Check out part two of our exciting interview with ‘Breaking Dawn’ director Bill Condon, from the editing room! We talk about aging Renesmee, changes from the book, costumes, music, and so much more. You can read part one HERE.
Bill Condon Editing Room Interview – Part 2
Bill: Well, the last film, not this one so much.
Becca: It is part one, ok.
Bill: That was interesting in that, to go inside the wolves and everything, but here, it’s Bella. It’s all Bella.
Kallie: One of the scenes we saw, no it was one of the stills that we saw, of it looked like it could be Renesmee communicating, The first thing that hit on twitter was ‘What do you guys think is going to happen, is it going to be like the wolves? Is it going to be different?’ Have you even, I am sure that you have approached it, but is that clear in your head how you want it to be seen?
Bill: Yeah, and it’s not like the wolves. [Bill wipes forehead in relief and all laugh]
Kallie: I wasn’t even sure I would get that, so I am happy. Awesome.
Bill: It’s definitely own thing. You know that’s what’s fun, cause we do have, now you have this whole different power and this whole different way of communicating. And that means we get to play with a whole different visual approach.
Nikki: How tuned into the fans and people’s critiques are you? I mean it seems with a series that is so popular, it would be film making by democracy maybe?
Bill: A little bit. I think that’s very true. I think we are right from the script stage what are favorite things, what you feel comfortable with, visualizing in a different way, and then obviously I read everything written, every good and awful thing. So very, very tuned into that.
Laura: Picking up with what Nikki said, our fandom, and there are definitely some fan favorite scenes that we can see have ended up in the movie, by just stills or you know, looking at the trailer, are the two that I can think of right off the top of my head. With the arm wrestling thing, I can’t tell you how many people are thrilled about the arm wrestling. I mean I don’t think I have ever gotten so many RT’s off of arm wrestling in my life. That and just the inclusion of Garrett, and sort of that character and his speech and what he does, so I guess what’s, and you know there’s other fan favorites that got cut from the first one, like the dog bowl thing. Is hard for you to decide what stays and what gets cut? Or humor sometimes, is it easier to put humor in this one then it was the last one?
Bill: I think so. I think that’s true. I think the dog bowl is a good example of that. We’re trying to fit that in to the long version, you know, the one movie. It a whole different, I thought in that case, it was important to stay with Bella. Again, it was all like, but now we’re trying to find room for it in kind of, a different pace film. But here, I got to say, let me think, there are one or two things that we shot like that that didn’t make it in the film. Not as much as in the first one. I hope they won’t miss too much.
Kallie: What were your favorite and least favorite scenes to shoot and film.
Bill: Oh I always thought it was a challenge, and I was curious how other directors dealt with it. When you are shooting the Cullens, they don’t drink coffee or tea, they don’t smoke, they don’t sit, they don’t walk. So you know it’s like, you’ve got… that turned out to be nothing compared to putting 27 vampires in a room. So even though, there’s that. Twenty-seven statues having a big emotional scene, was a challenge. I love the scene, but that was a nightmare.
Kallie: But good, was there anything really great in the one that you went back .
Bill: Oh yeah, so much of it. I have to say the whole…I think having Michael Sheen play such a crowning role in this is such an exciting thing. Way beyond what he’s done in other ones, you know. He really is, as you know, on the field, he’s a dominant presence in the film leading up to that. It just brought a different energy to the whole thing. It was great.
Lee: That’s a very good point, because it’s very visually striking that he has a Summit Marshall look (classic battle figure) to him, and that was a conscious decision that it would look almost like he was going into battle. Like a Prussian uniform.
Bill: Absolutely. That combined with, it’s sort of like you know, in his mind it’s a ceremonial kind of duty. To go a judge on this thing. So yes he is going to battle, but it’s the College of Cardinals coming, you know he’s the Pope. You know, so he’s all robed up for the whole thing.
Jack: The fun thing from the trailer this morning is you’ll see, in another instance in history where that actually happened with the immortal children. It’s not just the battlefield at the end. You’ll see them sort of, going around the world and doing cleanup.
Greg: Just like the book.
Kallie: We’re going to have a lot of twitter Pope jokes. All of the fans are going to be like why are all the fan sites tweeting about the pope.
Andrew: With this being the last film are there any sort of, tribute moments for the fans.
Bill: Yes. We start in a subtle way with the overture, of all the themes.
Lee: The red to white, you know I thought was, brilliant.
Bill: Yeah, it’s going to be fun. I have to say there are a few that we are very excited about. Won’t talk about that there.
Laura: I’m probably going to get strung up by fans if I don’t ask this question, how do you balance the romance now with a movie that is a little more action heavy. You know, a little more fight to death kind of thing. How do you find a way to fit that in? Is that kind of tough?
Bill: it’s interesting, because also the triangle is over. So it doesn’t have that, but the thing that has replaced it is, obviously their love for each other, but their love for Renesmee. So that she becomes the focus, of all the strongest emotional moments in the movie. And then, I think again I think it was something that started in the first movie, but there is a sense of, these are grownups now. So it is, they are married and they take time out to express their feelings for each other, but it is not in that same kind of yearning way, that teenage yearning way. It’s very mature. I think people will be surprised by that.
Kimmy: What was the most challenging thing to do involving Renesmee and having her grow up really fast?
Bill: Everything. You know I think that the secret is out on this probably, that we age her more quickly in the movie than in the book. I think that is the biggest and potentially scariest change that we made. But it was, when you try to imagine, some of those scenes, especially the field at the end, and all of that happens with a toddler, it just, it’s a wonderful idea, on the page that was tough to imagine visually. So that meant we age, and believe me she starts as a baby, so we watch that progression. It’s not, I think that some people have been concerned that, it’s all Mackenzie Foy. It’s not, it’s all Mackenzie Foy’s performance, but it’s, in a very complicated way combined with you know, girls of different sizes. That was always really unwieldy. And it’s something you know, we still can’t show, cause we don’t have it yet. It’s still in process.
Jack M: Much like you were commenting last night Laura, that Renesmee being in part one, where the baby name is introduced for the first time, and you see everyone’s sort of… the reaction to it [referencing the non-verbal communication between Edward and Jacob about the unusual name]. It’s not spoiling anything to say that there is that beat in part two, where Bella is dropping Renesmee off at Charlie’s house and Charlie comes out and says…
Bill: Yeah, she…
Jack M: She’s grown 6 inches.
Laura: Was that your toughest? Do you think that your toughest FX challenge in this film is Renesmee?
Bill: I think it is, because it’s really, it’s the guys who did social network, but each of these movies, Bella’s emaciation and then in this movie, Renesmee, is new ground. You know, they are really discovering, so it’s a lot of trial and error here. But when it works, and it’s all going to work, the stuff that we have seen that works, is really magical.
Michelle: With the new trailer that just came out, what’s the process like for choosing which scenes go into the trailer, and the balance between not showing too much, and then not giving the fans enough.
Bill: A lot of arguing (everyone laughs) I think always, you know, Tim Summerfield and the team at Summit, and the vendors they use, create that trailer and then we all get to weigh in on it. What’s interesting and I am curious to know what you guys think, because I think we show enough in that trailer, and my only worry about it is, do people remember, that it’s still a teaser. In other words, that it’s not the whole movie. There is so much more then that shows and the next trailer will show more of it. In other words, the scope of the movie is suggested by the trailer, but I worry because we have seen others that people will think oh that’s it. They have shown their best stuff, and we haven’t. So do you think that people remember still that it’s only a teaser?
Becca: Yeah, I think. I was shocked by how long it was…it was long.
Jack M: How long was teaser number one?
Jack P: 30 seconds
Jack M: So now this is 60. And then we go to 2:30.
Becca: That makes sense. I was just thinking teaser, I was thinking .30.
Laura: More action packed, like wow, they packed a lot in there.
Lee: There’s so much sweep to it, because what you get in this trailer more than anything, is scope.
Bill: Good, I’m glad.
Lee: That’s what your pushing for, is you get this feeling cause everything is sweeping and long angles, you see it moving all the time so it really does capture that.
Jack P: Did everyone want more after seeing it?
Nikki: I don’t want too much, just exactly enough to make me think about what I want.
Elena: Between the stills that we have seen in EW, and the trailer, and teasers and so forth, I mean we’ve seen Vampire Bella, we’ve seen Renesmee, we’ve seen most of though not all of the new faces, and back in part 1, we all knew that there was the one thing that we weren’t going to see, until we saw it on the big screen, which was the dress, is there any like one particular thing, for part two that we are just going to have to wait for the big screen for the big reveal?
Laura: And he’s not telling.
Becca: I was watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 last week and I was thinking how when they protect the castle and that shield, I was wondering if that’s like a similar effect that you are doing with Bella.
Bill: You know it’s interesting, it isn’t. You know, what the challenge of it is, these are mental powers, right, that we are physicalizing. Well you know the mist, that’s obviously quite physical. Her shield, we’re truly trying to walk that line so that you remember that nobody else can see it. You are getting it more, Bella’s point of view, but it’s very, um, subtle.
Laura: I think you alluded to it before, one of the fans’ favorite parts from Breaking Dawn 2 is Garrett’s whole speech, and everything which, can be an awesome speech, but I can also see it could be a little draggy. Was that difficult as a director, do you have to do a lot of different cuts and things for that kind of thing? How was it doing that kind of speech?
Bill: Lee Pace, you know. Like he gets to, and it was so fun, because Michael Sheen was on the other end going on and on, getting all of his speeches and stuff. So it was like, Team Cullen was there. Kind of what it was. And you know he’s a great actor, so he got to really go to town on that one. So yeah, it wasn’t a problem, no.
Michelle: Now besides, you talked about it earlier, having Renesmee age quicker than in the books, is there anything else that is drastically different in the movie than you see in the books?
Bill: Couple of things.
Someone: Kill off Edward.
Greg: There is no Edward in this one.
Laura: The music plays such a big part in this, and I know you are going to be going off to go and do that again. Is there any part in particular that you are really looking forward to you know, underscoring, with music, and if you could, could you tell us a part that you might be looking forward to hearing the music with?
Bill: You know the thing is, it’s that 25 minutes on the field. Because it’s so, again, it’s so big. The actual scoring period is longer than it’s ever been. We’ve added an 80 piece orchestra to a big chunk of the movie there. So it has again, it has the kind of sweep that you were talking about, and that’s Carter Burwell really, kind of bringing home all of the stuff that he’s seeded in. You know, I think you will be surprised to know that a theme that you already know from Breaking Dawn part 1 is actually the Volturi theme. He hinted at that in the 1st movie. You know, there’s things, where again, I think the pleasure of him getting to complete the whole thing, is really strong in that part. I can’t wait; it’s going to be thrilling. I think I’ll be Skyping with the Orchestra behind me. [Initial plans called for Bill Condon to video Skype call into Comic Con and to be there live. It was then rethought due to being worried about fan reaction if the technology went down and he couldn’t speak. Therefore Bill Condon pre-recorded his Comic Con intro.]
Jack M: Bill will be in London while everyone else is in Hall H. And it’s back at Abbey Road studios on one of those historic stages again.
Bill: We couldn’t change it cause of the Olympics.
Jack M: Well you could if you don’t mind paying 6 times for hotel rooms. It’s ridiculous.
Jack P: Anything else. Greg?
Greg: I don’t have any questions. (Everyone laughs). Bill what was it like to work with Greg?
Greg: Don’t answer that.
Laura: Costume wise, cause all of these vampires look so incredibly different, can you talk a little about how much did you collaborate with Stephenie Meyer and the costume designers and what went into each one getting those looks just right for those?
Bill: You know the big challenge there was they all are different. They are all from around the world.
Jack M: Or around the country
Bill: We started from the back in a way. Michael’s [costume designer Michael Wilkinson] big question always, was how are they going to look together. So it’s like, you can’t have, the Irish people in bright plaid (everyone laughs). So it’s retro fitted from that, from what they look like in the field. And obviously, a lot of them didn’t come with trunks of clothes and things. Certainly the Amazons don’t have a lot of things and changes, but they do have other things. So that was a big, that was the way we did it, making all these distant things into a unit.
Andrew: It seems like kind of, I don’t know, this is kind of a wrap up question, it seems like there is a lot of secrets. It’s funny because we’ve all read the book–
Bill: Right, right.
Andrew: So was one of the intentions from the beginning to set out a few surprises for readers:
Bill: I don’t think it was a conscious thing, let’s do that, but I do think it’s…, I don’t know. It’s part of the pleasure. I was so proud of the fact that there had been, no image of the wedding dress before the night that that movie opened. And I think that it just makes the experience. To not know everything, that is all it is. But it wasn’t a, ‘No like we’re going to mess with people’s heads!”, you know. That wasn’t the idea.
Laura: The tale is in the telling. We know what happens, but it’s how it happens. The tale is in the telling.
Bill: Yeah, how it’s executed.
Jack P: You want to save some surprises for the actual movie going experience.
Jack Morrissey: So whose gonna to do this, anybody? (he’s holding a gift bag that we had him sneak into the studio)
Kallie: This is from us (as Jack hands the bag to Bill)
Laura: I guess I’ll do it. So for everything you’ve done for all of us embracing everything Twilight and TwiHard and taking us seriously we truly appreciate it. So even though you may not win an OSCAR for this one, but here on behalf of TwiHards everywhere is your very own Lion and Lamb award . (Bill then unwraps a large trophy that has a lamb on top, had the name of every website involved in the visit and the engraved statement “TO BILL CONDON, FOR UNFLINCHING SUPPORT OF ALL THINGS TWILIGHT, WE PRESENT YOU WITH THE FIRST EVER LION AND LAMB AWARD THE FANSITES OF TWIHARD NATION