Laremy Legel: When I talked to you for Twilight you were just dipping your toes into the fandom, and what it was all about. Do you check fan sites these days?
Melissa Rosenberg: I stay off the Internet, because I’m very sensitive to commentary. There could be 10 comments of “Fabulous job!” and one “She’s horrible!” and it completely throws me. When you’re writing you’re constantly fighting demons to sit down and do what you do. If you listen to the voices outside your head, in addition to the ones inside your head, you’ll never get anything done. There’s enough inner strife.
I do, however, maintain a fan site, where people are mostly kind. It’s interesting reading their comments, because they talk about what’s important to them, what things really register, what things I need to capture. So I do rely on that.
LL: You’ve been writing Dexter and The Twilight Saga for the better part of four years now. How do you maintain a balance with your personal life? Or is it just about “The jobs are available now, I’m going to work as hard as I can right now because I don’t know if I’ll get another shot like this?”
MR: It’s the second one. There is no life balance. I’ve been working for many years and I’m well aware of how rare an opportunity it is to have even one of these projects available, much less both. It’s an extraordinary opportunity. You just don’t walk away from opportunities like that because you’re too tired or it’s too much work. I had to grasp them both, and fortunately I have a very understanding husband and very understanding friends.
LL: If an adaptation felt to you like an R rating, but the studio wanted you to bring it in at a PG-13, would that be doable?
MR: Oh yeah. It’s completely doable. You don’t sacrifice story by cutting language. Nor do you sacrifice story by showing less blood or gore, or whatever it is that’s bringing you to an R rating. It doesn’t hurt it. When Dexter was aired on CBS they had to re-cut some of it for network television and all they had to do was cut some language. There’s more blood and gore in an episode of C.S.I., though of course Dexter is more disturbing. Not because of what you see, but because of what’s implied. I don’t think you take away from suspense or character by altering a few things like that.
LL: Having read Breaking Dawn, where things get ratcheted up a notch, do you still go for that PG-13 rating?
MR: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s your audience. In this series you don’t sacrifice anything. There are some movies that wouldn’t play at PG-13, like The Hangover, but this is just not one of them for me. Again, if you’re capturing character, emotion, and emotional journey, you’re OK.
I need to find that fan site that she has, so I can go on there and see what the fans are really saying. The rest of the interview is quite lovely. Melissa had some really cool things to say about Taylor Lautner, and his transformation from ‘Twilight’ to ‘New Moon’. You can check it out here.