THE CAST CONTINUES TO GROW
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse sees the return of the major cast established in Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, plus along with director David Slade, several new actors and characters join the Twilight family.
Slade worked intensely with Jackson Rathbone and Nikki Reed exploring the past of their characters. "With the back stories in Eclipse, you actually get to do a 1930's movie, you get to do a Western, and you get to go back into the 1700's and 1800's…. plus this big contemporary movie."
New cast members include vampires Bryce Dallas Howard as Victoria, Xavier Samuel as Riley, and Jodelle Ferland as Bree.
Additional Quileute characters are introduced: Julia Jones and BooBoo Stewart as siblings Leah and Seth Clearwater, as well as Alex Rice as their mother Sue Clearwater (who is widowed by the death of Harry Clearwater in The Twilight Saga: New Moon).
Other notable new cast members are Oscar-nominated Catalina Sandino Moreno as Maria, Jack Huston as Royce King, and singer Peter Murphy as the first vampire.
Bella, Edward, and Jacob: The Pinnacle of the Triangle
Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon made Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner into global household names for their portrayals of Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, and Jacob Black.
"Eclipse is about a triangle and the tension between these three characters," comments screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. "The rivalry and jealousies - just the most basic of all human emotions of love and loss. At its core, it is all very raw and it all comes to a head in this movie. It's just really rich territory to mine. It's so great writing the character of Bella, getting to bring out her strength and really getting to explore the depth of that character, particularly as portrayed by Kristin Stewart. She has such inner strength and she's really becomes a heroine in this story. I love writing those kinds of characters."
"Ultimately, it's a love story. This is all about finding a way for Bella and Edward to live in a world where you know they shouldn't be able to exist together. The great thing about these projects is that we've had the same screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg from beginning to end, and we have actors who understand their characters deeply.
Also, they really understand the books. They know exactly what they are trying to accomplish in each scene. Plus, the directors that we've chosen have all become experts on the books that they're directing. So from the beginning of production, you click right back into these characters. I feel like Rob and Kristen just kinda zip on their Bella and Edward suits and snap right back into it," laughs producer Wyck Godfrey.
"We've been living with these characters for a while now," agrees Stewart. "We learn more and more about them as time goes on and actually adapt to them. We're ourselves outside, but as soon as action comes, we're in Jacob mode or Bella mode or Edward mode," agrees Stewart.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse explores different aspects of love: real love, fantasy love, and the possibility of being in love with two people at the same time.
"For me, the love triangle is about fantasy love and reality love," explains author Stephenie Meyer. "I had a chance to take one person and make her choose between the two. Bella really falls in love with Jacob in New Moon without realizing it, because the only love she's ever had in her life is this fantasy - head over heels, the most amazing person in the whole world suddenly picks you, and you just can't even believe how lucky you are, and everything's wonderful and perfect - type of love. Then she falls in love with Jacob in the real way that it usually happens, where he's your best friend and you just want to spend all your time with him. But she doesn't realize what it is, because she's only understood love from a different perspective."
"So in Eclipse, she has to come to terms with those feelings and understand that she does love him beyond just a friend, and then choose between that and the fantasy love," adds Meyer. "Because of who the characters are, the end was inevitable for me - she would choose Edward - but I wanted her to really have to look at what she was choosing and what she was giving up, and put full weight on both of those choices before she made it."
"Edward is a good ideal for the pure true love that does exist in the world. Then Jacob is this more human love, which has flaws and faults, but it's still honest," says director David Slade. "I think one of the things that is so attractive about these stories is that they do postulate the idea of true love in a culture where it's not very common. True love's a wonderful thing and sadly it's not been hugely abundant and apparent, especially in the media. But, it is difficult to make a great story out of something as simple as pure love, because usually, great stories come from great conflicts. What Stephenie's done so cleverly is make a great conflict, but not at the expense of true love, which is one of the reasons I personally believe these films and these books are so universally successful and popular."
"We have the idea that love is dangerous, and vampires are dangerous too, but let's make them somehow acceptable and let's make them good. Let's make them aspirational," adds Slade. "Let's allow our female protagonists to have choices. Again, I think these things are not common. The saga empowers the female protagonist to not have sex and for that to be okay. That isn't to say that sex is bad, but it is to say that there could be a natural rhythm to a relationship that's okay. We're living in a culture where women are very overtly sexualized, particularly young women. I think that also it's very attractive to the people who read these books and I find that to be culturally very healthy."
"Eclipse starts on a high note, Edward and Bella are together and happy and coming down off of the dramatic experience that they had in Italy," comments Stewart.
"Basically, I'm still being hunted by vampires, but the biggest problem in my life is being able to acknowledge that there are different levels of loving someone. I must admit to myself that I am totally in love with my best friend, but just not as much as my real, true love, who obviously is Edward. For me, Eclipse is about growing up and making decisions and realizing that the choices that you make aren't necessarily instinctual. As much as I love Bella for not being ashamed of anything that she does, at this point in the series she's growing up and maturing to a point that can she actually be able to say that 'I'm not always right.'"
"There's a lot of talk about Bella's choice in this film, that her choice is going to have consequences, and of course it is. You do not come back from this choice. If you make the choice to become immortal, you do not become mortal again. It's one of the more extreme choices that a character in a fantasy story could choose. The story positions Bella to have to transform to make that choice. This is something that's easily missed and I think it's important and it's summed up in the closing scene of the film,"
"Bella has to emotionally transform to be able to make this choice fully and with all of her heart," states Slade. "The true love that she has for Jacob, however misguided that love is, it still exists and it creates conflict for her. So this choice has tremendous consequences, but it is possible to make these choices and transform into a different kind of person, a person that can make this choice and live with this choice and this is what ultimately Bella is able to do, but she is only able to do it through going through this story. At the end, she understands that she has faced all of these dangers and done it easily, and it surprised her. So she comes to this conclusion that she belongs in Edward's world, much more so than she belongs in the human world. I think that makes it easier for her to make that choice - in fact, it makes it impossible for her not to make that choice."
"Bella is interesting. We begin the movie with Bella choosing Edward, based on this romantic ideal, an immature choice in some ways. She hadn't completely and thoroughly thought it out. Because choosing Edward and choosing to become a vampire, that's a hard thing to wrap one's mind around when one is 18 years old," comments Rosenberg. "So, the arc of the movie is about Bella's choice… making a mature choice, an informed choice. We begin with her having chosen Edward from an emotional place, but by the end, she's chosen him from a much deeper understanding of life and consequences."
Pattinson adds, "The first film is about new love. The second film is about loss.
This film is about just how difficult a relationship can be when it's real. It's become a committed relationship, which makes this more difficult because Edward has definitely decided to very much become a part of Bella's world. Edward has been quite similar in the last two movies because he'd been allowed to live in a very isolated way. Now, he's accepting the fact that he's in a real relationship with Bella, it means that he has to become part of the real world and actually integrate himself and become more human.
He'd been living so aloof, that it's quite difficult to get up to speed and behave normally and feel everyday emotions that normal people feel. Dealing with that becomes quite difficult when you haven't done it so long and you're forced into doing it. He finds it very difficult to be normal because he can't remember."
Stewart adds, "It's unconditional love that is being tested. It's an interesting thing.
They are undeniably devoted to one another, but in this Edward and Bella talk more.
They're more open. They're more willing to let other people into their lives and not having it be just this exclusive relationship that is going to take out everything around it.
It's bringing this really heightened relationship - that has caused massive problems in a lot of people's lives - into a place where they can function normally."
"Their relationship has basically come down to the fact that Bella is completely determined to become a vampire and have Edward be the one to change her," explains Pattinson. "Edward is still reluctant to that, but has decided that if they marry each other, then he'll be more understanding and possibly follow through with it. But then other threats come up - the threat of jealousy, the threat of insecurities, and not being good enough for your partner. Instead of running like in New Moon, in Eclipse Edward has to fight for the relationship and not just fight the bad guys."
Edward also has to fight with his sense of virtue. "Edward is from a different time, so he actually has an entirely different set of values," comments Stewart. "It's interesting to have people who look the same age, but he's essentially an old man dating an 18 year-old girl. So, he wants to be married and she doesn't. But they want exactly the same thing from each other, they just have different ways of expressing it. It's fun to watch them deal with that."
"Edward wants her to have every last human experience she can have before she becomes a vampire," explains Godfrey. "For Edward, he wants to have the fulfillment of marriage before he embarks on the journey that he's going to have with her for the rest of their eternity. So, part of her dilemma is that decision to marry Edward before she becomes a vampire. Edward still hopes that maybe she'll change her mind about becoming a vampire, because he ultimately still worries about the cost of her soul."
Meyer adds, "Eclipse actually takes place in only one calendar month of time, in which the two of them are constantly adjusting and readjusting to each other, and trying to find the right balance. Bella is very single minded, whereas Edward constantly over thinks everything. His personality swings back and forth from the beginning where he's very over protective and he realizes that he goes too far; and then he swings back in the other direction and realizes I need to control myself and back off, and then he goes too far the other way. He probably would have been completely within an appropriate behavior level to say to Bella, I really don't want you to spend so much time with Jacob, not because I'm afraid for your safety, but because it makes me uncomfortable. She would have then listened to that. There's a lot of confusion between any couple - saying what you really mean, knowing what you really want to say, and they bounce back and forth trying to figure each other out."
"Edward has a different mindset in this one," says Pattinson. "He's jealous and petty to other people. With Bella, he's possessive. He has 17-year-old-guy emotions - like being jealous of other guys who fancy his girlfriend - which I think affects everything.
But, he's really coming out of his shell in this one. Because Edward has solidified the relationship, Bella gets some control back. Edward's not up to the same speed as Jacob and Bella because they're having a normal, natural relationship and before he's just been speaking these absolutes all the time and being this aloof guy. Even though the love triangle developed in New Moon, it's much more present in Eclipse. Edward really has to fight with him and feels like he has to prove himself to Bella."
"I like to think of Eclipse as the height of the love triangle," says Lautner "In New Moon, Jacob hated Edward with a passion. Now in Eclipse, when he's forced to team up with Edward to protect Bella, he gets to know Edward a little more. So, in the tent scene, Jacob and Edward have a heart-to-heart talk. Edward can read my thoughts, so he understands everything that is going on inside of my head, but I have no idea what's going on inside his mind. So I ask him to let me in - if you can pick through my brain
then you better let me pick through yours. And he does. He lets me know that he thinks that I might be a better choice for Bella than he is. Jacob really appreciates that he was able to let him inside his brain for a second."
"My very favorite is the tent scene," agrees Meyer. "It's a situation where you get to hear what Edward and Jacob are really thinking, and for the first time, without realizing it, Bella hears their real true feelings, and that was so much fun to write. You've got Bella and Edward and Jacob in a very small space, and they can't get away from each other, and that makes it really exciting to work with."
"Edward actually knows Jacob pretty well. But Jacob never has had a chance to really know Edward until this point, and thinks of him as a non-human, with no real emotions," comments Meyer. "Jacob can't entirely hate Edward after that conversation, whereas Edward never really hated Jacob because he knows he has really good intentions. That was the building block to their eventual reconciliation and becoming friends."
"Edward's caught between this rock and a hard place of wanting to be with Bella, but wanting her to be happy and have the best life possible. He can't really dislike Jacob because he knows Jacob's just trying to do the right thing and that he would save the same people that Edward would save," reveals Meyer. "He's a hero and a good guy, so it's hard for Edward not to respect that. The tent scene was the first chance for Edward to really express that he doesn't harbor ill feelings towards Jacob, because he knows
Jacob's a good person."
"Bella has been getting closer to Jacob throughout New Moon and now they have a very strong bond. Edward is still relatively resentful of that, and becomes increasingly openly resentful throughout Eclipse," explains Pattinson. "But eventually, he's called upon to have to accept Jacob and the wolf pack's help to defeat the army of newborns. So, Edward has to come to terms with Jacob and Bella's relationship and
accept the fact that if some guy cares for her as much as he does, then he can't be all that bad. Also, Edward has to admit that he always felt that Jacob was a pretty good guy and that's why he felt threatened by him."
"In some sense, Edward always wanted her to pick Jacob and have a human life, but he couldn't deny his love for her," comments Godfrey. "If she chooses him, he has to accept that that's the life she wants. Jacob accepts it finally and realizes that Bella wants Edward and he's ultimately not going to win her heart. I think the final connection that they have is that they both love Bella. In a sense, they are connected through their love of her."
"The themes of choice and the consequences of choices were really important to Stephenie," says Rosenberg. "That is really the theme of the movie. Keeping Bella's emotional arc about making choices, keeping that alive and fully realizing that - that was my job. To do that was really about making Jacob a genuine rival to Edward, which is very hard to do because Edward is such an ideal. So to make Jacob a real legitimate rival, it takes a lot of careful work."
"Jacob represents the human path," adds Rosenberg. "Jacob represents the choice of the ability to have a family, the ability to grow old with someone, and the ability to stay in the world that she currently lives in. So he really comes to represent that choice, whereas Edward represents really giving all that up. I think what becomes clear in this movie, is that's what the choice is."
"Jacob truly believes that Bella is meant for him and is not going to quit fighting for her until her last living breath. So, he, of course, brings himself into some conflict with his pack because vampires are their mortal enemies," adds Godfrey. "What's cool about it is that ultimately his friends accept Bella, despite their desire to separate themselves from her. The warmth of their world is a draw to Bella, and again one of those things that she realizes, the second I become a vampire, I will lose all of this. I can't be a part of
this world anymore."
"At the end of this film, Bella has agreed to marry Edward. One of the things I loved about writing this script was that I got to write a speech for Bella about the choice. It's not just a choice between Edward and Jacob, it's also a choice between who people think she should be and who she actually is," explains Rosenberg. "The journey has been about discovering who she is. So at the end, she was really able to stand and say 'this is who I am and your world is my world.' It's really her ultimate coming of age.
What's coming for these characters, and particularly Bella, is the final realization of who they are. It's an amazing transformation, something we've been waiting for through several books now, to see. She's going to be a changed, literally, woman."
"Kristen brings an authenticity to Bella, she's relentlessly truthful as an actress," compliments Elizabeth Reaser. "I think it's hard for young actresses to carry a movie like this and to be really honest. She's not playing anything cutesy, she's really going for what's true and beautiful."
The three lead actors enjoy the working relationships that they've built over the course of the three films
"I love working with Taylor. We have a very similar dynamic to Jacob and Bella in real life - we're very easy around each other," reveals Stewart. "At this point, Rob and I laugh more in the really serious scenes and much, much less in the scenes that are actually supposed to be light and funny. This one is the easiest because we have established dynamics that nobody can mess with. So now, we pick up and run with it."
"It's cool," agrees Pattinson. "Taylor's really great and I barely got to do anything with him in the second movie, so this has been really nice. It's funny doing scenes where we're pushing each other around. Edward's always been so standoffish and Jacob just really gets under his skin all the time and they're always butting heads, which is fun to do it with Taylor in this film."
Lautner found loathing Pattinson on screen a hard thing to do. "Rob is too likeable," laughs Lautner. "I need to roughen him up a bit. It's so funny because Rob and I will be laughing before the take and joking around, then action is called and all of a sudden, I have to go into the mode of I hate this guy. So, that's actually a challenge."
"It's become a family. It is amazing to watch how these movies have transformed their professional and personal lives. Each time we start a film, it's like coming back to summer camp," relates Godfrey. "You're so excited to see each other again, but then you have the squabbles that families have, and then by the end of it you're hugging saying 'I'll see you next summer.' So, it's been a joy to work on a franchise that so many people love. So many people anticipate these movies, that you can't help feel warm inside when you're making something that ultimately, you're going to give as a gift to the audience."