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Twilight is a romantic-fantasy film directed by Catherine Hardwicke and based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer. It focuses on the development of a personal relationship between human teenager Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and the subsequent efforts of Cullen and his family to keep Swan safe from a separate group of hostile vampires.

The project was in development for approximately three years at Paramount Pictures, during which time a screen adaptation which differed significantly from the novel was written. Summit Entertainment acquired the rights to the novel after three years of the project's stagnant development. Melissa Rosenberg wrote a new adaptation of the novel shortly before the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike and sought to be faithful to the novel's storyline. The film was primarily shot in Washingtonmarker and Oregonmarker in early 2008.

Twilight was released in theaters on November 21, 2008, and grossed US$35.7 million on its opening day. As of September 19, 2009, the film has grossed US$383,520,177 in worldwide box office and, as of July 12, 2009, $157,078,128 in North American DVD sales. The soundtrack was released on November 4, 2008. New Moon and Eclipse, the next two books in the series, were produced as films the following year.

Plot

Seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan moves to Forksmarker, a small town near Washington state's rugged coast, to live with her father, Charlie, after her mother remarries to a minor league baseball player. She is quickly befriended by many students at her new high school, but she is intrigued by the mysterious and aloof Cullen siblings. Bella sits next to Edward Cullen in biology class on her first day of school; he appears to be disgusted by her, much to Bella's confusion. A few days later, Bella is nearly struck by a van in the school parking lot. Edward inexplicably moves from some feet away and stops the vehicle with his hand. He later refuses to explain this act to Bella and warns her against befriending him.

After much research, Bella eventually discovers that Edward is a vampire, though he only consumes animal blood. The pair fall in love and Edward introduces Bella to his vampire family, Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie. Soon after, three nomadic vampires—James, Victoria, and Laurent—arrive. James, a tracker vampire, is intrigued by Edward's protectiveness over a human and wants to hunt Bella for sport. Edward and his family risk their lives to protect her, but James tracks Bella to Phoenixmarker where she is hiding and lures her into a trap by claiming he is holding her mother hostage. James attacks Bella and bites her wrist, but Edward, along with the other Cullen family members, arrives before he can kill her. James is destroyed, and Edward sucks James's venom from Bella's wrist, preventing her from becoming a vampire. A severely injured Bella is taken to a hospital. Upon returning to Forks, Bella and Edward attend their school prom. While there, Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, which Edward refuses. The film ends with Victoria secretly watching the pair dancing, plotting revenge for her lover James' murder.

Cast

The Cullens and the Swans

  • Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, a seventeen-year-old girl who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington from Phoenix, Arizonamarker and falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. Her life is put in danger after a sadistic vampire decides to hunt her.
  • Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, a 108-year-old vampire who was changed in 1918 and still appears to be seventeen. He is Bella's love interest and has the ability to read minds, with the exception of Bella's, along with superhuman speed and strength.
  • Peter Facinelli as Carlisle Cullen, a compassionate 300-plus-year-old vampire who looks to be in his mid-20s. He serves as the town's physician and is the father figure of the Cullen family.
  • Elizabeth Reaser as Esme Cullen, Carlisle's vampire wife and a mother figure to the Cullen family.
  • Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen, a vampire who can see the future based on decisions that people make.
  • Jackson Rathbone as Jasper Hale, a member of the Cullen family who can manipulate emotions. He is the newest member of the Cullen family, and thus has the most difficulty maintaining their lifestyle of feeding only on animals instead of humans.
  • Nikki Reed as Rosalie Hale, a Cullen family member described as the most beautiful person in the world. She is incredibly hostile toward Bella throughout the entire film.
  • Kellan Lutz as Emmett Cullen, physically the strongest vampire of the family.
  • Billy Burke as Charlie Swan, Bella's father and Forks' Chief of Police.


Nomadic vampires

  • Cam Gigandet as James, the leader of a group of nomadic vampires which intends to kill Bella. He is Victoria's mate and a gifted tracker, due to his unparalleled senses.
  • Rachelle Lefèvre as Victoria, James' mate who assists him in finding Bella.
  • Edi Gathegi as Laurent, the most civilized member of James' coven.


Humans



Production

Development

Stephenie Meyer's paranormal romance novel Twilight was originally optioned by Paramount Pictures' MTV Films in April 2004, but the screenplay that was subsequently developed was substantially different from its source material. When Summit Entertainment reinvented itself as a full-service studio in April 2007, it began development of a film adaptation anew, having picked up the rights from Paramount (who coincidentally had made an unrelated film with the same title in 1998) in a turnaround. The company perceived the film as an opportunity to launch a franchise based on the success of Meyer's book and its sequels. That summer, Catherine Hardwicke was hired to direct the film and Melissa Rosenberg to write the script.

Rosenberg developed an outline by the end of August, and collaborated with Hardwicke on writing the screenplay during the following month. "[She] was a great sounding board and had all sorts of brilliant ideas.... I'd finish off scenes and send them to her, and get back her notes." Due to the impending WGA strike, Rosenberg worked full-time to finish the screenplay before October 31. In adapting the novel, she "had to condense a great deal." Some characters from the novel were not featured in the screenplay, whereas some characters were combined into others. "[O]ur intent all along was to stay true to the book," Rosenberg explained, "and it has to do less with adapting it word for word and more with making sure the characters' arcs and emotional journeys are the same." Hardwicke suggested the use of voice over to convey the protagonist's internal dialogue – since the novel is told from Bella's point of view – and she sketched some of the storyboards during pre-production.

Casting

Kristen Stewart was on the set of Adventureland when Hardwicke visited her for an informal screen test which "captivated" the director. Hardwicke did not initially choose Robert Pattinson for the role of Edward Cullen, but after an audition at her home with Stewart, he was selected. Pattinson was unfamiliar with the novel series prior to his screen test but read the books later on. Meyer allowed him to view a manuscript of the unfinished Midnight Sun, which chronicles the events in Twilight from Edward's point of view. Fan reaction to Pattinson's casting as Edward was initially negative; Rachelle Lefèvre remarked that "[e]very woman had their own Edward [that] they had to let go of before they could open up to [him], which they did." Meyer was "excited" and "ecstatic" in response to the casting of the two main characters. She had expressed interest in having Emily Browning and Henry Cavill cast as Bella and Edward, respectively, prior to pre-production.

Peter Facinelli was not originally cast as Carlisle Cullen. "[Hardwicke] liked [him], but there was another actor that the studio was pushing for." For unknown reasons, that actor was not able to play the part, and Facinelli was selected in his place. The choice of Ashley Greene to portray Alice Cullen was the subject of fan criticism to some extent due to Greene being taller than her character as described in the novel. Meyer had also stated that Rachael Leigh Cook resembled her vision of Alice. Nikki Reed had previously worked with Hardwicke on thirteen, which they wrote together, and Lords of Dogtown. "I don't want to say it's a coincidence, because we do work well together, and we have a great history. I think we make good work, but it's more that the people that hire [Hardwicke] to direct a film of theirs [have] most likely seen her other work."

Kellan Lutz was in Africa shooting the HBO miniseries Generation Kill when the auditions for the character of Emmett Cullen were conducted. The role had already been cast by the time that production ended in December 2007, but the actor who had been selected "fell through"; Lutz subsequently auditioned and was flown to Oregon, where Hardwicke personally chose him. Rachelle Lefèvre was interested in pursuing a role in the film because Hardwicke was attached to the project as director; there was also "the potential to explore a character, hopefully, over three films"; and she wanted to portray a vampire. "[She] thought that vampires were basically the best metaphor for human anxiety and questions about being alive." Christian Serratos initially auditioned for Jessica Stanley, but she "fell totally in love with Angela" after reading the books, and successfully took advantage of a later opportunity to audition for Angela Weber. The role of Jessica Stanley went to Anna Kendrick, who got the part after two mix-and-match auditions with various actors.

Filming and post-production

Principal photography took 44 days, after more than a week of rehearsals, and completed on May 2, 2008. Similar to her directorial debut thirteen, Hardwicke opted for an extensive use of hand-held cinematography to make the film "feel real". Meyer visited the production set three times, and was consulted on different aspects of the story; she also has a brief cameo in the film. Cast members who portrayed vampires avoided sunlight to make their skin pale, though makeup was also applied for that effect, and wore contact lenses: "We did the golden color because the Cullens have those golden eyes. And then, when we're hungry, we have to pop the black ones in," Facinelli explained. They also participated in rehearsals with a dance choreographer and observed the physicality of different panthera to make their bodily movements more graceful.

Scenes were filmed primarily in Portland, Oregonmarker. Stunt work was done mainly by the cast. The fight sequence between Gigandet and Pattinson's characters in a ballet studio, which was filmed during the first week of production, involved a substantial amount of wire work due to the fact that the vampires in the story have superhuman strength and speed. Gigandet incorporated some mixed martial arts fighting moves in this sequence, which also involved chicken and honey as substitutes for flesh. Bella, the protagonist, is unconscious during these events, and since the novel is told from her point of view, such action sequences are illustrative and unique to the film. Pattinson noted that maintaining one's center of gravity is difficult when doing wire work "because you have to really fight against it as well as letting it do what it needs to do." Lefèvre found the experience disorienting since forward motion is out of one's control in such work.

Instead of shooting at Forks High School itself, scenes taking place at the school were filmed at Kalama High School and Madison High School. Other scenes were also filmed in St. Helens, Oregonmarker, and Hardwicke conducted some reshooting in Pasadena, Californiamarker, in August. The studio intended to create a series of at least three films based on Meyer's books, and Summit had optioned New Moon by October 2008. Twilight was originally scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on December 12, 2008, but its release date was changed to November 21 after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was rescheduled for an opening in July 2009. Two teaser trailers, as well as some additional scenes, were released for the film, as well as a final trailer which was released on October 9. A 15-minute excerpt of Twilight was presented during the International Rome Film Festival in Italymarker. The film received a rating of PG-13 from the Motion Picture Association of America for "some violence and a scene of sensuality". It is rated 12A in the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker.

Music

The score for Twilight was composed by Carter Burwell, with the rest of the soundtrack chosen by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas. Meyer was consulted on the soundtrack, which includes music by Muse and Linkin Park, bands she listened to while writing the novels. The original soundtrack was released on November 4 by Chop Shop Records in conjunction with Atlantic Records. The soundtrack debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 for the chart week of November 22.

Comparison with the book

The filmmakers behind Twilight worked to create a film that was as faithful to the book as they thought possible when converting the story to another medium, with producer Greg Mooradian saying, "It's very important to distinguish that we're making a separate piece of art that obviously is going to remain very, very faithful to the book.... But at the same time, we have a separate responsibility to make the best movie you can make." In order to ensure a faithful adaptation, author Stephenie Meyer was kept very involved in the production process, having been invited to visit the set during filming and even asked to give notes on the script and on a rough cut of the film. Of this process, Meyer said, "It was a really pleasant exchange [between me and the filmmakers] from the beginning, which I think is not very typical. They were really interested in my ideas," and, "...they kept me in the loop and with the script, they let me see it and said, 'What are your thoughts?'... They let me have input on it and I think they took 90 percent of what I said and just incorporated it right in to the script." Meyer fought for one line in particular, one of the most well-known from the book about "the lion and the lamb", to be kept verbatim in the movie: "I actually think the way Melissa [Rosenberg] wrote it sounded better for the movie...but the problem is that line is actually tattooed on peoples' bodies... But I said, 'You know, if you take that one and change it, that's a potential backlash situation.'" Meyer was even invited to create a written list of things that could not be changed for the film, such as giving the vampires fangs or killing characters who don't die in the book, that the studio agreed to follow. The consensus among critics is that the filmmakers succeeded in making a film that is very faithful to its source material, with one reviewer stating that, with a few exceptions, "Twilight the movie is unerringly faithful to the source without being hamstrung by it."

However, as is most often the case with book-to-film adaptations, differences exist between the movie and original source material. Certain scenes from the book were cut from the film, such as a biology room scene where Bella's class does blood typing. Hardwicke explains, "Well [the book is] almost 500 pages — you do have to do the sweetened condensed milk version of that.... We already have two scenes in biology: the first time they're in there and then the second time when they connect. For a film, when you condense, you don't want to keep going back to the same setting over and over. So that's not in there." The settings of certain conversations in the book were also changed to make the scenes more "visually dynamic" on-screen, such as Bella revealing that she knows Edward is a vampire in a meadow in the film, as opposed to in Edward's car in the novel. A biology field trip scene is added to the movie, in order to condense the moments of Bella's frustration at trying to explain how Edward saved her from being crushed by a van. One of the largest changes was the introduction of the villainous vampires much earlier in the film than they appear in the book, with Rosenberg explaining that, "you don't really see James and the other villains until to the last quarter of the book, which really won't work for a movie. You need that ominous tension right off the bat. We needed to see them and that impending danger from the start. And so I had to create back story for them, what they were up to, to flesh them out a bit as characters." Rosenberg also combined some of the human high school students, with Lauren Mallory and Jessica Stanley becoming the character of Jessica in the movie, and a "compilation of a couple of different human characters" becoming Eric Yorkie. About these variances from the book, Mooradian stated, "I think we did a really judicious job of distilling [the book]. Our greatest critic, Stephenie Meyer, loves the screenplay, and that tells me that we made all the right choices in terms of what to keep and what to lose. Invariably, you're going to lose bits and pieces that certain members of the audience are going to desperately want to see, but there's just a reality that we're not making 'Twilight: The Book' the movie."

Release

Box office

Twilight grossed over $7 million in ticket sales from midnight showings alone on November 21, 2008. The film is fourth overall on online ticket service Fandango's list of top advance ticket sales, outranked only by Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, The Dark Knight, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It grossed $35.7 million on its opening day. For its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, Twilight accumulated $69.6 million from 3,419 theaters at an average of $20,368 per theater.The film has made $192.7 million in the United States and Canada, and a further $192.2 million in international territories for a total of $384.9 worldwide.

Critical reception

Based on 193 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has received an overall "Rotten" rating of 49%, with a weighted average score of 5.5/10. In describing the critical consensus, it stated: "Having lost much of its bite transitioning to the big screen, Twilight will please its devoted fans, but do little for the uninitiated." By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 56 from the 37 reviews it collected, indicating "mixed or average" reviews. New York Pressmarker critic Armond White called the film "a genuine pop classic", and praised Hardwicke for turning "Meyer's book series into a Brontë-esque vision." Roger Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "I saw it at a sneak preview. Last time I saw a movie in that same theater, the audience welcomed it as an opportunity to catch up on gossip, texting, and laughing at private jokes. This time the audience was rapt with attention". In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan wrote, "Twilight is unabashedly a romance. All the story's inherent silliness aside, it is intent on conveying the magic of meeting that one special person you've been waiting for. Maybe it is possible to be 13 and female for a few hours after all". USA Today gave the film two out of four stars and Claudia Puig wrote, "Meyer is said to have been involved in the production of Twilight, but her novel was substantially more absorbing than the unintentionally funny and quickly forgettable film". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman praised Hardwicke's direction: "She has reconjured Meyer's novel as a cloudburst mood piece filled with stormy skies, rippling hormones, and understated visual effects".

Home media

The film was released on DVD in North America on March 21, 2009 through midnight release parties, and sold over 3 million units in its first day. It was released on April 6, 2009 in the U.K.marker. Bonus features include about 10 to 12 extended or deleted scenes, montages and music videos, behind-the-scenes interviews, a "making-of" segment, and commentary featuring Hardwicke, Stewart, and Pattinson. The Blu-Ray edition of the film was also released on March 21, 2009 in select locations, but was made more widely available at most retailers on May 5, 2009. The DVD has continued to sell units, totaling 9,197,231 as of November 2009, making $165,262,220.

Awards and nominations

Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson on the red carpet at the 2009 MTV Music Awards.
The three hold their popcorn bag-shaped awards.
Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
Bravo's A-List Awards A-List Breakout Robert Pattinson
International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score For A Horror/Thriller Film Carter Burwell
MTV Movie Awards Best Movie Summit Entertainment
Best Female Performance Kristen Stewart
Breakthrough Male Robert Pattinson
Breakthrough Male Taylor Lautner
Best Kiss Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson
Best Fight Robert Pattinson vs. Cam Gigandet
Best Song from a Movie Decode by Paramore
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Twilight
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film: Supporting Young Actress Christian Serratos
Teen Choice Awards Movie: Drama Twilight
Movie: Romance Twilight
Movie Actor: Drama Robert Pattinson
Movie Actress: Drama Kristen Stewart
Movie Villain Cam Gigandet
Movie: Fresh Face Female Nikki Reed
Ashley Greene
Movie Rumble Robert Pattinson vs. Cam Gigandet
Movie: Fresh Face Male Taylor Lautner
Movie: Liplock Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson
Music Album Soundtrack Twilight: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Scream Awards The Ultimate Scream Twilight
Best Fantasy Film Twilight
Best Fantasy Actress Kristen Stewart
Best Fantasy Actor Robert Pattinson
Best Supporting Actress Ashley Greene
Best Breakout Performance Taylor Lautner
Robert Pattinson
Best Ensemble Twilight cast
Scream Song of the Year “Decode” by Paramore
Best Villain Cam Gigandet


Sequel

On November 22, 2008, Summit Entertainment confirmed a sequel to Twilight based on the second book in the series, New Moon. On December 7, 2008, it was announced that Hardwicke would not direct the sequel. Chris Weitz was confirmed as the director on December 13, 2008. Rosenberg had been working on adapting the novel prior to Twilight's release.

References

  1. White, Armond (2008-11-21). "Twilight: Bronte Never Dies", New York Press. Retrieved on 2008-01-10.
  2. White, Armond (2008-01-07). "Better-Than List 2008", New York Press. Retrieved on 2008-01-10.
  3. Ebert, Roger (2008-11-19). "Twilight", Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on 2009-03-23.
  4. Turan, Kenneth (2008-11-21). "Twilight", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-03-23.
  5. Puig, Claudia (2008-11-20). "Twilight", USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-03-23.
  6. Gleiberman, Owen (2008-11-20). "Twilight", Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-03-23.
  7. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Twilight-Disc-Special-Catherine-Hardwicke/dp/B001O0DM2S/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1232809346&sr=8-7


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