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Comic-Con: Bill Condon Talks Twilight Breaking Dawn, Horror, Rating, Intensity

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 21, 2011 at 10:30AM

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn kicked off Comic-Con as the fans who had started lining up on Sunday finally got into the first Comic-Con panel in Hall H Thursday morning after an early breakfast and visit from the cast, including stars Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson, who signed autographs and took pictures with the twihards. As the stars gave a press conference, I sat down with director Bill Condon for a flip cam interview, below.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn kicked off Comic-Con as the fans who had started lining up on Sunday finally got into the first Comic-Con panel in Hall H Thursday morning after an early breakfast and visit from the cast, including stars Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson, who signed autographs and took pictures with the twihards. As the stars gave a press conference, I sat down with director Bill Condon for a flip cam interview, below.

Condon (Dreamgirls) had been eager to direct a horror movie, and landed the finale to this mother of all horror epics, which he and Summit agreed to break into two parts, Harry Potter-style. "It's all third act, which does make it easy," he says, "and scary too, there are some pretty crazy things." Condon will find out next week, when he shows his cut of Breaking Dawn, Part One to the ratings board, whether the penultimate Twilight film, which opens November 18, will earn an R or a PG-13. The scene where Bella and Edward have sex for the first time features some nudity, and when she gives birth to their baby, there's blood flying around the room, he says, although "there's more in the area of suggestion. It's up to them to decide." In any case, the movie will be PG-13, Summit confirms.

More details and spoilers below for those who have not read the books.

Condon says he went for grown-up emotion here--aimed squarely at Twilight's female audience. If Catherine Hardwicke was able to channel the teen POV in the first film, Condon is revealing the couple as adults: falling in love, getting married, living together, having a child, "set against a big mass-market studio movie," he says.

But, befitting a vampire/human liaison, they don't have your ordinary kid; they have no idea what is growing super-fast inside Bella, eating away at her--and in the next installment, Bella becomes a vampire. Condon is relieved that he and Summit finally decided not to shoot the final film in 3-D. In the arena of dramatic intense emotion, 2-D works best, he says.

At the Hall H panel, the cast praised Condon's handling of that scene, which many readers of the book have speculated about how it would be done. It's where the entire series was heading, and puts Bella and Edward into a situation beyond their control. Pattinson talked about how much he enjoyed playing more human emotions, like bonding with a baby, which requires "improvising," he said.

One Summit exec who's seen the film says she cried five times, especially during Bella and Edward's wedding; the clip shown in Hall H of their moonlit honeymoon in Rio was delightful, as Bella and Edward decide to take a nude swim. In Hall H one questioner complimented Pattinson on his back muscles. "I love you," another girl told Lautner. As always, frequent screams interrupted the proceedings.


This article is related to: Festivals, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Video, Interviews , Comic-Con, Twilight, Horror , Romance, Books, Rob Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Summit


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.