Fearnet Exclusive Interview With Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg On Eclipse

524 Comments June 17, 2010 by Filed Under: Melissa Rosenberg

Eclipse MR1 280x210 Fearnet Exclusive Interview With Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg On Eclipse melissa rosenberg Fearnet.com recently spoke to The Twilight Saga screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg about Eclipse.

News flash: The same writer who gave Dexter its shocking season finale is also the one responsible for the swoons you’ll hear coming from theaters on June 30, the day that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens across the globe. That’s right — serial killers and sparkly vampires both live in the mind of Melissa Rosenberg, who’s scripted all three Twilight films to date (and is currently writing the two-part Breaking Dawn films to close out the franchise).

Rosenberg worked closely with novel author Stephenie Meyer to adapt the third book, Eclipse, in which Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) finds herself torn between Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) as a vicious army of vampires led by Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) comes to kill her. With the threat of Victoria and her protégé, Riley (Xavier Samuel) looming overhead, plus horrific flashbacks to Jasper and Rosalie’s origins and a number of head-ripping fight sequences, Eclipse is by far the darkest film in the saga thus far.

I caught up with Rosenberg to discuss her work on Eclipse and the impact that critics, fans, and Stephenie Meyer herself had on the ways the film differs from the book. She also shared her thoughts on where to split Breaking Dawn into two films, how she intends to stay true to the novel’s gory details, and — oh yes — I made sure to champion the grassroots Twi-hard campaign to see lots and lots of feathers. (Read my previous New Moon chat with Rosenberg here.

One of the additions to the movie that wasn’t necessarily in the book was Bella’s big “I’m confident!” speech at the end. How important was it to include a scene like that in the film?

You’re the first person to notice that! The character of Bella in the movies, and as portrayed by Kristen, has taken on a life of her own in certain ways. She’s a strong character, so it was about really being true to the character as it developed in the movies. She just struck me as someone for whom that would be true. It goes to the bigger theme of the movie; it’s not just a choice between Jacob and Edward, it’s about her choosing who she is, what kind of life she wants to lead. So it was really about addressing the bigger themes and staying true to the character of Bella as she has evolved in these films.

You’ve now written three full films in the franchise; how much has each script responded to critiques, from fans and/or critics, of the previous films?

I’m not sure; everybody who’s involved in them, we really try to do our best to stay true to the book. There are going to be some people who don’t like that and some people who do, and if you start responding to the people who don’t like it you start pissing off the people who did. So you have to be true to your own creative instincts for what works and what doesn’t. If people ignored the movie and boycotted it coming in and it didn’t do well, then I think we would be listening. But the movies have done tremendously, so obviously somebody likes them! So we keep going with our gut.

Eclipse really ramps up the action from the previous two films — it’s darker, what with all these vampires going a-killin’ and coming after Bella. When you were writing the script, how much did elements of horror factor into your vision?

They factor in a lot. The books have horror elements in them, so a lot of time for me it was threading those through from the beginning. The book lends itself to really building a suspenseful situation, keeping the threat hanging over the entire time. So it was kind of fun going down that path.

How early on did Stephenie share with you the events and character details that made it into her new Twilight novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner?

It would have been in the outline stage. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to introduce Riley; that was one of my first ideas: let’s open on Riley and how he was created. Coming up with a back story for him and all of that. I think I had probably finished a draft of the outline, it was somewhere around then, and I was asking [Stephenie] about what the newborns were up to — what was going on for them while Bella’s living her life, because they’re living it simultaneously? And that’s when she shared it with me and I was really able to fill out some of their activities and how Riley was directing them. So it was right there in the beginning.

I read it the other weekend, because I’m a nerd –

[Laughs] You and me both!

In reading the novella, I learned so many new things about vampire science in Twilight, like how vampires re-attach their limbs — who knew?

Exactly! I didn’t until I read that. And the underwater stuff — in the movie, there’s this great sequence where the newborns come out of the water; that was her visual, absolutely. I was trying to figure out, okay so these vampires are coming after the Cullens — how do they get there, do they take a boat, or they fly? And she’s like, ‘No, man…’ That was her visual right from the beginning.

It struck me that perhaps because of the timing of your writing the script and Stephenie finishing the novella, that you included events from Bree Tanner but tweaked them a bit — for example, in the movie Riley is more present, but Victoria and the Volturi’s motivations aren’t explained as clearly. How does that change the idea of authorship, where you’re writing scenes that didn’t necessarily happen in Stephenie’s books?

I guess I’m more attuned to Stephenie’s mythology as we go through, so I feel more confident to invent in her world. I’m always very cautious about not violating her mythology, and I think that’s the most important thing; when you’re talking about sci-fi/fantasy stories, the rules of that world have to be very solid and very intricate and very well designed, and Stephenie has done that. That is her genius. I now have a much better sense of what the boundaries of that world are, so within that world I can be let loose. She gave me permission, and I think I gave myself permission, to do that, moreso in this book than any of the others. That said, it was always very important to me to stay true to the book, so there was a little bit of give and take, but it just sort of lent itself to a little more expansion. It was very much a dance between her and I.

You two seem so collaborative at this point.

You know, it’s a blessing. She could be one of those writers who’s like, ‘It has to be this way, this is the way I saw it,’ and she’s not at all. She’s not precious about it. As long as it’s not violating the franchise, violating the characters and the mythology, she’s really open. She’s just a really great creative partner. It’s great having another writer to bounce stuff around with.

To read more of the interview with Melissa about Breaking Dawn, head on over to Breakingdawnmovie.org

[source: Fearnet.com. Thanks LMC!]

Category: Melissa Rosenberg

  • TeamIdDoRPatz

    Thanks Angelyna!

  • TeamIdDoRPatz

    Thanks Wifey =)

  • TeamIdDoRPatz

    Thanks Wifey =)

  • leahreallyitis

    go for it!! I'll help ya!! that woman is a real piece of work!!

  • leahreallyitis

    okay i will smack her for ya too!

  • mayra♥Robstendrivingmeinsane♥

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  • LuvsJasper

    YES!!!!!!!!! make one cuzz i dont know how give me the link and i
    will post EVERYWHERE i CAN!!!! see if we can do something

  • Addicttwilight

    MR has no professional training as a writer. She's only been trained as a dancer. Why would anyone put her in charge of such an important job? She clearly has demonstrated that she does not have what it takes, but Summit is so desperate to make fast cash that it can't be bothered to find a decent writer. MR needs to take some writing classes, or better yet, go back to college and earn a degree that involves writing. Her dialogue makes me wince; it's so bad. I know children who can write better dialogue. I was even thinking about watching New Moon with the sound off so I could still enjoy the story but not have to hear her horrible dialogue. Maybe she's good at other kinds of writing, but she's ruined this screen adaptation of the books. She would have done better to use SM's dialogue than to write the retarded cliched crap that she keeps serving us. it's nauseating.

  • Anonymous

    I have looked it up. I’m just as mad as all of you. I think its sh!t that so much of our beloved Twilight is f***ed up. The reason why MR is the screan writer is because if you all remeber correctly, Twilight was a small little movie, with bidget the size of an ant. They couldn’t get anyone better. There are screan writters who would have been WAY better, but thats not what we got. So its doesn’t help if we trash the movie. You all go see it, you all go buy it. It’s a cycle we are stuck in. There isn’t much we can do.

  • Anonymous

    you r so right …

  • EAD_TwistAArmpitHair

    Yes. True that, hon. True that.

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