book down to its essential qualities. In each movie, she’s done an amazing job of that. And, Stephenie can go, “I really think you’re going to miss this, if we don’t have it.” It’s a back and forth of figuring out how to accommodate some of those scenes. We’ve been able to distill the film down to its emotional essentials.
David: I hate to use the word dichotomy twice, between this film and the last, in terms of vampires, but what was so attractive to me about the Twilight films, after doing the horrific film I’d done before (30 Days of Night), is what Stephenie had done was so cleverly package all that is so dangerous and sexy into this purity, and then surrounded it with family and make it acceptable.
Q: How was it to do the Jasper and Rosalie flashbacks?
David: They were great fun to do. Eclipse has these great backstories. It was great to do a Western, a ‘30s period piece, a 1600’s historical piece and a contemporary film, all at once.
Wyck: It was also great to see Rosalie and Jasper as human.
David: One of the horse-riding sequences had to be shot with a second unit because I wasn’t available, and I was like, “How do we get his face here?” People had to know he was human because the rest of it was going to be nighttime and I wanted people to see Jasper’s face as human. It was important.
Q: David, what were the specific changes you wanted to make, going into the film?
David: With Edward, I really wanted to make sure this character was dangerous. In the last movie, he had played a different character arc, but in this movie, I wanted to bring out the carnivore in him. That had to come throughout the film, and he hadn’t really done that so much. That was the main thing. I tried to look at every scene, with that in mind. Underlying everything is danger. That was the intention.
Q: Do you have any special features or extras planned for the DVD?
Wyck: There’s the nude scene we shot that wasn’t in the book. No. I don’t know. With any film, you go through the process of editing it down to its fighting weight and, ultimately, you’re going to have some scenes that didn’t end up in the movie.
David: There were a number of scenes which just felt excessive, in terms of beating the same story, but some of them were really nice.
Wyck: There was a great scene with Angela (Christian Serratos) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) that is really just two girls talking about guy troubles. It’s really, really sweet, but it took place in a section of the movie that we really had to cut.
David: What happens is that the film has its own momentum from the script. When you start going, by the time you hit the third act, you’re just blasting along, and that scene just came to a stop. But, it’s a beautiful scene that’s beautifully performed, and it’ll be a nice little bonus for fans of the book.
Wyck: I think there’s going to be a lot of classic behind-the-scenes stuff, where you’re going to get to see how we did most of the action and stunts in the movie, and a lot of the CG process. That stuff will flesh out the experience for audiences that do like to go behind the camera and see how it’s all done.
Melissa: It’s interesting, when I did the first Twilight movie, I actually wrote it before it was cast. I was writing in a vacuum, and it actually had a lot of humor in it. And then, we realized, as we got it on actors, that it just wasn’t appropriate. But, now the actors are more comfortable with it and I think the story lends itself to that. Wyck actually came up with the best line in the movie, “Does he own a shirt?” There’s a confidence level in the storytelling now.
Wyck: There’s a comfort level that people have with each other. When you first meet someone, sometimes you’re less able to go to the comedic place than you are when you’ve known each other for a while. And, as an audience member, you want to experience the progression of the characters, as well as appreciate when they are starting to be easier with each other and more casual in the face of heightened drama, which Eclipse certainly has.
David: You look at the performances before, and you look at someone like Billy Burke, and Billy can improvise. Everyone else can tell me what they want to change and we can talk about it, but Billy just has natural comic timing. All those expressions he has, you have to capitalize on that.
Q: Melissa, how is Dexter going?
Melissa: I finally had to leave, after the fourth season, because I couldn’t do Breaking Dawn and Dexter, at the same time. It was very sad to do that. It was the best TV experience of my career.
Q: Are you not still on as a producer, in some capacity?
Melissa: No, I had to bail out, and they were gracious enough to let me out. Someone else is running the show.
Q: What do you think of them bringing Julie Benz back for one scene, even though Rita is dead?
Melissa: Oh, it must be a flashback, or something like that. I have no idea.
Q: Do you miss it?
Melissa: I already do miss it. All my friends were going back into the writer’s room in February, and I was home working on Breaking Dawn, going, “Aww.”
Q: Did that give you empathy for Stephenie, seeing your characters get passed on to someone else?
Melissa: Absolutely! But, coming up in television, when you’re a staff writer, you have the experience of people taking your material and rewriting it. There’s not a writer alive who feels like their own draft isn’t better.
Q: What will be the biggest challenge of splitting the movies for Breaking Dawn?
Melissa: They’re very dense with mythology. There are a lot of characters and a lot of detail, and it’s just really about who you choose to pull forward. It was a lot of the same stuff that I had to do with Twilight.
Q: Are there more backstories to come?
Melissa: There are more backstories to come, and there is an expansion of the mythology. All these different characters are being introduced, and Stephenie has developed a really intricate mythology that is very detailed, which is why it’s so much fun to play in her world.
Q: Some people have said that Breaking Dawn is unfilmable and not as good a book as the others. How do you approach it to make it work?
Melissa: I believe it is filmable and I believe there is a great story to be told in that. It was a very bold move, what Stephenie did and where she took her characters. She had them grow up, get married and have children, and had Bella realize ultimate potential of becoming a vampire. It was a very bold move. I think it lost some of the audience who wanted to continue the fantasies and the desire. Now, she’s got it all, so what do you do with it? It’s a very different kind of movie and a different kind of story. There’s definitely material enough for two movies, but for the first time, there is also a little breathing room. There’s room to explore a little bit and to expand. I’m excited about that.
Q: What do you think is the appeal of this series?
Melissa: I think it taps in so deeply to desire. First of all, you’re coming in from Bella’s point of view, who is the every girl. We can identify with her. She’s the every person. And then, you make her the most desirable human being on the face of the earth, and there’s a vicarious excitement to that. There’s a fantasy element to it. And, we all have had those experiences in our lives of that first love. That’s certainly attractive.
Q: With the wealth of backstory and appetite for more Twilight, would you see doing movies on Alice or any of the other characters, with Stephenie’s approval?
Melissa: I think she’s going to do that. I would look at anything she wrote. If this series is going to expand, it will be by her doing.
Q: Will it always be book first?
Melissa: I would think it would be. I haven’t even thought of it, but I would think it would have to be book first.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens on June 30th.