Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner at Comic-Con

Despite the mob of “Twilight” fans attempting to give me presents and phone numbers (sorry, Gary, but I don’t think I’ll be calling you) and threatening vampire-themed violence toward fellow Reject, and known Twilight dissident, Rob Hunter, I managed to scrape my way to the second floor of Comic-Con to sit down with Stephenie Meyer, director Catherine Hardwicke, Robert Pattinson and several other casts members for a friendly round table discussion.

By the way, I really appreciate the presents (and the threats of violence toward Rob).

I got to ask Meyer and Hardwicke if they were interested in turning “New Moon” into a movie after Twilight. It’s no surprise that Meyer was interested – especially after saying her experience on Twilight has been so fantastic – but it was also good to hear that Hardwicke was enthusiastic about returning to the director’s spot if the film gets made and if she’s given the chance. Both said they “had their fingers crossed,” but hadn’t heard any official word on whether the studio was planning on it.

Hardwicke has a background with teenagers, directing Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown and Nativity Story. As for portraying teenage romance and sexuality, she hit the ground running with the controversial Thirteen, but she said she found the “Twilight” story fascinating because it’s “so sexy that [Edward and Bella] can’t get together.”

In fact, that’s what she considers, among other things, that sets Twilight apart from other vampire movies. “It’s so hot, sexy,” she said, going on to describe the world Meyer created as a place where every environment seems to spark teenage romance.

I think fans would agree that that’s a strong draw for the novels, and it’s good to see Hardwicke in tune with that sentiment while bringing the story to life on screen. Fans should rest easy – not only does Hardwicke “get” the “Twilight” universe, she’s passionate about it, getting visibly excited to talk about the details of the story and the filming. In fact, after reading the novel, she saw it as a better model for the movie than the original script treatment that got her interested in the project – so they reworked it.

Meyer herself claimed she was “immensely happy” with how Hardwicke and company were treating her work. That’s perhaps the best news of all for fans nervous about whether or not the movie will excite or disappoint. She’s seen about 15 minutes of footage (they’re still working on how to make Edward sparkle in the sun), but so far, she’s uninhibitedly excited about it.

Robert Pattinson, who’s already been part of a massive cultural phenomenon after appearing in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, seemed surprised when the vampire movie role he signed on for turned into something far larger. Citing the parallel timing of growing excitement for the books and the movie, he said he hadn’t planned on being front and center for another huge phenomenon, that it “came out of nowhere, suddenly exploded.”

Rachelle Lefevre, who plays Victoria and is breathtakingly stunning in person, echoed the sentiment by recalling a run in with an enthusiastic fan before any footage or pictures of the cast had been released. She also gave us some insight into playing pure evil by explaining she, and how awesome is this, “watched lion attacks on Youtube,” to prepare a bit for playing a vicious vamp.

In regards to playing Edward, Pattinson went into incredible depth about the nuance of bringing a seemingly nice guy with a lot of “resentfulness and anger” to life. “There’s a lot more pain,” he said, “because [The Cullens] are denying.” He went on to describe them as “pretending not to be vampires” in efforts to “not lose [their] soul.”

I have to admit, after getting a firm handle on Edward through reading the books, Pattinson impressed me with the subtleness of how he approached playing him – realizing that the character is a knight in sun-sparkling armor and a tormented creature that purposefully strives to fight against his own nature.

Pattinson also admitted (and appropriately bragged a bit) that he’s one of only a handful of people that has read Stephenie Meyer’s early drafts for her possible “Twilight” series that will come directly from Edward’s point of view. Whether that project will go through or not remains to be seen, but at this point, Meyer can do no wrong when it comes to publishing, and with a solid showing for Twilight at the box office, she may be on her way to doing-no-wrong on film.

Fans will also be glad to know that Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob Black, is “just like any of those crazy girl fans out there,” when it comes to his enthusiasm for the book series. If that quote seems out of context, it probably, embarassingly is, but the bottom line seems to be that everyone working on the project has read the books, loves the books and wants to bring that world to life in the most accurate way possible. If I can make Taylor look a bit more manly after that quote, he also talked about how fun a challenge playing Jacob for a “New Moon” adaptation would be because of the ferociousness of the character. “Jacob becomes grumpy, fierce, hard to relate to [in 'New Moon'],” he said. He, too, was definitely interested in seeing the sequel become a reality, but for now he’s playing a Jacob who is a lot like Taylor himself – “outgoing and friendly”.

I also got to talk to Edi Gathegi, who plays Laurent. He reassured me and the rest of the roundtable that there’s going to be a lot of action, a lot of wire work, and little to no CGI. One of the cooler things he mentioned was his opportunity to use a machine that moves the actor 15 mph while the actor runs – giving the impression that the person is running at 30mph. The rig was used for the scenes where he was running through the forest, and I’ve decided I need one for my own personal use. Don’t judge me. It would be awesome.

So there you have it – excitement and enthusiasm all around from a cast, director, and creator that seem to all be on the same page about all things Twilight. I might get to sneak onto the main floor and catch some other Twilight news, so stay tuned for more. For now, it looks like rabid Twi-lighters everywhere should be really happy come December 12th.

Oh, and please go easy on fellow Reject Rob Hunter. I’m fairly certain he’s a closet-Twilight fan. Care to deny it, Hunter? Didn’t think so.

Stay tuned all this week as we bring you coverage from Comic-Con International. Not only will we be roaming the floor in search of love, but we will have the latest news Live from Hall H, great interviews with some of Hollywood’s hottest stars and random convention shenanigans, courtesy of our Comic-Con Attack Squad! To keep tabs on all of the happenings, just head over to our Comic-Con 2008 Homepage.


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