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Things I Learned at the 'Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two' Premiere: Lionsgate, Cast & Crew Face New Dawn

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by Anne Thompson
November 13, 2012 12:57 PM
17 Comments
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Taylor Lautner, Stephenie Meyer, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on the "Breaking Dawn Part 2" red carpet Christopher Polk

"What are you doing here?" demanded Bill Condon, who is about to be set free from "Twilight" jail, having directed the last two in the series of five that has generated $2.5 billion worldwide so far. "This isn't an Oscar movie!"

"I always go to 'Twilight' premieres," I told him. "It's a ritual." Back at ShoWest in 2007, new Summit co-chairman Rob Friedman tipped me to Stephenie Meyer's new young adult franchise about teenage vampires. It sounded commercial to me. And so it was as I tracked Summit's progress into production with Catherine Hardwicke, young leads Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson, and eventually, four sequels of varying quality directed by Chris Weitz, David Slade and Condon. Summit masterfully manipulated the media (especially cheerleaders EW Magazine and MTV) and what became known as Twihards; they fanned the flames and milked the series for all it was worth, rushing each installment out, trying to reach fanboys as well as women and girls (with worst results on "New Moon"). But Condon got them back on track, offering a mix of operatic melodrama and action.

In the "Breaking Dawn" finale, the love story of Edward and Bella is still front and center; Bella is a new vampire mom with glowing eyes who has to learn how to control her strength and bloodthirsty urges as she meets her half human/half vampire daughter Renesmee. (Stewart talks about the role here.) The filmmakers struggled with how to show the child, who grows swiftly from infant to little girl. They felt strongly that she should have the same face as actress Mackenzie Foy and opted for "Benjamin Button" CG face replacement. Well, Condon is no David Fincher. Summit spent a ton of money and anxiety on that CG baby, whch looks creepy. They should have used a real one.

What they did right is a gory battle sequence that puts the audience on edge--they roared with disbelief at the premiere at LA Live Monday night-- because it's not handled the way it was in the books. 'Nuff said. (UPDATE: Here's Variety's review.)

Thus the entire gang moves on. What's next? Willowy Saoirse Ronan was on hand talking to a svelte Meyer about her new movie "The Host," Andrew Niccol's dystopian thriller that she promoted at Comic-Con last July; it opens March 2013.

In the post-"Twilight" universe, the now-merged Lionsgate/Summit is leaning on another young adult series, "The Hunger Games" trilogy, which has grossed nearly $650 million worldwide. The Francis Lawrence-directed "Catching Fire" is already in production with another two-part finale ramping up, also directed by Lawrence. Lionsgate has movie rights to several other young adult franchises, most notably Veronica Roth's "Divergent" trilogy, set in a dystopian Chicago. Lionsgate/Summit production chief Erik Feig, who discovered "Twilight," picked up the rights before "Divergent" became a young adult bestseller--selling more quickly than 'Twilight." Other possibilities include Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus," and Patrick Ness' "Chaos Walking" trilogy.

Lionsgate also has coming up "Star Trek" co-writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman producing Orson Scott Card's fantasy "Ender's Game," starring Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley (November 1, 2013).

Kristen Stewart is pushing her sultry role in "On the Road," which played well at AFI FEST, trimmed down from the version that met mixed response at Cannes. Still to come, Stewart is attached to both Scott Cooper's "Lie Down in Darkness" and writer-director Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's "Focus" which has Ben Affleck attached to star.

Rob Pattinson changed out of his green suit before coming to the party wearing a more casual red sweater and baseball cap, saying he has three movies to shoot before he even gets to "Queen of the Desert," in which he plays T.E. Lawrence opposite Naomi Watts' Gertude Bell.  "I wanted to work with Werner Herzog," he told me. He has no idea if he'll go blond to play Lawrence of Arabia. And the role is being expanded for him. Still to come, Pattinson is attached to David Michod's "The Rover," James Marsh's "Hold on to Me," David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" and Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire's "Mission: Blacklist."

Taylor Lautner has the most to lose going forward. His manager told me that they're looking to place him in supporting roles in strong ensembles with top-notch directors. Yes, that is the best strategy. Luckily, "Stretch Armstrong" has gone by the wayside. Still to come, Lautner is attached to actioneer "Tracers," untitled projects with Michael Bay and Gus van Sant, and he has a small part in "Grown Ups 2."

Bill Condon is prepping and casting his next, the DreamWorks WikiLeaks movie about whistleblower Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his mentor Daniel Domscheit-Berg (James McAvoy), who wrote "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World's Most Dangerous Website." Josh Singer is adapting that book as well as "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy," by U.K. reporters David Leigh and Luke Harding. Assange starts out in the guise of noble crusader in the war on information but eventually falls prey to powermongering and paranoia.

Condon plans to start shooting in nine weeks in Berlin and Brussells with a European cast and crew, he said. McAvoy's upcoming schedule includes Bryan Singer's superhero sequel "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Steve Golin, Michael Sugar and Bard Dorros will produce the pic for Anonymous Content.

17 Comments

  • chanda w. | December 10, 2012 4:03 AMReply

    I am so sick of hollywood palm readers, predicting how hard Taylor Lautner will have it ....after Twilight. He's handsome, talented and humble. If anything he is more prepared than the others because he knows that the hype is B.S. In ten years he'll barely be 30, still looking good on the big screen.

  • kristian | December 1, 2012 1:16 AMReply

    i love you with all my heart

  • Bridget | November 16, 2012 3:17 PMReply

    Lets wish them the best. Rob, Kris and Taylor did a terrific job in the Twilight Saga - despite the clumpy moments - and they don't deserve all the snobby hate they get. Oh, and by the way, Josh is great. Unlike so many other media hags, he treats Rob and Kristen as human beings not tabloid targets. That says something about the man.

  • Reuben | November 14, 2012 9:22 PMReply

    Horowitz thinks he works for NYT not MTV. Big difference.

  • Kanerwa | November 14, 2012 5:39 AMReply

    Is Kristen attached to Lie Down in Darkness?Does it mean she is casted to play Peyton?Because Robert are gonna play in The Rover,Hold on to Me,Maps to the Stars,Mission:Blacklist,Queen of the Desert.

  • TheyAintPlaying | November 14, 2012 4:54 AMReply

    Glad to see Ms Thompson (Stanwyck) added Focus to Stewart's slate. A writer of this caliber that can also listen to commenters, is why she is one of the best in the field. I also see Horowitz has disputed Thompson's 'cheerleading' comment on Twitter. The guy's great but he can't really be serious about MTV caring about anything but desperately chasing the 'youth' vote can he? Delusional much.

  • Mr Pink | November 17, 2012 12:02 PM

    @Robin.

    MTV were doing 'weekly updates' on the filming because they wanted a piece of that audience, not because they thought the film had artistic merit. That's what Thompson's talking about. MTV's support wasn't about quality, but numbers.

    The network that inflicted Jersey Shore on the world is the death rattle of televisual art.

  • TheyAintPlaying | November 15, 2012 10:39 AM

    @Robin

    You could only be sure of that if you spoke to Horowitz, or are Horowitz. Which is it?

  • Robin | November 15, 2012 6:27 AM

    Pretty sure Josh wasn't upset by the cheerleading comment. Rather by the insinuation that MTV was being manipulated by Summit. Face it, MTV knew what Summit had in Twilight and how voracious the fans were before Summit even knew what they had.

    They were doing weekly updates on the filming before 99% of the media had even heard of the film.

  • com | November 13, 2012 7:09 PMReply

    what does it mean? "And the role is being expanded for him."

  • Non | November 13, 2012 6:29 PMReply

    You are hard on Lautner, but how many of Pattinson's and Stewart projects will come to fruition? The only carved in stone next is Bill Condon's Wikileaks movie.

  • TheyAintPlaying | November 13, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    Pattinson is not doing Unbound Captives and Hate Mail is still unknown. What IS in the works for him is a film about The Band.

    P.S Focus should be added to Stewart's upcoming.

  • TheyAintPlaying | November 14, 2012 5:28 AM

    Obviously The Band homage adds to Pattinson's pre-mentioned slate of The Rover, Mission Blacklist, Hold On To Me, Queen of the Desert and Maps to the Stars. That makes 6. He mentioned one more. That title is still to come ...

  • sara | November 13, 2012 4:27 PMReply

    rop pattinson next movies

    1_Mission: Blacklist
    2_Maps to the Stars
    3_Queen of the Desert
    4_The Rover
    5_Hold on to Me
    6_the band
    7_Hate Mail
    8_Unbound Captives

  • Zoe | November 13, 2012 3:35 PMReply

    Next up for Kristen Stewart: Focus w Ben Affleck, written & directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

  • Macdaddy | November 13, 2012 2:53 PMReply

    Yeah, Anne Thomson write 1000 words plus of great copy but ONE typo makes her subject to your jibes. Show some fucking respect brave, anonymous poster.

  • krain | November 13, 2012 2:18 PMReply

    'Jacob Lautner'...shows you still didn't learn the basics. Edit, edit, edit.

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