Director Bill Condon at the Breaking Dawn Part 2 Press Junket
Director Bill Condon at the Breaking Dawn Part 2 Press Conference on November 1st.
We don’t have video of Bill’s press conference. Hypable did the liveblogging for his interview.
Question: What feelings do you have now that it’s closed?
Bill: Real challenge was making sure itw as a satisfying climax. The film opens with an overture with scenes from all five movies. I did this thing at the end that brings you back.Question: The visualization of the vampire’s powers… how did you bring those to the screen?Bill: Bella’s shield, something no one can seen, you had to bring that to the screen. It can’t just all be something that gets adjusted. Taking Bella’s power, I wanted to make it as subtle as possible. If you watch it, the first time it comes off her you see a bit of her shape. It feels like something that’s part of her. I didn’t want to do a Wizard of Oz bubble.. they all presented challenges. Alex’s power was the darkest power. Throughout, we tried to side with subtly.Question: The cast has grown. How was it introducing the characters and giving them time to be absorbed by the audience?Bill: This is the movie I had that chance. It was part of the casting process… realizing everyone had to pop in in a very short time. So by the time we got ot the field, we knew what they could do. I attribute it all to the gifts of the actors. They took it all so seriously and they all successfully managed to make their characters pop.Question: You haven’t directed all the films but you’ve seen all the films. Can you talk about the arc Bella goes through, and the performances you got from the characters – Bella more than any other goes through the most changes.Bill: I worship at the alter of Kristen Stewart. Her arc was pretty – it wasn’t that big arc across the first three movies. In Part 1 she fell in love with a guy she’s going to marry. We made Part 1 and Part 2 as one movie. And it speaks to the achievement of Kristen Stewart. It’s an amazing arc that she has across this, and it’s important to remember we shot it all at the same time. She’d go from filming as a badass warrior in the morning, and then emaciated in the afternoon (to film pregnancy) She has this extraordinary energy. She’s really so focused when she’s in something. I was really worried when we looked at the schedule. It was this added challenge she got excited by. I think she was dying to play the vampire.Question: Fight sequences are challenging at best. In this film there’s a major sequence. What challenges did you find in designing and choreographing these scenes?Bill: That sequence.. the sequence we’re not supposed to talk about.. was THE biggest challenge. Battle sequences are hard. Usually you get horses, big flags, and banners. You don’t have any of that here. These people are impossible… the only way you can kill them is by pulling their heads off. Working with Jeff (choreographer) was amazing to the ballet of all that. You do all the solid work on that scene, and then you get to editing. Our editors spent a lot of time on that scene. Even though we designed it a certain way, we created a whole new architecture in post.Question: I noticed a duality in tone – this film seemed more self aware, more humor. How did you balance that?Bill: In the first movie I put a clip in, Bride of Frankenstein. That was a model. It had great balance. Twilight is not the world of Batman. It’s got a different tone. And Michael Sheen to me perfectly embodies that. There’s something very enjoyable about him. This is an epic action movie with vampires – some of them have to be funny. Because they’re so strange.Question: There’s so much lore in this series…Bill: In Part 1, there’s not one new vampire to be seen. I love that this came full circle. It came into this very full, original. vampire movie. Especially with all the new vampire powers we get to see.. it’s very very original.Bill Condon says Coppola’s Dracula was a movie he just loves. Favorite vampire movie.Question: Can you talk about the demands and differences of working in a big tent pole franchise like this?Bill: When you’re actually making it, it’s the same experience as any other film. Around the edges of how you put a tent pole together… there is this awareness of.. and it was an interesting thing. First of all, the fan base. This seems to be the most interactive franchise. I remember the first thing I shot was in Brazil. We were in a mad dash and there were paparazzi pics online 20 minutes after they took their first shot. And fans noticed Bella’s wedding band was missing, so we were able to fix that. There’s sometimes tension because you have to be loyal to the book. I’ve been very aware with this movie that you’re making it for people who love it.Question: What can you say about the change at the end of the film? What did Stephenie think?Bill: Stephenie and Melissa cooked that scene up over dinner. She approved it, she was right there.Question: Can you talk about… has these films affected your job offers?Bill: I’m about to do a movie at the same scale as movies I’ve done before. It’s just about looking for films that excite you.Question: Can you talk about the CGI process for this movie? Like RenesmeeBill: We had tons of special effect shots on BD2 and we just finished them a few days ago frankly. The biggest challenge was Renesmee. We had to show that she was growing very very fast. Every time we see her, she’s growing. This was a process done on a few movies.. it was a real challenge because it’s trying to image Mackenzie Foy, take what we know of her, and imagine her at these different ages. Very complicated stuff that we were, again, still working on a few days ago. The saving grace is that Renesmee is such a great creature.Question: How did the studio approach keeping this without bloating?Bill: Summit is used to making smaller films, so they know how to do it. There are these additional expenses which are crazy. Like ‘set containment’ which cost millions of dollars.. to keep everything secret. This is a fantastical story but it’s an intimate one too. It would’ve been betraying it to make it with 300 people behind the scenes every day.Last question for Bill: The film had beautiful scenery and camera work. Talk about that.
Bill: This film goes around the wrold, and we did go around the world so we could have a bit of egypt, baton rogue, new orleans, etc. Then the field (at the end)… right from the start when I read it, there was an option to go back to the film used in previous movies. But I saw this white, expansive board.. and having the Cullens defenseless.
Question: Where was that shot?
Bill: A green screen in Baton Rogue (laughter)
I loved how Bill praised Kristen. I’m getting The Cullens post ready! Stay tuned!