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Twilight - Catherine Hardwicke interview

Twilight

Interview by Rob Carnevale

CATHERINE Hardwicke talks about directing vampire romance Twilight, living up to expectation, shooting on location and liasing with author Stephenie Meyer at certain points during the production…

Q. How did you go about coping with the pressure that came with adapting a book that was so popular?
Catherine Hardwicke: When I read the book and when I read all the stuff that the fans had written on the internet I wanted to see if I could bring that crazy, giddy feeling to the screen.

Q. What appealed about Kristen Stewart?
Catherine Hardwicke: I fell in love with Kristen when I saw her in [Sean Penn’s] Into The Wild, sitting on that bed in the trailer [talking to Emile Hirsch]. I just felt her desire and thought she’d be kind of a perfect Bella. So, we got together and did a bunch of scenes and there was never any doubt.

Q. When you have two leads where chemistry is so critical, do you cast them together?
Catherine Hardwicke: Well, I think you have to find the right people otherwise the whole movie wouldn’t work. But I cast Kristen first as Bella and then the search was on for the perfect Edward. We were really, really desperate… all these cute guys would walk in the room but they would look like the cute guy you’d see at your high school, or next door neighbour. There’s something about Robert [Pattinson], among his many other talents, is that he had something other-worldly that he brought. The first scene that they did together was the kissing scene on my bed and that’s when we started to feel the magic happening.

Q. Another big part is keeping the tension high enough so that audiences keep wondering whether they’ll get together?
Catherine Hardwicke: Well, I think the most critical thing for me in creating that tension was actually finding the right two people to begin with. From the very first moment they meet, you have to feel that there’s something going on… a fascination, or a magnetic pull, or something that would translate to the screen. It was quite difficult to achieve and it’s a big testament to Robert and Kristen that they did.

Q. The elements play a key part in creating the look of the film. How hard was that to achieve? Unless it’s like that all year round in the locations you chose?
Catherine Hardwicke: No, we’d look online and find charts that would say it’ll be cloudy for 26 days once we got there. So, we’d figure that was a pretty good average to achieve what we wanted. But then we’d get there it might be cloudy for an hour, and then it might hale, and then it could snow, and then it might rain and then there’d be sleet… and that might be within four hours! So, some of our scenes we’d start off in the parking lot, and then the sun would come out, so we’d switch over to do another scene. It was just wild trying to keep it all together because we needed the clouds. We did have a famous cloud prayer [laughs] but it was so important to get that atmosphere.

Q. Did Stephenie Meyer have much to do with the process?
Catherine Harwicke: Yes, she did. For me it was important that she did love it. This was her baby, it came out of her brain, so when we finished the screenplay we showed it to Stephenie and hoped she wouldn’t freak out about it. But she was extremely supportive and very excited and she came out while we were filming and did a cameo in it. She also came into the editing room and saw the final cut and gave us notes.

Q. There’s very much an element of sexual abstinence… it’s more about the anticipation. How essential was that?
Catherine Hardwicke: I think that sense of anticipation is more exciting. I also get the sense that foreplay might be more exciting for some people.

Q. Given the anticipation surrounding the film in America, did you have to employ any subterfuge while filming to prevent people from finding you?
Catherine Hardwicke: Well, we tried but the fans would always find you. We tried to use fake names sometimes. We were called Transit at one point.

Read our review of Twilight