Bill Condon Talks About Kristen and Breaking Dawn

Q: You are obviously a very experienced director, and the cast goes from everyone like first timers, to people like Kristen and Michael Shen that have been in dozens of films. Is there anything that any of the actors specifically taught you and that you came away with thinking that you didn’t have that information or that knowledge before?

: Oh, God yes, totally. And you know I’m experienced but still, I’ve been on one half of the sets that Kristen’s been on, or maybe a third, you know what I mean? And don’t even think about Michael Sheen so yeah, I mean you’re always learning on movies, absolutely. But specifically here obviously these actors all know their characters so well, but you take somebody like Kristen, she’s going to be directing movies before long. She just knows everything about the process – everything. And she just knows “Oh my God, I should lift my eyes up just a quarter of an inch next time” and things like that. She’s an amazing collaborator where it’s like, and if you explain “Ok this feels a little unnatural but it’s worth it to do” I get it. But we would do a lot of sitting around talking about the script for weeks. And she would get ideas, I’m not saying only her, but she would a lot, and “Oh, that’s a great idea”. So yeah, all the time.

Q: Actors are often asked about scenes that are emotionally draining. Do you feel that there were certain scenes as a director that you get emotionally drawn into? What scenes in particular in Breaking Dawn that it wasn’t easy to let go of those emotions?

: Well you have to because you’re on to the next one either an hour later, or the next day, but man, absolutely, there were all these things along the way that you just have an adrenaline rush when you finally get there and get through it because so many things could go wrong. Like the childbirth, I keep going back to it, but that was unbelievably intense. Taylor, his heart is pouring out of him, but Rob, you see this where he’s trying to bring her back to life and the anguish of it and the panic of it all, and then Kristen just giving it all. In the way that you’ll see, all the effort of giving birth but she is the best dead person I’ve ever seen (everyone laughs) and that’s not easy because there were takes that were a minute long and she never blinked, she never seemed to breathe, I don’t know how she did it but that cold area was very intense. And at the end of the shoot in Louisiana we’d been shooting for four months already, kind of tired and everyone is worn down, all of our defenses were down and it was also one of those things where you get there and you do it, and it lifted everybody up for the rest of the shoot because it just felt like something real had happened. That’s the thing that is great on a set, when you know something real has happened, it’s when thecrew is suddenly incredibly quiet and everyone is paying attention, is sort of like you know it’s happening right in front of you and everyone’s aware of it, you know.

Q: About the honeymoon scene, I noticed of course the humor in that. Why did you guys choose to do it that way and how did that decision come about?

: About being funny when she’s getting ready? It just felt like it was human. It was like, again, making everything as real as possible, and it’s like anybody in that moment when it’s like “Oh my God, it’s about to happen”, it’s one thing it’s gonna happen this night. God, it’s Bella, after all this time. And it’s a vampire, you know? But now is the moment and it’s just about making it as relatable as possible. Like, what do you do? You just try to control it in any way you possibly can. You know, you brush your teeth for the tenth time and do all those things to make yourself think that you’re ready, which of course you can’t do. And then the way we cut it it was just like a lot of jump cuts to make it like she’s sort of this nervous jangly thing. You know the way Kristen goes? (taps fingers impatiently on table, everyone laughs) that was the rythm of it, you know? We matched that with the way we presented it.

Q: One of the questions at the fan panel today was, what was your favorite movie from the saga? How does it feel to have every single cast member say Breaking Dawn?

: Well, first of all, I made a joke by the way when I said Breaking Dawn. And Taylor said that. I think Kristen was careful to say that she loved Twilight. I have great respect for every director that has come before and I think they all did amazing, and amazingly different work. That’s why I was interested in taking it on. Because I can’t think of a series quite like this where it’s the same… I guess you can say Harry Potter, but they seem to stay closer stylistically than these movies have. But you have the source material, and Melissa doing this script, and the cast in common, the movies feel very different. Anyway, I think, if there was someone to say that I do feel like there’s a slightly unfair advantage that I have with this movie is that so much happens. The middle movies were setting things up. And I think when you’re a writer the hardest part is the second act, and those were second act movies.

Rest of the interview with Twilightish via fiercebitchstew

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