By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 23, 2009 at 6:17AM
About 600 people camped overnight to get into the Twilight: New Moon panel, which started at 1:45 PM in Hall H. Some came from as far away as the Philippines. But first there was a press conference at the Biltmore Hilton adjacent to the gigantic blocks long convention enter, which at 9 Thursday morning was already a sea of jostling people.
I drove down this morning and parked at Petco, grabbed my badge without much fuss, and headed for the Twilight: New Moon press conference. And at 1:45 PM Kristen Stewart, Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner said all the same things again. A lot of the conversation was about the difference between working with Catherine Hardwicke and Chris Weitz. Stewart suggested that Hardwicke was more "impulsive" and fast and reactive. Pattinson said she used more fast shooting and hand-held cameras, and said he preferred Weitz's more calm, smooth and "balletic" approach. The actors seemed to appreciate being looked after by a grown-up this time around, and indeed, the footage looked more studio-glossy. (I'll need to see the film.)
Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner form the romantic triangle of New Moon and the next film, Eclipse. Stewart (sporting her Joan Jett look) admitted that she enjoyed the acting challenge on New Moon, as her lovelorn character Bella is left behind by vampire Edward, who is trying to keep her safe. Lautner talked a lot about buffing up to play werewolf Jacob, who takes on the role of protector. He also kept saying how much he didn't want to disappoint fan expectations. In one scene, Jacob (Lautner) teaches Bella how to ride a motorcycle; she crashes when she sees Edward (Pattinson) hovering in the air. (This is how the film deals with is absence for much of the film. "I play a supporting role," Pattinson said, keeping things low-key.) Jacob whips off his shirt to wipe blood off Bella's face. The fans seemed impressed by his sixpack abs, but they really went nuts in the climatic second scene when Bella is rushing to save Edward as he stands pale and shirtless, about to step into the sunlight. The clip ended on the verge of their big reunion, which has already been broadcast across the web by a contingent of Twilight fans on vigil throughout all the filming. "They applaud after every take, like theater," said Weitz. There was something slightly anti-climactic about the proceedings. It's no longer innocent and new. As the actors kept saying, "it's a franchise." The fans screamed when Edward came on-screen, but the roar that went up this morning for Johnny Depp, who made a surprise appearance at Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland panel, was worthy of a real movie star.
I just greeted Avatar director Jim Cameron and producer Jon Landau as they arrived at the outdoor patio area next to the press rooms where the studios are running press conferences and roundtables. The Avatar panel goes on at 3 PM.
The New Moon stars arrive at the press conference:
Here's the press conference:
Lautner and Stewart talk to MSN's James Rocchi:
Here's the Comic-Con Hall H press conference: