Eclipse News – More interviews with Eclipse Director David Slade
“I think it had the best story,” he said. “And the most action.”
That’s all well and good, David, but we think you had a little something to do with it, too.
“You know, I did my best,” he said with a chuckle. “The director of the film is always the harshest critic of the film. What you do is spend two years or a-year-and-a-half or whatever it is intensely, emotionally working on something. You watch it a thousand times. What you’re doing is assembling it together, and then there’s a bunch of cracks, and you’re closing the gaps in those cracks. And then, what happens in the end, you go, and you start noticing those cracks again. It’s the same with any film.”
Yes, David clearly is his own worst critic, but he did admit the film had a lot going for it.
“I certainly do believe we had one of the best stories,” he said. “‘Eclipse’ is the fans’ favorite book, behind ‘Twilight,’ the first book. There’s so much in terms of backstory and understanding characters. It has a very clear progression to Bella’s transformation; not physically but emotionally. That’s something that is important. That, along with the fact that we had so many fun backstory moments. We had a Western. We had a 16th century historical piece. We had a ’30s period piece, as well as the rest of it.”
In the Vancouver Sun, David Slade talked about how Kristen cried in her efforts to become Bella. (Thanks for the hard work Kristen!!)
“Eclipse was a lot broader . . . but it’s still a character-based drama. That’s what I really enjoyed about it,” he says. “I think it’s also a much more adult film than [the previous two], because the characters are becoming more mature. There’s loads of fun stuff to play with, and because we treated it as a drama, the transformation [of character] takes place.”
The substance was always bloody and meaty, but Slade says the pragmatics of the whole ordeal were anything but easy. He feels exhausted just thinking about the experience.
“It was a 50-day shoot, with many 16-hour days,” he says.
To make things even more challenging, the cast was losing itself in its own Twilight cosmos.
All actors have to surrender to their roles and inhabit their characters to some degree for the duration of production, so Slade was pleased his cast was taking the whole project seriously and sincerely.
Everyone was committed, he says.
“Kristen, in particular, was very tough on herself.”
Slade says because Stewart didn’t pull from her own life and her own person to play Bella Swan, she found it personally demanding to find Bella’s truth.
“She would say, ‘I don’t know who Bella is to me.’ In a lot of ways, I think she felt Bella was the antithesis to her, which presented a lot of challenges for Kristen. . . . She would beat herself up about it, because she wants to be there. She never wants to leave a scene undone.
“There were tears,” says Slade.
HERE is Movieweb’s Exclusive chat with our Eclipse director and revealed what changes he made with the characters.
As an individual artist, how much actual input do you have coming into a huge franchise like this. Especially midway through the series?
David Slade: This film had to be different from the others. I was encouraged coming in to make a different film. I think we did make a different film. Besides the basic ground rules, which were to continue the story, and Stephenie Meyer’s rule that said you couldn’t kill anybody that she didn’t kill in the book…From the script onward, I had a lot of input. I wouldn’t say I was allowed to run riot and free. But I was absolutely encouraged to make the film my own. Which I seized upon.
The tent scene is the most iconic moment from the movie. It’s the one that everybody remembers most, and it’s the one the fans responded to the most. How did you go about choreographing that scene, and how do you feel about it being one of the scenes that you’ll be most known for in the future?
David Slade: It’s an odd one, that one. Because we shot it months apart. And we only had a day to shot it, which wasn’t enough time. We went back and re-shot bits of it. We cut two of them together. It’s literally months between one second to another. Really, it was a tough scene to shoot. All you have is words. It’s a small space. There are only three angles you can really get. Essentially, the rest has to come down to the charisma of the actors. It wasn’t something you’d really rehearse. They rehearsed a little. It was one of those things that we kept cracking at. It was one of these things we kept doing over and over again until we had it down to the right place. How do I feel about it being my contribution to cinema? I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s entered the books. In terms of cinema, I think there are things of mine that are going to be remembered. This brings me to another point about the differences between a novel and a film. And the fact that they have different requirements. Part of my approach to this film was to pay the most attention to the requirements of the film, and not so much to the novel. As a result, I didn’t pay attention to what the fans may perceive this to be. The most important things. As payback on the DVD, I thought it was important to talk about the deleted scenes, and why they were deleted. In cinematic terms. Through my point of view as a director.
Going from director Chris Weitz on New Moon, to you, and now to Bill Condon on Breaking Dawn, was there ever any talk between you guys in creating what should be a seamless narrative when this franchise is over and done with?
David Slade: No. (Laughs). I briefly met Chris Weitz. He was very courteous. I have not met Bill Condon. There is no kind of path we’re walking, or anything like that. The way these things work is that we were in pre-production when Chris was in post-production. And we were in post-production when Bill was in pre-production. There is no overlapping, really. Well, there is overlapping, that is why we don’t speak. The whole point of doing this with different directors is to have different points of view, and to have idiosyncratic, different movies.
What is interesting in watching the first three movies back-to-back is that each one does have its own distinct voice. And a style that is all its own. And that’s because each director that comes into this has his or her own distinct style. These aren’t cookie cutter auteurs that this franchise is employing. What do you feel your major contribution to the franchise has been thus far?
David Slade: Jesus! That’s is a hard thing to reflect on…
That is sort of a loaded question. I’m sorry…
David Slade: Well? You’d like to think you are invited to the party because of your idiosyncratic vision. I was encouraged, as I said earlier, to make the film my own. For me, it was about making it cinematic. I wanted to make it as believable as possible. Certain things had to change. Chris Weitz put human eyes in the wolves. I took them out and made them look like wolves again. We upped the level of fur and texture on our effects work. There were more mature performances, but that was because of the storyline. To be quite honest, there was no looking backwards referencing. Working with the actors, two thirds of their performance, or the character itself, had been formed by the two films that came previously. But its that other third that you are working on in a film like this. In rehearsals, and in discussions. The discussions about the previous films were limited to what worked or didn’t work. A lot of what didn’t work was built upon what did work.