The third film is action-packed, with the Cullen family having to protect Bella (Kristen Stewart) from the vengeful Victoria. Bella's also still dealing with Jacob's (Taylor Lautner) attention while preparing to commit herself for all eternity to the brooding vampire, Edward (Robert Pattinson).
In Los Angeles for a press conference to discuss the PG-13 film, Slade and Godfrey provided the scoop on what it took to bring Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse alive on the screen.
Director David Slade and Producer Wyck Godfrey Eclipse Press ConferenceWhy should somebody see Eclipse?
David Slade: "I guess if you’re not into the World Cup, and there’s nothing worth seeing on TV and you’ve not got any plans... We’ve got, I think, six or seven decapitations. You know, if there’s nothing much going on that night, it’s a good night out. As long as there’s nothing else on at the movies you want to see. But no, being serious, I think it’s the most mature book, and I think we made, we went for the most mature film. Certainly, there’s a great deal of romance in the film, but there’s also other things. Vengeance is a very big theme in the film. Our action sequences all are built out of character, so they’re not just effects. They’re actually built out of a need to get to a place. And I think it’s a film for everyone, this one."
What did you do to prepare for Eclipse and how did you bring your own style to the film?
David Slade; "You know, there’s a vocabulary, a cinematic vocabulary to each of the films they’ve done. And it doesn’t come from that much premeditation. It comes from two things. One, seeing the film in my head before we go out and make it, and being very clear about that, that is, and planning it. And then two, what’s right for the scene and the character. I believe the most interesting thing to look at in the world is the human face, so that is why I tend to be a little closer to those human faces than maybe other directors would be."
Wyck Godfrey: "When you were first talking to us about the movie, you had said that by letting the background fall out of focus and really focus on the characters, in the dangerous scenes it creates a heightened sense of anxiety. You feel like you don’t really know what’s back there. And in the romantic scenes, it creates an incredible sense of intimacy. You really feel like it’s just these two people in that world, and I really think that was really effective in the movie."
David Slade: "I was just going to go on to elaborate just one sentence, which is to say that with close-up comes selective focus, and it is to focus the viewer, to point them in a direction. And when I talked about vocabulary, it extends so you get a close-up which has very little amount of focus in it. But also you’ll see medium shots and wider shots that also bring the audience’s attention to a specific place, which is entirely intentional."
You were working with a ready-made cast for Eclipse. How did you help establish what would be expected of their characters for this film?
David Slade: "What I did is I saw each one of the actors individually, and we’d have one-on-one meetings. What we’d do is, the first time I was just listening. I’d just listen to everything they told me about their characters, everything they thought about their characters. Then we’d meet again and we’d talk about the script. But each time, one-on-one. Then a third time, a fourth time. By this time, we’re now talking about all the ideas that I’m to bring forward but incorporating all of that character and story that they’ve taken from me. And then the final stage is we go into an ensemble rehearsal where all the actors come together, but we don’t have to talk about character anymore - we talk about content and story. And that was, I think, the most respectful way, and that’s how I chose to go about it."
What did you want to change going into the film?
David Slade: "I think what I was getting at, and it was a very early conversation with Rob, was I really wanted to make sure his character was dangerous. That’s what I was getting at with him. In the last movie, he had played a different character arc. In this one, I wanted to bring out the carnivore in him because he has to get a character arc from someone who’s just relieved to have his reason for existing, back to killing, decapitating with his teeth somewhat. That’s quite an arc so that had to come throughout the film. And he hadn’t really done that so much - a little bit in Twilight - and I think that was the big thing. So it was a case of, 'Try to look at every scene with that in mind. Underlying this is danger. Underlying everything is danger.' It is a different way of looking at the character completely. That was the intention."
Were there any expectations for you to maintain the style and tone of the first two films?
David Slade: "You know, I think the only thing really that was expressed to me was continuity. Very much a different film was expected. Different directors per film, different vision per film, so I was given a great deal of freedom in terms of the aesthetics. Certainly as I was talking about a vocabulary of shooting, that vocabulary reaches to all areas of production. So I inherited the sets, but I went into the kitchen set and we made it bigger. We went into Bella’s room and made it four feet wider, just because I was going to shoot with a different lens to the way they shot before. So the answer is, I was given freedom, only just to respect what had come before really. There were no mandates."
Wyck Godfrey: "I mean, I think if anything, one of the chief reasons we hired David was for his visual style and that it was different from the first two films. Yet he had really worked with young actresses and gotten a performance out of them that were incredible, and felt he understood it. But it’s something that we’ve always wanted was for each director to bring his own visual style to the movie."
David Slade: "You know, I tried not to focus too much on the other two films. I tried to just keep this one in my mind, and people like Wyck and Gillian would be there to give me a nudge if I was doing something that was going to invalidate something or cross a line. Which hardly ever happened, really."
Wyck Godfrey: "Every now and then, you’d have Edward walk through the sunlight and, ‘Oh wait...he has to sparkle.’"
David Slade: "'Wait a second, he’s got to sparkle.' Let me tell you, the sunlight was our biggest enemy in Vancouver. We had the sunniest, sunniest time, and every day we’d spend more time battling the sun than we spent battling in the rain."
Wyck Godfrey: "Which no one likes to hear that you’re not shooting because it’s sunny."
David Slade: "It would be perfect for any other movie. Javier Aguirresarobe was driven insane by this."