The “Twilight” movie series debuted at Comic-Con International in San Diego in 2008 with the first “Twilight” movie panel, but not everyone in the series’ main ensemble cast has been to Comic-Con, which is the largest annual gathering of fans of sci-fi, action, horror and fantasy entertainment. 2009’s “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (the second film in the series) was showcased at that year’s Comic-Con, but 2010’s “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” skipped Comic-Con in 2010, since “Eclipse” was released before Comic-Con happened that year. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” (the fourth film in the series) was promoted at Comic-Con 2011 on July 21 with a panel discussion featuring several stars of the film, including some who made their debut on the Comic-Con stage.
At its core, “Twilight” is essentially a love-triangle story between a vampire named Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson), his human soul mate Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart), and werewolf Jacob Black (played by Taylor Lautner), who is love with Bella, but she does not have the same feelings for him. Edward has a surrogate family of vampires that includes mother-figure Esme Cullen (played by Elizabeth Reaser), sister Alice Cullen (played by Ashley Greene) and sister Rosalie Hale (played by Nikki Reed), who have been in all of the “Twilight” movies. Jacob’s Wolf Pack includes Leah Clearwater (played by Julia Jones) and Seth Clearwater, Leah’s younger brother (played by Boo Boo Stewart), who were first introduced in “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”
“Twilight” panels are always one of the more high-profile draws at Comic-Con, since there there’s a lot of screaming, shrieks of excitement and joyful crying by fans during any group public appearance by the “Twilight” teen idols. At Comic-Con 2011, Reaser, Greene, Reed and Jones surprised “Twilight” fans waiting in line outside for in the early-morning hours by bring them coffee and breakfast, as well as signing autographs and taking photos with the fans. Despite some fans taking extreme measure to get into Comic-Con for the “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” panel by waiting in line hours or days in advance, there was still plenty of room as the panel began in the San Diego Convention Center’s Hall H, which seats about 5,000 people, and was about 75 percent full for the “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” panel. About two hours before the panel began, Reaser, Greene, Reed, Jones and Stewart sat down together for a press conference at a nearby hotel. This is what they said.
Is this your first time at Comic-Con?
Reaser: No, I came two years ago, but I came on a bus. I’ve never really done it for real. We just went just went out on the street did this thing with the fans [giving food to those who were camped out] at 6 in the morning. That was amazing. It felt like, “OK, we’re at Comic-Con?”
Greene: We’ve done panels but this is definitely starting off a lot more interesting because of the interaction with fans, bright and early.
Reed: I’ve been here before, but it’s sort of blurry. I haven’t dealt with panels. I’m very amused and entertained by people on the streets. I just wanted to get out there to see what’s going on.
Jones: This is my first Comic-Con in San Diego. I have a general sense that we’re in for a lot, even though I don’t know exactly what that is, although yesterday I saw people dressed as all kinds of things, like fruit Ninjas. So I’m excited.
Stewart: I came last year just as a fan to Comic-Con. But yeah, this is my first time doing panels.
What is it like to get the phone call that you were cast in a “Twilight” movie?
Greene: Amazing. I called my mom and dad right away. For me, it was really one of the first things I’ve done. And being a fan myself and getting into the mix of it was really exciting.
Reaser: When I got the offer I hadn’t read the books so I didn’t know what I was entering into, but I was excited to play a vegetarian vampire. And to play one character over a long period of time was so exciting.
Reed: It sort of developed and unfolded as the excitement has grown. It was probably different experience maybe for [she points to Jones and Stewart].
Jones: It’s funny because I’ve had a conversation with a bunch of cast members asking where we were when we got that call. And a lot of people on the first [“Twilight”] movie, their reaction was completely different to the call … I personally had this overwhelming sense that everything was going to completely change overnight. It was scary but very exciting.
Stewart: It was crazy. I didn’t get a call for a month after my audition so I was really depressed. But then I got the call from my agent, and it was pretty awesome. “New Moon” was coming out when I was auditioning for it. It was really cool. Then my mom made me do yard work when I was outside.
What was the feeling on the last day on the “Breaking Dawn” set?
Reaser: It was such a complicated experience, because we all had different wrap days— or at least a lot of us did. I happened to be there with Kellan [Lutz], Peter [Facinelli] and Jackson [Rathbone]. We had this weird, surreal experience with being left over in Canada. It was a night shoot and everybody else was gone, including [“Breaking Dawn” director] Bill Condon. It was this weird thing where I had to finish these stunts.
Peter and I had a little dinner together in Vancouver. It was one of those things where you can’t capture [it]. It’s just so weird to end something. I don’t think it hit any of us yet. We were sort of in shock. But I also feel like we knew we’d be promoting the movie for a few more years so it’s not really over yet. [She whispers] it’s never going to end.
Do you think the “Breaking Dawn” movies will be the end of the “Twilight” saga or will there be a spinoff?
Greene: Who knows? The fans are certainly passionate. There’s definitely an opportunity for it. But as far as we know, we’re finished.
Reaser: I think Stephenie [Meyer, author of the “Twilight” books] is done with us.
Was there a noticeable difference working on scenes for “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” versus “Breaking Dawn — Part 2?
Greene: We shot them all together. We had to play close attention to make sure we knew where our characters were at certain parts of the film. There were some parts where we were filming whatever we shot in that location. It got a little tricky.
Reaser: I thought of it in terms of, “Which uncomfortable shoes am I wearing today?” that’s how O knew which movie I was shooting.
Stewart: Bill Condon … is an awesome director.
Nikki, your Rosalie character is not very fond of Bella. In “Breaking Dawn,” much does Rosalie change in her relationship with Bella?
Reed: I think they find a middle ground so they understand each other. Rosalie wants to be a mom, so she finds a way to work through her anger to be that mom to Bella’s child, in a sense. It wasn’t been that bad between them. A lot of it is implied but you don’t see much of it …
Ashley, how do you feel about the “Twilight” movies coming to an end?
Greene: The nice thing about this film is that it will be forever and it will always be a piece of my heart. I’ve grown up a little bit playing this character
What has been your favorite line so far?
Reed: My favorite thing was when I said to Bella, “I was a bit theatrical back then.”
Reaser: I can’t remember a scene. There was one that was deleted in the first movie that was our little sexy scene that they cut out. I remember that was a good scene. I kept wanting to be more sexy than Peter [Facinelli] did. [‘Twilight” director] Catheirne Hardwicke kept going, “Do something hot,” and [somebody] is going to go, “No, do something else now.” Peter was like “No, no, no.”
Greene: I don’t know. Alice is always seemed to be saying “Bella!”
Jones: My character has some mean one liners … I’m trying to think. I’m thinking of one has to do with Bella being dead already.
Stewart: In “Eclipse,” I didn’t say a lot. When I say “Jake!”
Before you came on board with the “Twilight” series, were you a fan of vampires of werewolves?
Reaser: I was a fan of vampires.
Greene: There’s something very seductive about vampires.
Reed: No. I just didn’t think much about them, to be honest. I’m wasn’t a fan but I think it’s cool now.
Jones: I’m probably more like Nikki. I hadn’t thought about it much … but I’m nerdy about pop culture, so I appreciate it.
Stewart: Yeah, I like a lot of fantasy stuff.
Fans are looking forward to the Edward Cullen/Bella Sawn wedding scene in “Breaking Dawn.” What was it like on set watching that scene?
Greene: It’s weird watching someone walk down the aisle. At least filming-wise, we do have the most fun when we’re all together. That was the nice that we were all together. It reminded me of the baseball scene [in “Twilight”].
Reaser: It’s so beautiful. It really looks like a dream wedding. I don’t think I’m allowed to say anything about it. I want to tell you about how amazing it was, but I can’t. And Alice planned it all. Mainly I did, but I give her all the credit.
Greene: The perfect mother!
Stewart: I just thought it was really cold outside. I was sitting in the back freezing cold.
Reaser: Weren’t you wearing clothes though?
Stewart: Yeah, but you guys were wearing less
If you could walk around Comic-Con anonymously, what would you like to check out in exhibition area? And would you want to dress up as a particular character?
Reaser: I’d like to dress up as batman.
Greene: I’d dress up as an angry bird.
Reed: I did a thing for college humor with Peter Facinelli, and we played the Wonder Twins. It was a lot of fun. I definitely felt inspired for Halloween …
Stewart: I’d have to go as a zombie.
You mentioned going out to talk to fans who’ve been waiting outside for hours your Comic-Con panel. Would you camp put for hours for anything?
Stewart: “The Lord of the Rings.”
Greene: I haven’t had something like that. That’s why I have so much respect for our fans. It’s kind of amazing that they found something they’re so passionate about.
Reaser: If I knew the White Stripes were going to come to the tent. The [“Twilight” fans camped out at Comic-Con] didn’t know we were coming. That’s amazing to me, But if I had known the White Stripes [would say hello to fans camped out to see them], I would. But I’d like to be under safari tents.
In “Breaking Dawn,” there are some actors who are new to the “Twilight” franchise. Are there any of those actors who shared some favorite scenes with you?
Reaser: The Egyptians were cool. There were all these international vampires all of the sudden: very different, sexy vampires. The Denali sisters with their leather jackets and their fur. They were so turned out. We were like, “We’re the Cullens. What’s going on here?” And those nutty Romanian guys: their outfits were very S&M inspired. A lot of great, great new characters. It was really fun.
Reed: Lee Pace was funny.
Stewart: Maggie Grace. She was cool. It was so cool meeting her. She was in the movie “Taken.” I was like “Oh my gosh, this is so cool!”
Did you guys take any souvenirs from the “Breaking Dawn” set?
Greene: Reaser, you’d take your wig wouldn’t you?
Reaser: I took socks just because I needed them.
Greene: I took an American Apparel sweater.
Reed: I always felt like I would get in trouble if I took anything. Kristen took my necklace. I was going to take it otherwise.
Jones: I took a ton of makeup. If I could’ve taken something I’d take the cut offs. I could wear cut offs every day.
Stewart: I took a lot of craft services in my stomach. Kidding. If could’ve taken something, I would’ve taken my shoes. My shoes were really comfortable on set.
What has been your most memorable encounter with a “Twilight” fan?
Jones: I saw a woman once who had a night gown on. She glued cotton and feathers to her skin and painted bruises all over. And I was like “What is that?” I realized she was dressed us as Bella, post-Brazil. That wasn’t today. That was another day.
Stewart: One time I was doing pictures and there was a lady in her 40s. And after the picture she turned and asked if I wanted to make out. I was in shock and she awkwardly walked away.
Reaser: How old was she?
Stewart: [He pauses.] She was a lady.
Reaser: The weirdest encounters are when people talk about the young men’s bodies. You know, when Taylor was still a boy, and much older ladies were talking about his body. It was crazy.
Ashley, we’ve seen a lot of changes in your wig that you wear as Alice Cullen. What led to the latest shorn crop?
Greene: For me, that’s what I’ve always had in my mind. Bill Condon had the same view. I wanted to make her look more modern. With every installment of the saga, we were trying to get it exactly right and see how much we could push our luck. But I was very excited and working with Bill and the hair and makeup team to make Alice’s look a little more modern.
For more info: “Twilight” movie website
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