“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.”
‘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.”
Vodpod videos no longer available.
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.”