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Information about TwilightTwilight is a series of four vampire-based fantasy/romance novels by the American author Stephenie Meyer. It follows the life of Isabella "Bella" Swan, a teenager who moves to Forks, Washington, and finds her life radically changed when she falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. The series is told primarily from Bella's point of view, with the epilogue of Eclipse and a portion of Breaking Dawn being told from the viewpoint of character Jacob Black. Midnight Sun, if published, will be a retelling of the first book, Twilight, from Edward Cullen's point of view.
Since the release of the first novel Twilight in 2005 (12 years ago), the books have gained immense popularity and commercial success around the world. The series is most popular among young adults and the four books have won several awards, most notably the 2008 (9 years ago) British Book Award for "Children's Book of the Year" for Breaking Dawn, while the series as a whole won the 2009 (8 years ago) Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Book.
As of 2009 (8 years ago), the books have sold over 70 million copies worldwide with translations into 37 different languages around the globe. The four Twilight books have consecutively set records as the biggest selling novels of 2008 (9 years ago) on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list and have spent over 102 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Series Books.
Thus far, the first three books are being made into a series of motion pictures (wallpaper) by Summit Entertainment; the movie adaptation of Twilight was released in 2008 (9 years ago) and the second, New Moon (7 walls), will be released on Nov. 20, 2009 (8 years ago).
PlotSeventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan moves to Forks, a small town near Washington state's rugged coast, to live with her father, Charlie, after her mother remarries to a minor league baseball player. She is quickly befriended by many students at her new high school, but she is intrigued by the mysterious and aloof Cullen siblings. Bella sits next to Edward Cullen in biology class on her first day of school; he appears to be disgusted by her, much to Bella's confusion. A few days later, Bella is nearly struck by a van in the school parking lot. Edward inexplicably moves from some feet away and stops the vehicle with his hand. He later refuses to explain this act to Bella and warns her against befriending him.
After much research, Bella eventually discovers that Edward is a vampire, though he only consumes animal blood. The pair fall in love and Edward introduces Bella to his vampire family, Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie. Soon after, three nomadic vampires—James, Victoria, and Laurent—arrive. James, a tracker vampire, is intrigued by Edward's protectiveness over a human and wants to hunt Bella for sport. Edward and his family risk their lives to protect her, but James tracks Bella to Phoenix where she is hiding and lures her into a trap by claiming he is holding her mother hostage. James attacks Bella and bites her wrist, but Edward, along with the other Cullen family members, arrives before he can kill her. James is destroyed, and Edward sucks James's venom from Bella's wrist, preventing her from becoming a vampire. A severely injured Bella is taken to a hospital. Upon returning to Forks, Bella and Edward attend their school prom. While there, Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, which Edward refuses. The movie ends with Victoria secretly watching the pair dancing, plotting revenge for her lover James' murder.
DevelopmentStephenie Meyer's paranormal romance novel Twilight was originally optioned by Paramount Pictures' MTV movies in Apr. 2004 (13 years ago), but the screenplay that was subsequently developed was substantially different from its source material. When Summit Entertainment reinvented itself as a full-service studio in Apr. 2007 (10 years ago), it began development of a movie adaptation anew, having picked up the rights from Paramount (who coincidentally had made an unrelated movie with the same title in 1998 (19 years ago)) in a turnaround. The company perceived the movie as an opportunity to launch a franchise based on the success of Meyer's book and its sequels. That summer, Catherine Hardwicke was hired to direct the movie and Melissa Rosenberg to write the script.
Rosenberg developed an outline by the end of August, and collaborated with Hardwicke on writing the screenplay during the following month. "[She] was a great sounding board and had all sorts of brilliant ideas.... I'd finish off scenes and send them to her, and get back her notes." Due to the impending WGA strike, Rosenberg worked full-time to finish the screenplay before Oct. 31. In adapting the novel, she "had to condense a great deal." Some characters from the novel were not featured in the screenplay, whereas some characters were combined into others. "[O]ur intent all along was to stay true to the book," Rosenberg explained, "and it has to do less with adapting it word for word and more with making sure the characters' arcs and emotional journeys are the same." Hardwicke suggested the use of voice over to convey the protagonist's internal dialogue – since the novel is told from Bella's point of view – and she sketched some of the storyboards during pre-production.
CastingKristen Stewart (43 walls) was on the set of Adventureland when Hardwicke visited her for an informal screen test which "captivated" the director. Hardwicke did not initially choose Robert Pattinson for the role of Edward Cullen, but after an audition at her home with Stewart, he was selected. Pattinson was unfamiliar with the novel series prior to his screen test but read the books later on. Meyer allowed him to view a manuscript of the unfinished Midnight Sun, which chronicles the events in Twilight from Edward's point of view. Fan reaction to Pattinson's casting as Edward was initially negative; Rachelle Lefèvre remarked that "[e]very woman had their own Edward [that] they had to let go of before they could open up to [him], which they did." Meyer was "excited" and "ecstatic" in response to the casting of the two main characters.
Peter Facinelli was not originally cast as Carlisle Cullen. "[Hardwicke] liked [him], but there was another actor that the studio was pushing for." For unknown reasons, that actor was not able to play the part, and Facinelli was selected in his place. The choice of Ashley Greene (18 walls) to portray Alice Cullen was the subject of fan criticism to some extent due to Greene being 7 inches (18 cm) taller than her character as described in the novel. Meyer had also stated that Rachael Leigh Cook (10 walls) resembled her vision of Alice. Nikki Reed (6 walls) had previously worked with Hardwicke on thirteen, which they wrote together, and Lords of Dogtown. "I don't want to say it's a coincidence, because we do work well together, and we have a great history. I think we make good work, but it's more that the people that hire [Hardwicke] to direct a movie of theirs [have] most likely seen her other work."
Kellan Lutz was in Africa shooting the HBO miniseries Generation Kill when the auditions for the character of Emmett Cullen were conducted. The role had already been cast by the time that production ended in dec. 2007 (10 years ago), but the actor who had been selected "fell through"; Lutz subsequently auditioned and was flown to Oregon, where Hardwicke personally chose him. Rachelle Lefèvre was interested in pursuing a role in the movie because Hardwicke was attached to the project as director; there was also "the potential to explore a character, hopefully, over three films"; and she wanted to portray a vampire. "[She] thought that vampires were basically the best metaphor for human anxiety and questions about being alive." Christian Serratos initially auditioned for Jessica Stanley, but she "fell totally in love with Angela" after reading the books, and successfully took advantage of a later opportunity to audition for Angela Weber. The role of Jessica Stanley went to Anna Kendrick, who got the part after two mix-and-match auditions with various actors.
Filming and post-productionPrincipal photography took 44 days, after more than a week of rehearsals, and completed on May 2, 2008 (9 years ago). Similar to her directorial debut thirteen, Hardwicke opted for an extensive use of hand-held cinematography to make the movie "feel real". Meyer visited the production set three times, and was consulted on different aspects of the story; she also has a brief cameo in the film. Cast members who portrayed vampires avoided sunlight to make their skin pale, though makeup was also applied for that effect, and wore contact lenses: "We did the golden color because the Cullens have those golden eyes. And then, when we're hungry, we have to pop the black ones in," Facinelli explained. They also participated in rehearsals with a dance choreographer and observed the physicality of different panthera to make their bodily movements more graceful.
Scenes were filmed primarily in Portland, Oregon. Stunt work was done mainly by the cast. The fight sequence between Gigandet and Pattinson's characters in a ballet studio, which was filmed during the first week of production, involved a substantial amount of wire work due to the fact that the vampires in the story have superhuman strength and speed. Gigandet incorporated some mixed martial arts fighting moves in this sequence, which also involved chicken and honey as substitutes for flesh. Bella, the protagonist, is unconscious during these events, and since the novel is told from her point of view, such action sequences are illustrative and unique to the film. Pattinson noted that maintaining one's center of gravity is difficult when doing wire work "because you have to really fight against it as well as letting it do what it needs to do." Lefèvre found the experience disorienting since forward motion is out of one's control in such work.
Instead of shooting at Forks High School itself, scenes taking place at the school were filmed at Kalama High School and Madison High School. Other scenes were also filmed in St. Helens, Oregon, and Hardwicke conducted some reshooting in Pasadena, California, in August. The studio intended to create a series of at least three movies based on Meyer's books, and Summit had optioned New Moon (7 walls) by Oct. 2008 (9 years ago). Twilight was originally scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on dec. 12, 2008 (9 years ago), but its release date was changed to Nov. 21 after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (7 walls) was rescheduled for an opening in Jul. 2009 (8 years ago). Two teaser trailers, as well as some additional scenes, were released for the film, as well as a final trailer which was released on Oct. 9. A 15-minute excerpt of Twilight was presented during the International Rome movie Festival in Italy. The movie received a rating of PG-13 from the Motion picture (wallpaper) Association of America for "some violence and a scene of sensuality". It is rated 12A in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
MusicThe score for Twilight was composed by Carter Burwell, with the rest of the soundtrack chosen by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas. Meyer was consulted on the soundtrack, which includes music by Muse and Linkin Park (8 walls), bands she listened to while writing the novels. The original soundtrack was released on Nov. 4 by Chop Shop Records in conjunction with Atlantic Records. The soundtrack debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 for the chart week of Nov. 22.
ReceptionBased on 187 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes as of Feb. 14, 2009 (8 years ago), the movie has received an overall "Rotten" rating of 49%, with a weighted average score of 5.5/10. In describing the critical consensus, it stated: "Having lost much of its bite transitioning to the big screen, Twilight will please its devoted fans, but do little for the uninitiated." By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 56 from the 37 reviews it collected, indicating "mixed or average" reviews. New York Press critic Armond White called the movie "a genuine pop classic", and praised Hardwicke for turning "Meyer's book series into a Brontë-esque vision." Roger Ebert gave the movie two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "I saw it at a sneak preview. Last time I saw a movie in that same theater, the audience welcomed it as an opportunity to catch up on gossip, texting, and laughing at private jokes. This time the audience was rapt with attention". In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan wrote, "Twilight is unabashedly a romance. All the story's inherent silliness aside, it is intent on conveying the magic of meeting that one special person you've been waiting for. Maybe it is possible to be 13 and female for a few hours after all". USA Today gave the movie two out of four stars and Claudia Puig wrote, "Meyer is said to have been involved in the production of Twilight, but her novel was substantially more absorbing than the unintentionally funny and quickly forgettable film". Entertainment Weekly gave the movie a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman praised Hardwicke's direction: "She has reconjured Meyer's novel as a cloudburst mood piece filled with stormy skies, rippling hormones, and understated visual effects".
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