Transcript Wyck Godfrey Interview
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
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Transcribed by Kimmy of His Golden Eyes
During much of this interview Wyck was whispering because audio levels were being set nearby. The recording was enhanced, but occasional words were lost. Scroll to the bottom of the transcript if you would prefer to listen to the interview or download it.
Wyck: He [Chris Weitz]has an ability to really communicate his ideas very calmly and cleanly. (something is said here that I can’t hear) That’s going to be one big thing for the fans, being like “Oh my Gosh, I had no idea!” None of you were here ever in Portland when we shot Bella’s house, right? (No) We completely built the exact replica.
Q:I know, it’s beautiful! How long did it take to build?
Wyck: Hmm, I don’t know, I think we got it up in like…well first of all what we did was we built it all in the studio, and built the whole thing, and then took it apart in walls and moved it. Yeah, so the building process there was like maybe month of really getting it right. Then getting it up here was maybe like, a week. The landscaping actually was, oddly enough, the thing that takes a lot of time. Trying to get the grass right, and finding the trees, you know? The appropriate trees.
Q: Did you build the little house across the street too?
Wyck: Yeah, we built the..well, it’s really just two piece facades, that when you see it you just feel it. The only thing we didn’t build, is remember the blue house on this side? That’s going to be, any time you look this way it’s going to be CG. We’ll put it there in CG, so… It’s just too much to try to like clear the entire street. (laughs) And the people living here wouldn’t be too happy.
Q: Do you have a different feel this time around, than last time? More secure, or…?
Wyck: No, I think if anything you’re more secure with people. I mean, for me, it’s a whole new crew, except for the actors and so forth. For me it’s fun, because you get new blood, new energy. It’s a good thing, because things can like, stagnate if you don’t bring something fresh to it.
So, while Chris is a really calm presence, the constant thought is “how do we elevate it, how do we elevate it, how do we make it better?” I mean, you’re constantly thinking about the other movie, and in some sense this movie is its own movie.
You also have to remember that this is what the audience will be coming to after seeing Twilight, so we are bringing them into New Moon, and because the emotions of the movie are so different, the call power needs to fit more with the tone of the movie, not Twilight. You know, I think Twilight is much more mysterious, like, “What’s going on in this town?” when she’s new in the town, and here I think it’s much more about the despair, and re-awakening. Like, it’s only out of destroyed despair, can you grow into something new. So, this movement really represents that for Bella. She meets Jacob, and really forges that relationship.
It’s hard to get too worked up, I mean the actors are so comfortable, and it’s not a lot of constant second guessing. I mean they’ve all now read the books, so now they have a much stronger understanding of the franchise as a whole. Kristen is so amazingly on it, in terms of what Bella would say, and what she would do. Like we will be in a scene, and she will be like, “No, Bella wouldn’t do that, she would do this.” And you’re like, she’s right! She’s got it. She’s so amazing in this film. I mean, the levels that she lets herself go to, in terms of being torn apart.
We were talking to Gillian and Aaron from the studio, and they’re all watching the dailies, like, “We are going to have to hand out boxes of Kleenex!” Like every time you watch a scene, you’re like, that was even more emotional than the last scene! I mean you’ve got Edward breaking up with Bella, and you’ve got Jacob in the rain when she shows up and he hasn’t returned her calls, it’s the most heartbreaking scene, it’s amazing.
Then, the final scene of the movie, we shot her saying goodbye to Jacob, it’s just great.
Q:You’ve already shot the end?
Wyck: Yeah. We haven’t shot the Italian stuff, we’ve shot when they come back, and the part with Jacob in the road and he reminds Edward of the treaty, and her. She basically has to say ,”We had a great time, but Edward’s back, you know.”
Q:So are you paying for Kristen’s therapy after all this? [laughs] She’s got to be destroyed or exhausted after the end of each day.
Wyck: Yeah, I mean that’s the thing people forget, she shoots every day. Usually in a movie, you shoot a few scenes, you get a couple days off. I mean, she has such amazing tenacity and professionalism in terms of sticking with showing up every day ready for the next scene.
Well, finally, in Breaking Dawn, we have a chunk that’s in Jacob’s point of view, so she might get a break! When you write a book series from one character’s point of view, so subjectively, it’s pretty much nothing that takes place on screen that she’s not a part of.
Q: What’s been the most challenging thing so far?
Wyck: The most challenging thing so far, has probably been the meadow scene with Laurent. You know, with the wolves attacking. Part of what made it challenging, was to find…I mean actually what we didn’t really find in the first film, which is the meadow that is what everybody thought of when they read the books.
I mean honestly, we went like an hour and a half out of town, it’s right at the foothills of the mountain, and literally we are walking through the woods, and you come to this perfectly round meadow, and we are like, “Oh my gosh, this is it!”
I mean the problem was that last year we had a meadow but it was still under snow cover at the end of the shoot. So we had to scramble to find a place.
Also, we shot that scene with all the mossy trees and rocks with all the moss that wasn’t really the meadow. Then we had the meadow scene in LA. (Laughs) It was awkward!
The reason that it was challenging from the production standpoint is that we shot the scene over the course of like three days, and one day it was perfect kind of overcast, you know, weather, and the next day it snowed four inches! So we were like, okay, we’ve got to go inside and shoot something here. Then finally, the snow finally melted, we had like heaters out there melting the snow, so we could shoot the second half of the scene and match it from the other day.
Then it’s just hard like, technically hard, because we’ve got CG characters. Laurent’s got to go like, “Oh my gosh, there’s nothing! There’s a green ball and it’s coming after me!” I think that’s been the most challenging, is the coordination with the CG wolves with Laurent, and you know, he’s still got to move like a vampire and all that, so it was pretty complicated.
It was also far out in the middle of nowhere, so it wasn’t like, “Here, you can step off onto the road with your equipment.” You’re like, hauling everything through mud and trying to get out there.
Q: Have the fans out everywhere affected it in any way?
Wyck: No, actually, in a weird way, I think the fans have been kept further away than the last film. I mean in the last one, there were always just a couple people just hanging out. It was fun but the level of attention now is different. I mean Rob, Kristen, and Taylor have become something different now. They can’t really go anywhere now without being, you know, besieged.
Q: Is there anything you learned from Twilight, that you were like, we are definitely going to change this for New Moon?
Wyck: Well, we recast Edward. So Rob Pattinson isn’t in this movie. (Laughs) (The rep from PR): He’s joking! (Laughing)
Wyck: I think the one thing that we thought of when we saw Twilight was that if we can still pull off the emotions of that, but also expand it visually.
That was one thing, we really thought the film could be opened up visually and show us the Pacific Northwest. There were little snippets in Twilight, but we thought the views are so great anyway let’s make every shot like that. I think that will be eye opening for people.
I think the vampire movement, we really wanted to do something different and make people think, “Okay, that’s how I imagined it in the books. Bella can barely…can’t see them they are moving so fast.” So we really tried to tackle that from a visual standpoint. That they are speeding through in a way that is so fast you really can’t catch them.
Wyck returned to us to volunteer more info
Wyck: So the absolute most absurd thing we ever did.
Well, last year, for Twilight, we shot all the school scenes while they were all on vacation. Yeah, so the interiors, all the interiors, were on their spring break. Right?
So this time for all of our school stuff we had to shoot it while Jessica, the actress playing Jessica, was available. There were a lot of scheduling problems. So the only time we could shoot it was when school was in session.
Yeah, so basically we were trying to shoot these scenes while the kids were literally in between classes, screaming bloody murder because every time they see a glimpse of Rob they just go crazy.
It was chaos. It’s like, never again will I ever shoot during school. It was ridiculous, with this franchise, the idea of trying to trot Rob Pattinson down the hallways where like girls will come out of the bathroom, just by accident when class is in session.
I mean, we thought when they are in class we are fine, we can go up and down the halls; they’re all in class. But every now and then you would get someone who would walk out into the hallway, and go “AHHHH!!!”
Q: Do you think they were asking like, “Can I go to the bathroom, can I have a hall pass?”
Wyck: For a while, we didn’t tell them what the movie was. We were just like, we are going to be shooting a movie. Except by the time we started shooting everyone knew what it was, because they go through their hallway and they look up and see something that says “Forks High School” and they are like “Oh my gosh!” and videotaping it and putting it on online that we are shooting there. So by the time we started shooting, not only were there like hundreds of people outside just waiting for a glimpse, but every day was a nightmare trying to make every scene.
We shot the cafeteria, and literally on their lunch break, and we had to keep shooting because we didn’t have enough time. They are crammed up against the windows trying to look in at the scene, and it’s horrible for the actors who are all “Isn’t it kind of loud in the hallways to try to shoot our dialogue?”
Q: Since Kalama [the school in Oregon used on the first shoot]had such a distinctive look on the outside, did that pose any challenges?
Wyck: No, the only thing we shot was the parking lot. You know the parking lot in Kalama, you know where you really see the school there? What we did was we found a parking lot, in like, the woods, and it’s actually the right shape parking lot. We built the stairs and the railing, and all of those kind of distinct stairs, and then we put a huge green screen up where we put in the school.
You know, we had all the cars there, so you know most of it is just playing around with cars. You know like the scene in Twilight where the van’s there and they are all gathered, it kind of has that feel, but in the background you’ll see…we have people going up our set steps, so a lot of little tricks to move from Portland to Vancouver.
The thing is that you get meadows, and..
(Actual meadows! Well the weather’s been better.) Well, it’s interesting, there will definitely be more sunlight in this movie than in Twilight. There are less vampires!
Well actually we thought that in the breakup scene, you know when Edward is like “My family and I are leaving, and Carlisle is getting ten years older than he should be and people are starting to notice.” We were thinking we should just put in, “The Farmers Almanac says it’s going to be more sunny this year so we gotta go!” (Or Alice said so!) (Laughs)
Q: The CG budget has obviously grown with this film, why did Summit decide to do this? Was it due to the movie itself or due to the success of the first film?
Wyck: The movie had a profit, obviously so a little bit more money…(Laughing) No, but the existence of the werewolves in this film sort of demands a bigger CG budget.
Yeah, so you can’t really make the movie without getting that element of the movie perfect. So, part of the reason we are bringing in Chris is that he successfully made those realistic CG animated characters, so we wanted to make sure we had the right amount of money to do that.
Yeah, it’s really the demands of this particular movie, It’s not really that we have more money to play with it’s that the movie demands more money to get it right.
Q: Does it almost feel like you are making three different movies? You’ve got Cullens, you’ve got Werewolves, you’ve got Volturi.
Wyck: Yes, and next we’ll have newborns! So that’s the greatest thing, I mean you guys know, every book brings something new to the table. So you’re always getting something that’s like, “Oh my gosh, how is that going to play out?” I just can’t wait to shoot the birth scene in Breaking Dawn.
Q: Have you discussed that, storyboarded it?
Wyck: No, well, since it exists as a book and it’s a part of the series, all of our minds individually think “How will we do that?”
When Stephenie came in and visited on Twilight, when she was finishing Breaking Dawn and we were all sitting at pre-production of Twilight and we were all just kind of getting to know each other, and she was like “You guys are going to hate me. I don’t know how any sort of movie magic is going to pull off what I have in Breaking Dawn.”
Of course we are all, “What are you doing?!” She’s all, “I can’t tell you.” (So not even you knew?) Oh no no no, I read it right when you guys read it. Except I maybe got it quicker since I bought it on Kindle at exactly 12:00, I didn’t have to wait in line.
My wife is an OBGYN, so I know it can be done in a PG-13 way. I’ll bring her on as an expert. (Laughs) (Did you like it?) I loved it. I mean for me, it’s mature in a way that speaks, you know, to someone my age really. Gosh, I mean I have three kids, you totally understand the next level of Bella’s life is going to be the adult life.
What was so daring about Breaking Dawn, and so brilliant about it, she didn’t pander what she thought her audience was. She said, this is what’s right for Bella and Edward, and this is where their story needs to go. I really loved that about it.
Certainly there are things that are shocking that are like, I never thought it would go that way. That’s good! I mean, that’s what makes for good drama. So I love it. I don’t know how we are going to do it! (Laughs)