The final film of the Twilight franchise officially launched its publicity tour with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2's cast appearance at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. As fans anxiously count down the months until the last movie of the series premieres in theaters on November 16th, Summit rewarded their continued support by unveiling a lengthy clip from the film as well as bringing to the stage all of the major cast members.
In addition to the fan Q&A, the cast took part in two press conferences at the Con. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Mackenzie Foy, and author Stephenie Meyer teamed up for one, while the Cullen crew - Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli and Elizabeth Reaser - shared the podium for the other, with Facinelli handling the comic relief duties for the 'Cullen' press conference.
Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli and Elizabeth Reaser Press Conference
What props did you take home as a souvenir, now that the films are over?
Ashley Greene: "I took my original Alice Cullen necklace with me, which is pretty cool to have."
Now that you’re doing press for the final film, does it feel like it’s really over?
Ashley Greene: "Well, this is the first event that is marking the beginning of the end of Twilight. It’s the last Comic Con we’re going to come to for Twilight, so I guess it’s sinking in. But once we get to the premieres is when it’s maybe going to be a little more emotional because it’s really going to be coming to an end. Luckily, we have it captured on film, forever, and our fans are really incredible. They seem to be following us into new projects that we’re doing, and really supporting us, so that’s pretty neat."
How did you guys celebrate the end on set?
Elizabeth Reaser: "You never quite knew when it was actually going to end because there was so much second unit stuff to be completed. Peter and I wrapped at the exact same time. We had just finished a scene with Ashley and Kellan. I think we were just walking through the woods, being happy, which was nice for a change. And then they told Peter and I that we had wrapped and we were stunned. After five movies, to be told, 'You’re done,' was just surreal. I remember screaming and laughing and hugging, and then feeling like, 'Well, what do we do now?'"
Kellan Lutz: "And then, we went to dinner. It was nice."
Kellan, is it true that Bella’s vampire is stronger than Emmett when he challenges her?
Kellan Lutz: "Well, Emmett’s a great actor. That’s why he let her win. I’m three times the size of Kristen. You know what? Doing that scene with Kristen was something I’ve been looking forward to shooting since day one, when I read all the books. I was like, 'Hopefully, we get to make Breaking Dawn because you finally get to see a scene with Emmett and Bella. And then to work with Kristen, who is a brilliant actress, and see her transform from human Bella to vampiric Bella, and see little things that she would change, was fun. I’m really looking forward to seeing that scene in the movie, and I know the fans will also."
Looking back over the franchise, what film was your favorite to do and why?
Elizabeth Reaser: "I think the first one. I had the most fun in that."
Ashley Greene: "We had no idea what we were doing."
Elizabeth Reaser: "We had no idea what we were getting into. We thought we were just doing this little vampire movie in Portland. There was just a lot of silliness, a lot of hijinks and bad behavior."
Jackson Rathbone: "It was fun. The film was everybody coming together and being together in the room for the first time. Doing those epically long Cullen family shoots would take two days to do."
Peter Facinelli: "Because everyone had coverage. You might have like three lines, but there were 10 people, so they would cover each person. Three lines could take 12 or 15 hours, but it was fun because everybody was together. As hard as it was to shoot those scenes, I always enjoyed when we were all together."
Kellan Lutz: "Well, the first one felt like we were 17, before turning to 18, so we could get in trouble. Before all the craziness happened and Twilight became what it was, I just remember Jackson and Peter and I had some good times. We still did later, but we had some monitoring come on afterwards."
Elizabeth Reaser: "For the first movie, they had the girls in one hotel and the boys in another hotel. Then we found out that they actually preferred their hotel, so we moved over there and all hell broke loose."
Peter Facinelli: "We had a lot of rehearsals for the original Twilight to get the family to learn each other and experience each other, so we could all be like a family. We spent a lot of time together."
What is it like to interact with your fans who line up for days at Comic Con and who are so excited to see you?
Nikki Reed: "I think there was a different energy this time around. I felt like, because this is the last one, there’s been a different kind of appreciation on both ends and a lot of familiar faces. It’s not like we haven’t seen some of these people before, so you really do feel like you recognize them. It’s like, 'Hey, you got a haircut,' or 'Wow, thanks for sleeping out here, year after year.' I think everyone felt really grateful. I think I can speak for everyone and say that I’m really beginning to recognize how unique and special this has been, just because we live in a time where capturing someone’s attention for more than five seconds is nearly impossible, and these guys really stuck by us. This entire experience is because of them. It actually is. So, you can’t help but do your best to go out there and sign something."
Peter Facinelli: "It is pretty surreal to see fans that you’ve now known for four years, and they’ve grown with us and they’ve been there from the beginning. They were there the first premiere and at all the Comic Con conventions. You do recognize them and you know them by name, and that’s pretty special."
What is going to catch Twilight fans by surprise the most with this final film?
Elizabeth Reaser: "I haven’t seen the movie yet, but there’s some stuff with Peter and I that I can’t say, but it’s really scary and heightened. I’m excited to see that."
Kellan Lutz: "There’s this thing...and then it totally...and that’s what happens, and it’s crazy. You’ll love it!"
Elizabeth Reaser: "Well, you’ll see all the international vampires. That’s going to be cool."
Ashley Greene: "It’s huge!"
Kellan Lutz: "Yeah, you get introduced to a whole new cast. That’s pretty cool."
Ashley Greene: "And Bella is a vampire, which is pretty awesome to see."
Jackson Rathbone: "There are a lot more vampires this time around."
Bill Condon is the only director that has worked on two of these films. What do you think sets these movies apart?
Jackson Rathbone: "Honestly, it felt like Breaking Dawn was one movie. It’s Part 1 and Part 2 because it would’ve been insanely long otherwise. But, Bill was just an amazing director. I think that whenever you’re working with a director, you find that the energy from the director trickles down to the entire set. Since he was so calm and collected and composed throughout the entire film process, it felt breezy and effortless and thought out. He’s a great director for actors. He worked with us and talked to us and let us try new things. He just always had a pleasant disposition about him, which is really nice when you do a film."
Ashley Greene: "He was excited."
Kellan Lutz: "And he never raised his voice once. When you do a movie, it’s like going on a journey. It’s really like the director is the captain of the ship, and that energy everybody feels. Bill is such a great actor’s director. He cares about what you’re thinking. And, he’s very open. Even though he was pressed for time, and he was doing two movies at once, and all this stuff was happening around him, he would still take time to sit there and talk to you about your scene and your character and what you were going through. That was really a treat."
Elizabeth Reaser: "Also, to get to work with serious filmmakers on this kind of a movie has elevated these movies. We were so lucky, as actors, that the crew of directors that we’ve gotten to work with are totally really super high-end filmmakers. But, Bill Condon had a vision and it was so specific. He’s really passionate. I think he’s taken the story to another level."
As far as character development is concerned, can you give us a little insight on the journey of each of your characters in the final installment?
Jackson Rathbone: "When we first saw Jasper, he was just tweaked out. He was going through withdrawals and he hated it. He was in a room full of high school kids and he just wanted to eat. He was like a guy on a diet, waiting for someone to leave a bunch of donuts. And then, as the movies progressed, he was more and more comfortable with that attitude and lifestyle of the vegetarian vampire. Finally, in Breaking Dawn, I think it’s the first time we see Jasper at ease a little bit."
Ashley Greene: "With Alice, I feel like she had a really great arc and development. You saw her come in as this really lovable, friendly, upbeat vampire who really didn’t seem like a vampire at all. I always said that she’s the nicest person you would ever meet, much less a vampire. And it was nice, throughout the saga, to get to see different sides of her. Whenever it came to her family, you got to actually see her act like a vampire and have a little bit of an edge to her and become protective. That was fun to see. In this last one, you definitely see that. There are a lot of things that happen in this one, where everyone to step up and come together, and really work together to protect what we care about."
Elizabeth Reaser: "I think these movies have forced Esme into a different lifestyle than she imagined for herself. She’s the ultimate pacifist and would never want to fight. She would never want to have to be as forceful and powerful as she’s capable of being. And Bella has put our family in such a vulnerable situation that it’s forced Esme to be this powerhouse who is basically someone that she doesn’t really want to be. But, you don’t really have a choice when it’s either your family or your way of living and your moral code. I think she’s actually had to betray her own sense of self, in order to protect her family. That’s been fun to play with as an actress."
Peter Facinelli: "Well, in Twilight, I started out dying my hair blonde. And then as the movies progressed, I wore wigs. The wigs went through a transformation. In Breaking Dawn, it’s a little longer. That’s my arc."
Kellan Lutz: "Emmett is just fun loving, and it’s great. I know Emmett doesn’t have the most lines, but he’s such an influential character. I just love to play him. It was great showing the protective sides and how much he enjoys being a vampire and how much he is really rooting for Bella to become one, so he can roughhouse with her until she kicks his butt, and then that’s no fun for him. I’ve really enjoyed watching Emmett and adding to him with each movie."
Nikki Reed: "Well, I smile in this last movie, which was a big deal for me. I feel like reading these books and investing in all of our characters like we have, it’s definitely been a challenge not always having the opportunity to portray every aspect of our character. It’s not frustrating. It’s just the nature of these movies. You don’t always get to show every side of our characters. In Breaking Dawn, you can see the other sides of her and the audience can root for Rosalie a little more."
Since all of you have had a chance to get to know each other through the course of this whole adventure, who is most like their Twilight character in real life and who is the least like their character?
Kellan Lutz: "I honestly think we all are. It was brilliantly cast and everyone portrays their characters so well."
Nikki Reed: "Catherine Hardwicke was obviously in charge of casting all of us. She started as a production designer, and one of the skills of that job is being able to walk into an empty room and have that kind of vision to fill it up and see things that aren’t there and have that imagination that I feel like a lot of the directors that I’ve worked with – not on the saga, just in general – don’t have. She cast all of us based on who we were, not how we looked. For that reason alone, I feel like there aren’t a lot of similarities between us and the characters. It was an extreme connection and ability for us to go there."
Elizabeth Reaser: "I love my character, but I don’t think I’m half as good a person as Esme is."
Peter Facinelli: "I think you are. I think you’re very nurturing. You don't think you are, but I think you are. And, you’re sexy and loyal. Those are all qualities that you have."
Now that you’ve had some time to remove yourselves from the production, are you surprised to find yourself missing something about it?
Peter Facinelli: "I miss the woods. Sometimes I go on weekend trips and just wander the woods, barefoot and reminiscing, and I put my contact lenses in. Is that weird?"
Ashley Greene: "Not for you. I definitely don’t miss the cold or the rain. No, I think the interaction was really fun. I enjoy going to set and knowing exactly who your character is, and being able to have fun with it. Feeling protected, knowing that you have a support system around you, is a really nice thing to have, that you don’t necessarily have going into new films. For me, films are like the first day of school. You walk in and you’re like, 'I don’t know anyone. How’s this going to go? How’s the director going to be? How’s the character going to develop?' It was a nice comfort to be confident and know exactly what you were going into with each film."
Kellan Lutz: "It is fun, revisiting a role. Usually, as an actor, you do a movie and you put that character up on a shelf and he’s done. That character is now immortalized on film, but you don’t get to play him again. In these films, we got to revisit these characters and we didn’t take that for granted. With each movie, we went in trying to explore that character a little deeper, or in a different sense. But, at the same time, there was a comfort in knowing that you know this person."
What do you expect your life is going to be like five or ten years from now?
Jackson Rathbone: "It’ll be our Twilight ten-year reunion."
Kellan Lutz: "They’ll reboot the franchise."
Jackson Rathbone: "The Amazing Twilight."
Ashley Greene: "I’m not going to expect anything because life never really pans out how you expect it to."
Jackson Rathbone: "It’s going to be interesting. There are portions of time in between these movies where we do have other lives. It’s just been an amazing experience. It’s been an amazing thrill ride. We’ve been able to meet some of the most wonderful people in the world, traveling all over the world. We have these fans who fell in love with these characters and these books, and who come to these movies. To be able to be a part of that had been amazing. It’s not like we expect to jump into another franchise or something like that. We’re cherishing the moment and living in the present. In the future, who knows what’s going to happen? But, I think we’re all going to continue to do what we love to do."
Elizabeth Reaser: "I just hope we’re all healthy and nobody is in rehab."
Ashley Greene: "That’s a good goal."
Have you guys been a big fan of anything, like the fans are with Twilight?
Peter Facinelli: "I think we’re all fans of Twilight. Being in this saga, you become a fan."
Ashley Greene: "No one should be a fan of anything else."
Peter Facinelli: "I have the whole DVD collection at home. I put it on every day and watch it at least five times a day. Is that weird?"
Jackson Rathbone: "I don’t know. If the Rolling Stones went on tour again, which I keep hearing they might do, I would freak out and have an amazing reaction. I would probably camp out three days to see the Stones perform."
Elizabeth Reaser: I definitely have a Google obsession of Juliette Binoche. I’m obsessed. I’ll read everything she’s ever said. I can tell you anything you want to know about Juliette Binoche - or Jack White. Those are my two creepy obsessions."
Peter Facinelli: "I remember being in line for Superman IV, and the line was all the way around the block. I thought, 'Wow, this is amazing. All these people are here to see this movie, so it must be something really special.' And then you come to Comic Con and people camp out for days. It just puts things into perspective, of how amazing movies are. Not just Twilight, but movies in general can bring groups of people together for something that they’re passionate about, and they make friends. Any time something can bring people together in a positive way is a great thing."
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Breaking Dawn Part 2 arrives in theaters on November 16, 2012.