Stephenie Meyer famously had a dream. She sat down, put Muse on the stereo and crafted The Twilight Saga. Now as Breaking Dawn Part 1, the first half of her final chapter in The Twilight Saga hits theaters November 18, she sits down with Movie Fanatic to talk about the end of an era and what lies ahead for the best-selling author.
Meyer is not nostalgic about a chapter of her life beginning to come to a close. In fact, we found her excited about what’s next in her literary career. There is no question, Twilight has changed her life and she tells us everything from what it felt like to see her vision brought to life on the big screen to whether the series could continue.
Movie Fanatic: Has the Twilight phenomenon changed you as an author?
Stephenie Meyer: I don’t know that it has changed me as a storyteller but it has given me fodder for it. It’s all just experiences that I’ve never had before, new things and different circumstances. I think I’ve grown a lot just from new experiences. It’s hard to sum up something that doesn’t feel finished yet -- I keep wondering when it will feel like the bow is there. It was a great growing experience. It wasn’t always a comfortable experience. I did learn a lot of it the hard way but it was good for me in a lot of ways. When you are in your thirties you don’t think you’re going to learn because you’ve already jumped a lot of hurdles. I have a lot of new ones but I’ve grown.
Movie Fanatic: Do the films live up to what you envisioned?
Stephenie Meyer: For me it was emotional the first time I saw it. You worry, you’ve seen good stuff being filmed, and you know it's there but you never know. You go into it like, “Is it going to be awful?” And when a movie makes you forget that, and halfway through you are just enjoying it, that’s when you know that the movie is successful. I think Bill was very successful.
Movie Fanatic: What has this entire page-to-screen experience been like for you? Was it difficult to see it end?
Stephenie Meyer: It’s interesting to be done and not done. We had that final night of shooting but it keeps going. So with the second part of the movie coming out [next year] it doesn’t feel like an ending yet it feels like we’re still going. I’m not quite sure how it will be once we get to the end. I know there are a lot of people that I’m just going to miss seeing. Just seeing Kristen, Taylor and Rob today has been great so we’ll see how it feels when it is actually the end.
Movie Fanatic: Do you ever look at how screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has translated your ideas for the screenplay and think, “Oh, I wish I thought of that?”
Stephenie Meyer: Oh yeah, from the first film on [laughs]. There were several points where I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” I remember in the very first one when there is just a little moment where Bella sees him in her bedroom and flicks the light on and he’s gone. And I was like, "How cool and simple was that?" With every movie there is always something really cool that she comes up with. There is stuff that is different but there is also stuff I wish I could have snagged.
Movie Fanatic: Does being a part of this process ever inspire you to write your own screenplay?
Stephenie Meyer: It’s something that I talked about on another project. I don’t think I’d want to give up that part of the creative process, which is really my favorite. I haven’t had a lot of time to just be alone with the story for a while. Once you put it into a screen format there are a lot of people involved with that so I’d still prefer to be alone with the story first.
Movie Fanatic: The Breaking Dawn wedding scene was the last scene shot. Were you on set and was it just a little emotional for you? You got to be in that scene!
Stephenie Meyer: I was somewhat prepared because I had been there for Kristen’s dress fitting. When she came out in the wedding dress there was just that moment where all of us got emotional, which I wasn’t expecting. The dress was stunning. But, the wedding scene was really emotional. Being at the wedding, it was cold actually and I did not want to be on camera. But Bill was like, “Oh come on, it’ll be great.” He talked me into it and at least I got to hang out with these two. It was fantastic to have the whole group there at the wedding. It was nice. When Kristen actually came down the aisle the first time, and there were many times she came down the aisle that day, she looked at me for a minute and there was this look of, it’s happening. It was like it was her wedding. It was very weird but it was awesome.
Movie Fanatic: How do you respond to critics who take exception to the portrayal of your female lead? Do you see it as a battle over gender politics?
Stephenie Meyer: The politics I never think of when I’m writing. It’s about a story that is interesting to me. I’m not going to say that Breaking Dawn doesn’t get weird, because it does. But these are things that I was exploring, what it means and meant to be a woman, particularly to be a mother because that is a big part of my life. For Bella, it is something that happened to her very young because she’d be a vampire and it’s not going to work out anymore. I’ve always been really fascinated with the idea that over a hundred years ago if you were going to have a baby you might die. You’d be taking your life in your hands to do that and there is a courage that we don’t have to develop. I’m fascinated with that type of woman. The woman who makes the choice that she is going to risk her life. It’s like being a solider. I like to explore things that I didn’t have to do in writing. I never became a vampire either. It really was never about the politics but how as a person you would deal with these things as an individual story, not as a story that this is an example for how I think life should be lived, or this is an example of a perfect or correct life. This is an example of a flawed life with choices and mistakes and how they affect people. So for me it’s never about anything different than that.
Movie Fanatic: What was your vision for the birth scene when you wrote it and what did you think once you saw it on screen?
Stephenie Meyer: I really liked the birth scene. It was something that in the beginning when we were developing the story, a lot of people weren’t sure and wondered if it was anticlimactic. But I thought the birth scene would be a lot and that we’d be surprised. When we were filming, a lot of times there is not a lot of excitement because you are filming the same thing over and over but there are those days. With the birth scene you could tell that it was so emotional, that this is gory and Edward is losing Bella. Rob’s performance was so heartbreaking that I will admit I teared up. A lot of people were feeling it because you look at the idea of losing the most important thing to you and he made you think about it in that way. I thought the way that was cut together was very emotional. I thought that Bill pulled such a human experience out of it; he has such a gift for that. So I’m very happy with how it turned out.
Movie Fanatic: Is there a favorite moment in the movie series for you?
Stephenie Meyer: Any time we get to spend time with other characters and you almost want more time. Some of the newbies that we’ve brought on only had a short time but were so fun. You have that one moment with Lee Pace when you are like, "Oh, he is so cool." You have your one little moment with the Romanians. And so you do just want to jump in and spend more time with everybody -- especially Michael Sheen.
Movie Fanatic: Will there be more books in the Twilight universe, or are you finished with that chapter of your life?
Stephenie Meyer: I mean I’ve thought about it obviously, people ask me about it a lot. There was a time when I thought I would never stop writing about vampires. There are pieces of their stories written in my computer. But who knows? I’m not going to say no. Right now I don’t have much strive towards vampires, there is so much else going on. Sometimes you want to get to a new world. But the characters will always be alive for me, so who knows?