Last night the fansites and the lucky winners of the Ultimate Fan Contest ( shout out to Shelley and Kaitlin) were invited to a private video chat with Catherine. Despite some moments of wonky transmission, we had a blast. Here is a transcript put together by Nena Cullen and Be My Escape
How does it feel to be a part of the biggest movie of the year?
It doesn’t feel too bad but I think Batman kicked our ass so we have to keep going so we can beat batman.
I want to be a film director any advice?
Yeah, I got advice for you, um, I would start working on really doing your homework, that is: watch all the DVD commentaries and watch what the directors describe how and what they do. Work on going out shoot some films and make yourself finish it with credits, title, music on it. Then show it to at least 3 people, because you really feel different when you show it to somebody. Then tell them to write down their feelings, and see their criticism, see if you can make your next one better. And then of course you are going to do the usual things, go to film school and volunteer on other people’s films, even if it is for free.
What went through your mind this weekend as you saw Twilight box office success?
Well, I guess my smile just got bigger and bigger (laughs), Girl power!
I came to realize that neither Edward nor Bella said I love you to the other during the movie was this intentional? Or did it just turned out that way?
I think sometimes… um, there are some scenes like in the phone call, that they did just kind of adlibbed and then we were just probably working with the pace so you would feel that it was really a chase scene and really compelling and urgent. That’s probably why we cut it out. But I think though that in so many ways, they say it. Don’t you guys think they say it? when you say "You are my life now", you know? They say it a thousand ways in the movie.
Can you tell us how many takes it took to do the bedroom kissing scene?
(Laughs) Well, no… that scene, you guys probably heard that we filmed it once up in Portland when Kristen was a minor, and um, we didn’t have a chance to, because it was really sunny out in the baseball field and like 70 (degrees?), so we had to blow out that bedroom set just intimately in an old warehouse, you know?, so that first time we did it, it wasn’t really finished, we didn’t get to the stunt, we didn’t get to the aftermath, so we begged to be… I begged to be able to shoot that scene again because I just knew that it could be like… the steamiest scene, so in a way we shot it a lot of times. We did rehearsal you can say, with like 4 or 5 takes up in Oregon and then we did it again in L. A. Probably the real kiss scene, was like, maybe about 8 times.
Why did you guys begin shooting with the Ballet scene?
Well, what happened is um… everybody at Summit thought "Hey man, maybe we will use that ballet scene for like the promo or the teaser reel? And so we need to start to work on it early, so we could do all the visual effects, get that done in time". That was one reason, and another reason was, Cam Gigandet got another job so we could only have him for 3 weeks on the movie so suddenly we had to shoot all of his scenes first. We did the baseball and the ballet in the very beginning which was really hard.
What is the most extreme thing that you have seen fans do at a Twilight event?
(Laughs)Well, yesterday, I mean, two days ago on Saturday at 5 o’clock, we had a Q&A at the Cineplex Arch Light. I was kind of shocked when I met somebody. She was about 35 and she had seen the movie 8 times already. That was only a day and a half and she was headed to the parking lot, that’s where I met her, and I said to her "yeah, you probably need to go home" (laughs).
Can you tell us about the Midnight Sun deleted scene that will be in the DVD?
Ok, well it’s not exactly from Midnight Sun, only if you watch Twilight, is actually a description of what Edward says he wanted to do. And so that is kind of like Midnight Sun inside Twilight and I want you guys to guess what it is. Can you guess? (Laughs)
Moderator: They all are taking guesses!
Did you ever consider letting Rob use his British accent?
No I didn’t because Edward doesn’t have a British accent (laughs) and actually, you know, Rob can do a great American accent, an unusual one, but a great one.
Team Edward, Jacob or Switzerland?
(Laughs)When I read the books, to be honest, I was team Jacob because I always, just totally go for the underdog and you know, cool Native Americans. But then in Twilight there is so little Jacob and then when I met Rob I just, for Twilight, totally I had to switch to team Edward.
How does your experience as a production designer help you as a director?
Well is like when you are an Artist or an Architect, first you are like a Painter before you are a Director, because a Director is a very… directs the film in a…is a very visual medium… Is totally…um, you have to pre-visualize every scene like; you have everything from the book and say "how does this look? How can I get this to be cool and dynamic?" So then you start from really nothing and then you create something out of that. So yeah, it’s a direct help: "Structure visualization". I highly recommend Architecture School… to anybody.
Why was the Radiohead song that plays over the credits not included in the Sound Track?
Well, I think Radiohead called and said that they had already released that song in a different way, I think they gave it out as a free… um download?, So they didn’t think it was appropriate to sell it. I think it was something like that, but we love Radiohead so much, I love that song so much that I wanted it in the movie and I wanted it in the Soundtrack.
Was music really influential for you?
Oh yeah the great thing as you guys know was that Stephenie wrote these books to music and there is a rhythm to the movie and even as we were rehearsing we would play songs, we would play music, we would play in the editing room and from the very first moment… and sometimes right on the set. So it was kind of an integral part the whole time.
Do you know of any good Films Schools? I heard that UT has a great school.
Yeah, well I just came back from Austin, we did a premier there and I think UT is a very cool school; I went to UCLA which I love. Patrick Smith, our famous Patrick from our video, he went to NYU. So USC would be good if you got the bucks, so I think there is a lot of good schools, and it’s really what you do with the School, like if you got the equipment, you got the enthusiasm, you know?, you can make it good.
Did you have a book on hand during shooting?
We did… hmm, yeah um, maybe I shouldn’t be eating and take a break with the cupcakes this time (shows cupcakes on camera) Say bye to the cupcakes! (laughs) So, yes… we had, my book has so many notes in it and so many posts its and so many bookmarks in different pages. So we had it, we had it there because you never know when you had to refer to it.
How close was your relationship with Stephenie Meyer while filming this movie?
Stephenie is super awesome as you guys know, and she was very encouraging the whole time. I met her at the first book signing, the book signing of Eclipse and she was so positive, really excited about the project and then she gave Melissa Rosenberg, the screen writer and I, her emails and phone numbers, so we could call her if we had any questions. So she read the first chapter of the script and she had a lot of cool notes, like "what about this part?" She was very supportive and positive and then she saw the movie when we finished it… and she had some more notes… you guys, may have heard, that she thought the kiss was a bit too s-tea-my (laughs) so… we had to go with a little bit more of the close ups of the kiss.
You all are female Author, Screenplay writer and Director working on the film. How do you feel that affected the film?
Well, you know, I’ve heard that a lot of male Directors are considering sex changes after this weekend and I encourage that (Laughs!) No, um…I think it was pretty cool, you know? Because there was definitely some girl power going on this one.
There were lots of scenes where the tension between Bella and Edward is shown, where they just almost "stare" at each other. Were those scenes hard to get right?
Yeah for me, maybe it is easier for an actor, if you actually are told "go over there and stand, go do this or that and action". But to just be so connected, and feeling so much in the moment you really have to be there, you have to have laser focus. And you know, have access to your feelings.
You work in a male dominated field were there any obstacles you had to overcome to compete in the business? And do you have any advice for the women in the industry?
Yeah, It is a male dominated field and there are obstacles even if people want to admit it or not, but I think that when… "Oh Catherine, can you direct special FX or stunts?" You know? I go like…"Dude? I have done stunts in a movie and I started to work in a special effects company, but just because I am female, you think I can’t do it?" I will go head to head with anybody. And here is the thing, you need to do your homework, you have to be better than better and you need to know more, so that’s my advice, do a massive amount of research, really know your stuff, if you want to do it, if you want to be a costume designer then know how to cut, start to measure people, sew, do every detail, understand the history of fabrics and learn about every single cool costume, you know from the XIII century china or whatever. Really be more knowledgeable than everybody else, and you will impress people. And work hard.
Do you go on any of the Fan sites?
Oh yeah, I do.
Why Edward loses control of his emotions on the movie by yelling at Bella? Is that how Rob Pattinson interpreted?
What scene are you talking about? Um… yelling at Bella…um (thinking)
Moderator: She did not say (scrolling through chat), until they do…um
Catherine Hardwicke: ok, that’s right, let’s come back to that
Moderator: yeah, sure
Catherine Hardwicke: Because I really didn’t see him yelling at her, I felt him being stressed and emotional, you know?
What is your favorite song in the movie?
Um, well this is the first one that popped to my head, but I really did love the Radiohead song. But I liked all the songs, I mean, we kind of worked hard to get, get the right song in the right place. I mean I love the muse song, I mean, in the baseball that’s just great. I love Iron and Wine during prom that was Kristen’s suggestion and I am like completely crazy about Rob’s two songs and I watched him perform in the studio and you know, that was really kind of a magical experience, especially with the one, you know, when James has bitten Bella and Rob is trying to suck the venom out of her? That’s Rob’s song.
Who is your favorite character regardless of actor or actress?
(Laughs) Are you trying to trick me? That is a good one. Let’s see… well, I have to go with Edward and Bella, they just really… um, well they really, they are like one, in a way. I have to say it’s a tie.
(Question Inaudible) Possible asking about deleted scenes and Stephenie Meyer’s cameo:
Well, we had like 150 cuts, and you know maybe more, so I will actually going to count them, but you know sometimes when we are actually doing a stunt, on certain sets you have two cameras going at the same time, sometimes you can have 3, 4 and 5 cameras on the same stunt, because if one of those guys is going to get hit that hard, you want to make sure that you to it in the first take. Did you guys get to see my other movie Lords of Dogtown? All of the people that were in that movie kind of had cameos, like all the real characters in that movie and so I always wanted to have her to do a cameo because she is like… she is the queen! (laughs)
What made you visit the line at the Premiere when they were camping out? And how was that experience for you? Was it planned?
Oh no, I actually had gone to see that movie with Anne Hathaway, um.. "Rachel got married" and on my way home I said "Let’s just drive by and see if anybody is actually sleeping out tonight. And then I was kind of like hiding and people started to like, recognize me, so I was like "oh no"(covers face with hands). Then I was like, we have to go back, I was with Jeff Haimer, you know, who shot all the behind the scenes video. He gets out the camera and we started filming and then people started recognizing me again, ok so I had to get out and say hi to everybody and get out and then when you start saying hi and start to sign autographs you kind of have to see everybody, because these people were really, like awesome to be there. So that was kind of fun and I was there a couple of hours. It was a blast, we got in some sleeping bags, took pictures with that, it was cool, along with pillow cases.
The questions about the scene where it seemed like Edward was yelling at Bella, It’s the meadow scene:
Oh, like when says "Say it! Say it out loud!" um, well I feel like that wasn’t yelling, like I said, to me, but that was, you know, just a very emotional moment for him, because he… it was just like he was under the light, like the edge of a knife coming at you. He was like "well, does she knows what I am?" "If she does, say it" and then "how is she going to react?" It was like the most emotional moment in the movie. So there was a lot of emotion on his plate, I thought he did a great job.
Where were you when Stephenie saw the movie for the first time? From Alphie. And were you nervous for her to see it?
Yes, I was very nervous and um.. I was in the screening room with her, I was sitting in front of her so that I she didn’t think that I was watching her reaction. You know, I try to give her some space, but she actually really liked it a lot from the very first moment, you know, She is such a fun, cool person, that you kind of feel comfortable right away, but I was really nervous (Laughs). Of course I really wanted her to like it, because it’s her baby, you know…We totally wanted her to be proud of it.
Was it motivating or depressing for you to know how hard it would be to please the fans of the book?
Well, you know, since I was a fan of the book, I wanted to make the best movie that I could figure out how to make, and I think that with all the elements that started coming together, like when we got Robert and Kristen. Even when people didn’t know them that well. I was experiencing the rehearsals, I could feel that there were…like this drawn and passion… and emotion. You know, I thought that people would like them. I know the people always would have a thousand ways to change things and a lot of "hey, this and that", but no, I thought that they would feel the connection between those two, because they put their hearts into it.
We loved your dress at the premier; did it take you a lot to find it?
(Laughs) Oh, well, thank you! It was actually pants and our friend who is called one of our "stylists"… hilarious, she found it for me and I thought it was pretty cool too. Thank you!
What went through your head as you saw the Twilight phenomenon escalate? Why do you think it’s so popular?
Well, when we started the project, we knew that there were all this cool passionate fans out there. But I think it was quite slower two years ago and then as you see more people get excited because you guys got excited, that makes the next person excited… that is just cool. You just love it. I mean, most of the time, you as a film maker, you are making it and just hope that someone will like it. But then you have a whole fan base fully motivated and that actually got the whole world excited about it…
(Nena Cullen’s question) In the behind the scenes photo shoot with Teen magazine, Robert Pattinson mentioned that Edward was originally going to have long hair in the movie and that he was going to wear extensions. Why was long hair considered? Was this part of the old twilight script?
No it wasn’t. Um…did you guys see… you know, the movie I did like two movies ago, it was called Lords of Dogtown? … And yes I like guys with long hair (laughs). I have to admit it ok? And so we did some drawings with Rob’s face, with like long, tousled hair, you know? It looked quite sexy, and it looked kind of timeless, like you couldn’t tell if that was like a hundred years ago or now. But Rob really did not want to do it (laughs), so when we took the extensions on him , he was just like (makes sad puppy face)… super sad face, you know… but like he was about to kill me, so I am like "ok, forget it" you know, I don’t want you to be bummed down, but yes, the guy would look really good with like gorgeous long hair… he would look good with no hair… probably, right? (Laughs)
Developing the movie script adaptation, how much did you get involved in the actual writing? Did you and Melissa talk and came up with a plan? Or did she just handed it over to you?
No, no, no. The first’s one is true because, what happened is that even when she wrote an outline, she and I would talk about the scenes in the outline, before she even started, and then at the same time, I was like… just completely trying to think: How would I direct this scene? How do I? I was looking at a lot of locations, I went to a dinner in Forks and I met the waitress and all these people that eat there every day and have eaten there a million times, and how the rain pours and falls through the trees. Started researching and just surrounding myself with all kinds of visuals, like art, paintings and books, and just started talking about it "Let’s do this, and how about this?" So, you know, we had… um… a pretty clever-ish view from the beginning.
How many takes did you need for Stephenie’s cameo?
(Laughs)Are you thinking that Stephenie could not pull off her cameo dude? Of course she can, she is very professional, but I think it was only probably two or three takes or something. Um, it wouldn’t have been that hurtful but we had to re do it, probably it would have been the camera moved or we didn’t get our time right. But I wanted to say that she was almost perfect every time.
Has there ever been a film that you always wanted to make, that you plan to film in the future?
Oh yeah, there is quite a few projects, because every filmmaker, we have all these projects that we get passionate about and for me, I want to make all these books and presentations and go show them, try to get people excited to give me the money. And one of them is this book actually from the 70′s that is about ego activists, with these four crazy characters that want to live outside the planet, it’s called "The Monkey wrench gang". It’s cool if you want to check it out. It’s got a good love triangle too!
Why wasn’t the biology scene on the movie, the one where Bella faints from the blood typing?
Well, that’s a good question, and actually it was one of the ones I was sad not to have in the movie, but as you know, we already had 2 biology scenes in there and if you think of how much time we have in a movie today, and you have the 498 pages that you have squished down… in a way, that one I liked it, because honestly, honestly in my sophomore year I did the blood thing, so I can relate to that scene. I fainted and I had to be taken out of the classroom. But that scene in a weird way, it was another time when Bella was kind of "weak" and had to be rescued one more time by Edward and since we already had the van crash, the Port Angeles and we had the ballet scene at the end, that was the debate.
Catherine: I wish this was Skype so we could all talk… Next time ok?
Did you ever get pranked on set?
Hum… Did I? I don’t think so; I think we were too busy to do pranks… I don’t think I did.
Why weren’t the Cullen’s in the movie described a bit more?
Described… well, in a movie, you don’t want to see it being described; you want to "see". We want to show it not say it, that’s kind of one of our rules. But at the beginning of course we had Anna Kendrick, who plays Jessica; you hear her talking a little bit, what they think of the Cullens… the high school kids. You know, I love the Cullens and I wish we had more time to have them around the whole movie, like in more scenes, like all of them, but really it was more about Bella and Edward’s story, so, that’s what we devoted most of our time, in order to feel their relationship.
You’ve said that the sparkling effect was very difficult to achieve, now that it’s over are you happy are you happy with the final product?
(Laughs) I am very happy with it, I feel like all the fifty, a hundred, two hundred versions of what we tried, that this one was the most effective. Because some looked like really scary, some of them it just looked like he had a very bad skin condition, so you know. It was interesting to try all that to find the best way to make it look good. So I thought so. I would love to hear what you guys think too.
Why you did not actually used the town of Forks?
Oh! You break my heart by asking me that question. I went into the town of Forks and I loved it, I fell in love with it. I went to Forks High school and it was the coolest thing with their wood sign, the forest, you know everything. But when they did the budget form, they figured out that there aren’t enough motels for the crew and then the State of Washington unfortunately does not help out film makers with that. It was more affordable to do it in Portland. So that’s one of the reasons we had to come down by making it affordable. But I really would have loved to do it there, but all the Forks people were really nice, the Police let us use their little patches and were really helpful.
Besides the "Hang on spider monkey" line, what other lines you personally added?
Really, there was about, you know, like hundreds of lines or something, because you are director and you are doing the scene and sometimes, you know, it doesn’t exactly look good, so you actually have to be super creative right on the spot and for example I took like 3 levels of comedy which actually help for creative writing. I highly recommend that, because you have to think quick on your feet. So I think of the script right now, there are really a lot of new lines (laughs).
A lot of stunts and wirework was used for the film – were there any injuries on set? Why did you feel it was important to act out many of the scenes rather than using CGI?
Ok, first of all CGI, you know, it’s a tool. Sometimes you have some of the scenes dramatically acted it out and sometimes in front of a green screen or otherwise, then you add CGI to it to help. Computer generated images are usually used in combination. You know, we didn’t have a big budges as everyone knows our budges was around 37 million and that is very different from the Harry Potter’s or the James Bond’s (covering lips) which we beat on opening weekend, ha ha. And also because this movie is so grounded we wanted it to feel like real, sometimes when you do those stunts out in the forest it feels like you are out there in the forest instead of against the green screen with the trees added later. The trees are more 3D, more natural, and I like that. I prefer that. But another thing is… um… What was the first part of the question again?
Moderator: Where there any accidents on set?
Catherine: Oh yeah, yes. Rob pulled his groin muscle; we had to get a masseuse out on the set to help one day and we said "how was the massage? Do you feel any better? Can you do the stunt?" And he goes "It was very sensual" a very sensual massage, we were all laughing, oh my god. But anyway, also our stunt guy when he came down breaking into the floor boards, that got him a concussion, but he came back the next day like "I’m the stunt guy, let’s do it again".
Whose idea was to place an owl behind Edward so it looks like he has wings?
Okay, the set decorator came and she had all these cool birds, you see all birds in the scene and an armadillo, the Texas state animal, you know, I am a Texan. Anyway I saw that owl and I remembered there was a beautiful art exposition one time where an artist took a photograph of ashes in the snow and nothing else and while the artist took the picture an eagle was flying by and the photograph was taken at the same time (snaps fingers), it was really cool with the wings right behind it, so when I saw that owl and I thought this could be kind of cool, so we worked it around.
What are you favorite lines from the book and from the movie?
Ok, I know this is kind of crazy but my new favorite line in the movie is "Don’t move" Do you guys know where that line is from? (Laughs) I hope so, and that is my favorite line from the book too.
Were there ever any threats of the filmed being leaked due to the high publicity and what did you do personally to avoid it?
Yes, there were threats, and usually when you have a movie coming out you have this big screenings with like 300 people coming to a theater and everyone fills out this little forms, fill out the boxes and we didn’t do that, because if you have 300 people that you don’t know, somebody is going to go write about it online and so we had what we call "Friends and Family screenings" to test out the film. So it would be like a friend of mine or you know the Editor’s friend, you know just friends of people that worked in the movie and just about 20 or 30 people at a time, maybe 5 or 6 times. And they all had to swear in a stack of bibles and we got their email, phone numbers and they also gave some blood so we could trace their DNA and all that, so they wouldn’t tell anybody. And then we did this little questionnaire, where everyone could just write their feelings down and Twihards brought their book and wrote what they felt. So then I would take all those home and think "how can I make the movie better?" you know, just maybe a little better here, maybe I can fix that, etc. So we had that kind of feedback but it was controlled.