Wednesday, November 23, 2011
LOS ANGELES — In less than a decade, Stephenie Meyer has been transformed from a stay-at-home mom with a vivid dream-fueled idea for a novel to the creator of a full-fledged pop culture phenomenon.
Although her life has been drastically altered since she penned “The Twilight Saga,” Meyer, 37, remains the same storyteller who wrote the first novel in her vampire romance series in just three months after experiencing a particularly lucid dream about human heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her benevolent vampire sweetheart Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)
“I don’t know that it has changed me as a storyteller, but it has given me fodder for it. It’s all just experiences that I’ve never had before, new things and different circumstances,” Meyer said at a recent press conference at the swanky Four Seasons Hotel.
“It’s hard to sum up something that doesn’t feel finished yet. I keep wondering when it will feel like the bow is there. It was a great growing experience. It wasn’t always a comfortable experience. I did learn a lot of it the hard way, but it was good for me in a lot of ways. When you are in your 30s you don’t think you’re going to learn (so much) because you’ve already jumped a lot of hurdles. I have a lot of new ones, but I’ve grown.”
Meyer surprised journalists earlier this month when she turned up at the press day for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1.” It marked her first appearance on the press circuit for the film adaptations since the 2008 interviews for the first installment. In the meantime, the first three movies based on her series — “Twilight,” “New Moon” and “Eclipse” — have bitten off more than $1.8 billion in worldwide grosses.
“I’ve been kind of hiding out for a few years. It’s interesting to be done and not done. We had the final night of shooting, but it keeps going. So with the second part of the movie (‘Breaking Dawn’ still) coming out, it doesn’t feel like an ending yet. … I’m not quite sure how it will be once we get to the end. I know there are a lot of people that I’m just going to miss seeing,” said Meyer, who had just come from Hollywood’s famed Chinese Theatre, where she watched “Twilight” stars Stewart, Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have their hand and footprints immortalized in cement.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” the first half of the two-film finale based on the fourth and last novel in her supernaturally successful book series, opened in theaters Friday, with hordes of fervent fans known as “Twi-hards” flocking to their local cinemas for midnight screenings.
While she collaborated with filmmakers, especially screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, on the first three movie adaptations, Meyer signed on as a producer for “Breaking Dawn,” which was split into two parts but filmed concurrently.
“To take on these beloved books was quite intimidating, and I knew going in, I was going to satisfy half the people and the other half, well, you know, look on any website, and they want me butchered. But my objective always is if Stephenie likes it, if Stephenie believes it and approves of it, that’s my job. Because we’re all just visitors in her universe,” Rosenberg said, sitting with the author during the presser.
“The other thing was really fantastic was to discover … that “Stephenie is really a great collaborator and not precious.” she added. “I would be outlining something and working on something and I would call her or email her and we’d start bouncing around ideas that were not in the book. She was a great, great sounding board for me.”
As a producer on “Breaking Dawn,” the author was frequently on set to hear ideas, field questions and look at footage.
“(Having) Stephenie around was incredible,” said Bill Condon, who directed both “Breaking Dawn” films. “Any question you had about behavior or certainly back story, which any good actor relies on, she was there to help us out.”
Plus, Condon convinced the writer to make a cameo in one of the key scenes of “Breaking Dawn — Part 1”: When Bella and Edward get married, to the dismay of her werewolf best friend Jacob Black (Lautner). Filming the long-awaited nuptials was an emotional experience, but Meyer was prepared for the influx of feelings after becoming overwhelmed at Stewart’s dress fitting.
“Being at the wedding, it was cold, actually, and I did not want to be on camera. But Bill was like, ‘Oh come on, it’ll be great.’ He talked me into it and … it was fantastic to have the whole group there,” she said. “When Kristen actually came down the aisle the first time — and there were many times she came down the aisle that day — she looked at me for a minute and there was this look of, ‘It’s happening.’ It was like it was her wedding. It was very weird, but it was awesome.”
Academy Award-nominated writer-director Andrew Niccol is adapting Meyer’s lone non-“Twilight” title, “The Host,” into a movie starring Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan.
But the author is often asked if she plans to continue her “Twilight” saga, which will come to a close with the Nov. 16, 2012, theatrical debut of “Breaking Dawn — Part 2.”
“There was a time when I thought I would never stop writing about vampires. There are pieces of their stories written in my computer,” she said. “I’m not going to say no. Right now I don’t have much drive towards vampires; there is so much else going on. And sometimes you want to get to a new world. But the characters will always be alive for me, so who knows?”