By Christina Radish
To kick off their appearance at the massive 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner – the three lead stars of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” – took questions from members of the press and spoke about what fans can expect from the eagerly anticipated next installment.
Clearly one of the biggest attractions at the Con, the fans’ passion was evidenced by the thousands who camped out (some from as early as Tuesday, when the panel didn’t take place until Thursday afternoon), waiting to catch just a glimpse of the actors bringing their favorite book characters to life on the big screen. Admittedly overwhelmed by the unexpected reaction they received last year, the more-prepared actors expressed their appreciation and shared some insight into “New Moon,” due out in theaters on November 20, 2009.
Q: How does it feel for all three of you to be back at Comic-Con this year?
Taylor: It’s good. It’s exciting. I think last year Comic-Con was the big eye opener for us, so it’s awesome to be back and embrace all of our fans again, for everything they’ve done this past year.
Q: Rob, in the book, even though you leave Bella, you’re very much an integral part of her thoughts, which must be a challenge to represent onscreen. How did you and director Chris Weitz accomplish that?
Robert: Well, it’s through a process. It’s just a voice. Edward’s just a voice in the book, and so I guess it would look pretty cheesy if it were just my voice, so they’ve done these hallucinations, that are these semi-visible apparitions.
Kristen: It’s suggestive. It’s how she remembers him, not necessarily how he actually is.
Q: Taylor, can you talk about Jacob’s transformation in this movie, and your personal transformation that you had to go through to play the role?
Taylor: Yeah. When I was filming Twilight, I knew that Jacob’s character changed a lot, so if I wanted to continue portraying him correctly, I had a lot of work ahead of myself. So, as soon as I finished filming Twilight, I started hitting the gym. I got a personal trainer. I started eating a lot of food, which good food, of course, like proteins and good carbs, and cut the sugars. It was a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it.
Q: Kristen, in the “Twilight” series, Bella’s story arc really starts to develop in “New Moon” and she becomes an active protagonist. Was it more difficult to prepare for the role, this time around, or vice versa?
Kristen: I wouldn’t say that one was more difficult than the other. This is a severely emotional movie. That’s the one big difference. This movie is not about discovery or falling in love, which is just an intense emotion, but this is low, and there high points for her, too. She’s a manic depressive, basically. To have a character be able to pull her out of that is a hefty feat, which I think we pulled off. But, for me, there was no difference. It was just heavier and it was more to think about. It’s a more mature part, strictly because she’s older and she has more to deal with.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about how your lives have changed since we saw you here last summer?
Robert: I don’t know. I’d like to think that I haven’t changed that much. Within myself, I don’t think I’ve changed. I think I look down a lot more now. It’s kind of extraordinary. I don’t think that any of us expected any of this to happen, and especially that the magnitude of this franchise seems to keep building and building. Comic-Con really was the eye opener, and it’s just gotten bigger and bigger. It’s an interesting thing to deal with.
Taylor: Another thing that’s changed for me is that my schedule has gotten really, really busy, doing publicity and working on other things. It’s crazy. None of us saw it coming and, since last year, it’s definitely been a ride, for all of us.
Kristen: I cut my hair off.
Q: What would say have been the highs and the lows of this whole experience?
Kristen: Well, this is definitely a high. There’s only been a couple of images from the movie that have been released, and they’ve all been received really well, so I’m really excited for people to see some of it. It’s a little overwhelming to have so many people here, but I guess that’s good.
Taylor: It’s awesome because this is our opportunity to come out and thank our fans for everything that they’ve done for us and for Twilight. We get to embrace them again. We’re so thankful for them. So, it’s awesome that we get to see them all waiting for us, again, a year later with the same, if not definitely more passion and dedication. It’s really exciting. I’m a little nervous, but it’s good.
Robert: I don’t know. I think it’s still so young, to me, anyway. I can’t claim anything to be a low. I pretty live an almost identical life, apart from being recognized. That’s not exactly the worst thing in the world.
Q: With all the attention and all the paparazzi following you, how do you manage to get anything normal done in your everyday life?
Robert: I never do anything normal, anyway. I just get other people to do it now.
Q: How does this massive embracing of Team Edward and Team Jacob plays into your performances?
Taylor: I think that everything is kind of crazy about this franchise. That’s why we love it so much, and that’s why the fans do as well. But, yeah, there are definitely a lot of fans who are on the two separate teams. Sometimes, it gets me a little nervous because I’m trying to live up to the fans’ expectations and represent Team Jacob, in the right way. I don’t want to disappoint them, so that’s why I worked so hard, not only mentally and emotionally, but physically as well because this guy is some pretty good competition. I’ve done a lot of hard work
Q: How did you guys address that fact that Rob’s not in this film as much as “Twilight,” which might be disappointing to fans?
Kristen: He’s in it a lot.
Robert: They won’t be disappointed either. If he doesn’t go, you can’t miss him, and that’s what this whole movie is about. It’s that empty, completely dark place where Edward is absent.
Taylor: If he was absent, they would miss him very deeply.
Q: Rob, with the experience of working with a new director and a new vibe on set, how has it been, this time around?
Robert: It wasn’t just the director that made this one different. It was so different as well because we kind of knew what type of animal that we were dealing. I was much more of a supporting role, in this one. I started three weeks after they started shooting and I did a lot of my first scenes doing the apparition scenes. That was a lot of me doing, maybe, one word. It was actually one of the most relaxing jobs that I’ve ever done. Chris has a really peaceful presence and I got on really well with him. I pretty much had a stress-free job, for three months. It was great for me. All the pressure was on Taylor.
Q: Taylor, when you saw the trailer for the first time and watched yourself morph, what went through your mind?
Taylor: I thought that they did a pretty good job with the wolf transformation. I’m excited that there are werewolves involved now because the werewolves definitely step up the action in the movie. There is double the action in this movie than there was before and there’s also a different dynamic. Now, it’s not just this romance between a human girl and a vampire, but it’s the beginning of a love triangle, so that’s exciting.
Q: How much of the final film have you guys seen, and what was your feeling after seeing what you’ve seen so far?
Taylor: We’ve seen just about as much as the fans have seen.
Q: Are you anxious to see the final movie then?
Kristen: I think it’s a different kind of anxious, but yeah, definitely.
Robert: Aesthetically, it looks very different. The script was very different. It’s a completely different mood. So, I’m really interested to see how it works out.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene from this film, that stands out as your favorite one to shoot?
Kristen: Taylor’s favorite scene before we shot the movie didn’t turn out to be his favorite.
Taylor: I have a lot of favorite scenes, so that’s a really difficult question for me. I like a lot of the cool action scenes I get to do because I just had a lot of fun with those. My original favorite scene was a really small scene that I just thought was kind of cute. It was the scene where I walk her up to Bella’s door and say goodbye to her. I’m going off to fight in the woods and she’s worried. She’s scared for me. I thought that it was kind of cute, but I also like the break-up scene.
Kristen: Yeah, that’s my favorite scene in the movie. We call it a break-up scene because he basically tells her that they can’t be friends anymore and he’s transforming. If Taylor ever, ever treated me like that, it would kill me.
Taylor: It was also painful to shoot because it was 35 degrees and we had rain poured on us. It was rain tower rain, which is straight from the spring and it was freezing. It was bad.
Robert: I think my break-up scene was my favorite scene. Hopefully, it’ll come off as having quite a few more levels than the relationship in “Twilight.” It was interesting. It was a five page long dialogue scene. That didn’t happen at all, in the first one, and it’s quite an interesting little moment. It completely bypasses all the supernatural elements of the story as well.
Q: Why do you think people embrace these stories? Is it the themes, the characters, the subject, the darkness, the romance?
Kristen: I don’t know. That’s the most common question and we get that all the time.
Taylor: I think a lot of the characters are relatable, and there are so many different ones. People can relate to different characters and their experiences.
Kristen: It’s just like any movie. You could say that about anything. You relate to the characters. I always say that it’s because it’s first person narrative and you’re so very much inside of Bella’s head that it’s closer to home. You feel like it’s not happening to someone else. You feel like it’s sort of happening to you.
Q: Rob, can you talk about why teenagers love vampires?
Robert: I think we’re the worst people to ask about it. The problem is that, when I looked at it, I never looked at it as a vampire story, right from the beginning. When I try to play it, I try to eliminate the vampire element, as much as I can, and just see it as a tool to make their relationship a little more fraught. Right after the audition, I found myself bizarrely invested in the story and I hadn’t even read the books, at that point. I’ve gotten more and more attached to it. I’ve been talking about the script for “Eclipse” to people, over the last few weeks, and I find myself getting very argumentative, which I’m not usually. They definitely have some kind of power.
Q: Which of the novels resonates the most for you, as a reader or as an actor, and which are you most enthused about working in?
Taylor: My favorite book was actually “Eclipse.” I’m pretty excited that. It’s gotten action. The action levels continue to build, in this series. Also, “Twilight” sets up the romance between Bella and Edward, and then Bella and Jacob’s friendship grows in “New Moon.” But, in “Eclipse,” it’s actually the three of them physically together, and we have to team up and make this decision to try and be friends to protect Bella. I think the love triangle in “Eclipse” is the ultimate high point of the series, so I’m excited to get going.
Kristen: I liked “New Moon”, just in terms of how far I can push myself within the series. I feel like, after “New Moon,” it’s smooth sailing for Bella. She’s very, very solid, content and happy. But, in the second one, she’s nothing. She’s literally just lost. I got to find her again.
Robert: I think that “New Moon” was my favorite book as well, mainly because I like the juxtaposition. Edward is such a hyped character, and there are so many people looking at him like a romantic hero. In “New Moon,” the way that I read it anyway, he’s just so humbled. It’s a character who’s looking at Bella and thinking that he loves something too much, but he can’t be around. He deliberately starts breaking up their relationship, which I think is a very relatable thing that is very painful. And, in the fight sequence at the end, Bella ends up saving Edward, as she does in every single one of the books. It’s really funny how everyone looks at Edward as the hero, and he’s continuously saved by the damsel in distress. I think he really realizes that in “New Moon.” “Eclipse” is really him trying to catch up with Jacob because he’s so out of the loop and he can’t speak in superlatives anymore. He’s accepted being alive and he needs to catch up to Jacob. So, I always liked “New Moon.”
Q: What is the one “Twilight” question that you never want to answer again?
Robert (Joking): What’s it like kissing Taylor Lautner.
Taylor: To growl. Fans actually ask me to growl for them, and I really don’t enjoy doing that. So, please don’t ask me to growl. Just wait for the movie.
Kristen: You can ask me anything you want.
Q: Rob, did you read “Midnight Sun” to help you understand Edward’s perspective?
Robert: Yes, but that was more in relation to “Twilight.” It was, literally, what the entire storyline was in “Twilight,” just from Edward’s perspective. I didn’t really look too much at that for “New Moon” because, for whatever reason, I could connect a lot more to “New Moon” than I could to “Twilight.”
Q: Will there be any musical contributions from you in “New Moon”?
Photos courtesy Christina Radish.