Fansite Friday: Chris Weitz on the Set of New Moon part 1

Chris Weitz talked with us for thirty minutes. After five we  knew New Moon was in good hands, after ten we knew he was a genius, and after fifteen well…you read and you decide. He’s definitely one of those “who would you want in a foxhole” kind of guys.

Chris Weitz Interview- part 1

New Moon Fansites Set Visit: His Golden Eyes,Twilighters Anonymous,Twilight Lexicon,Twilight Moms,Twilight Source/Imprint,Twilight Series Theories

Transcript by Kara of Twilight Moms, Matt of Twilight Source/Imprint, Laura of Twilight Lexicon

Chris: Where Bella meets Laurent in the meadow, it was a two day scene and in between the two days it snowed and so we arrived in the morning at 6:00 and it was snowing, about 4 inches of snow. So, we had to scramble to shift our schedule around. Do all kinds of stuff.

Q: How do you deal with lighting continuity when you are dealing with such drastic weather situations?

Chris: Well of course what we hope for in all cases is gray weather. We’re in this weird position of wanting bad weather. We want light rain or gray at all times. We don’t always get it, so when we don’t, we use gigantic scrims hanging from big condors to block off as much as we can. But then there’s this continual torture to Javier our DP (director of photography) because you can sort of shade off an area where actors are acting but in the background we bright—shafts of light coming through—and of course there’s vampire weather as well. Sometimes we can get away with a sunny day in Forks, but never on a day when Edward is around because we don’t want to give away the diamond stuff. So, it really, you know I’ll be so happy when we get to a stage in about a week and we can stop worrying about the weather.”

Q: So, you’re moving to an interior set?

Chris: We’ll be moving to the interiors in a week from today. So there‘s just only one more week to freak out about the weather a bit. We’ve been knocked around a bit. There’s like a Twilight weather curse, slightly. You end up not getting the weather you want on a given day. It will be sun on the day you want rain and then the one day you want sun…

Q:
So is all this [indicating the Bella’s house set] going to stay up though?

Chris: You know it’s funny I’ve been knocking it around in my head what the best thing to do would be. I would imagine what they are going to do is to disassemble it. Because I mean you know it looks great, but it’s not really up to code. I’m not sure that it would withstand a BC winter and everything. I think probably what they’ll do is take it apart and put it into storage and build it back up again while still I imagine maintaining a rent on this land would be my best guess.

Q: So we can see that people can actually go in the house?

Chris: Yeah well the interesting thing is in certain angles it is perfectly dressed. But if you were to look at other angles you could see that it is just an empty core. So that when Jacob jumps in the window, which he is going to do eventually, then we have enough to be inside the window to have Bella step back as he comes in, but you wouldn’t see the other way around into the window- then we flip to the interior- but hopefully when it all comes to the movie and editing it will all be seamless in the way it comes together. You’ll never notice that kind of stuff so its a smooth cut.

Q: Was it intimidating coming into a fandom with such intense fans?

Chris: Yeah- I mean on the one hand it is, but on the other hand I really feel like everyone wants the movie to be good and everyone has been very encouraging and supportive there haven’t been… things have felt very positive toward me- of course I have been avoiding the internet because I don’t want to get to caught up-

My responsibility is to the readership, and my responsibility is not to the internet-no matter what you guys are doing- I’m addressing the same people you are but I don’t want to get caught up in any controversy that’s going on online or whatever people have to say about me when I was selected- I did that on Golden Compass once- and there was a vote as to who they would rather have as director and “other” beat me- I didn’t want to be in that situation

Q: I think it was great when the press release went out about how committed you were to the film that all of that really died down right around then.

Chris: Well that’s good- I think that its great to have this kind of inbuilt audience of fans, and I feel that they are extraordinarily supportive. They really want things to be good, and the cast wants this to be good- kind of the same kind of commitment to getting the books right…and that’s how I feel.

Q: Which is so greatly appreciated.

Chris: That’s good. It’s great that there was a first movie that was so successful, but to me the book is the Bible for it. And so when I read the book, I read it at a gallop so that I had a similar experience to when people first reading it did. I didn’t want to chop it into pieces immediately. I wanted to just read it in one go- then I kind of went back in you always have to select what your moments are going to be- it’s a 600 page book- eventually you are going to disappoint people- but I think if you do it from the attitude that my loyalty has to be to the readership, and what they experienced more so than even to the fans of the first movie. Although, there has to be some consistency from the first movie to the second movie. It’s really about the readers.

Q: What did you do to make the tone darker? – Have you done anything specific to make it darker as a film?

Chris: Yeah, I think it’s just not to be afraid of the tonalities of the acting and in the tone of the piece. Not, because obviously with a big studio film and a lot of money at stake, you know one can be afraid that if you don’t have people smiling and laughing all the time that you’re gonna be in big trouble. But I think that part of the appeal of this is that it really digs into that melancholy that people experience when they are broken up with: when they lose somebody, when they yearn for somebody, and just not to be afraid of that.

And in terms of the palette of how the world is represented, just to get technical, but for example the blacks are very crunchy there will be very deep shadows, very deep blacks, and literally and metaphorically it makes the colors stand out more.

There will be a period during the movie when things are quite dark and somber, but then there will be kind of this explosion of color when you get to Italy. And there is this kind of ecstatic – and there’s this kind of happiness before and then it loses it all…. and it’s sort of try in every way even in terms of design in different sets and stuff to make sure that each bit, each detail, is a metaphor for where the character is in the book, and you follow Bella’s journey.

It’s also not taking the focus off of Bella’s POV. The book is narrated through Bella. We have to have this very fine balance between having too much and too little Edward. If you have too much Edward, it will be a terrible thing because you want the audience to experience that longing as well, and if you have too little Edward…I’ll be hunted down and killed. It’s just a fine balance that has to be hit basically.

Q: Have you talked to Stephenie Meyer- has she given you any tips?

Chris:
Oh yeah we speak all the time. We email back and forth all the time. She’s been to visit the set, and I went down to Arizona to hang out with her. Yeah I’m running stuff past her constantly so that the mythology of the series isn’t violated. I don’t want to pull any fast ones or make any mistakes in terms of things that I present which don’t make sense in her universe. You would have to ask her, I don’t want to make any claims, you’d have to ask her to the degree to which she is satisfied. At least she says to me that she feels the film is very beautiful, and that’s not a credit to me that’s more Javier Aguirresarobe the DP who does absolutely beautiful work. And the idea is to try to make as elegant and beautiful a rendering of the book as possible.

Q: Is that hard as a creative person to take your own vision of the film and match it up with her vision of the film- or her vision of the book?

Chris:
In a sense it’s easier because you aren’t working with a totally blank canvas you know I’ve got sort of these tools to work with and I inherited this wonderful cast, and that’s great, and I’m very happy working in the genre of literary adaptation, which is how I see this really. And I don’t really believe in the austere theory where the director creates everything, and I don’t think that’s accurate. You’ll see just from hanging around here, that there are 100 people working here, and each one of them has good ideas. And there’s a director of photography who understands light better than I do. There are cameramen who understand focus better than I do and all these things I’m sort of a glorified traffic cop….

Q: I was going to say conductor-

Chris:
Conductor is always the nice sounding…way…and I’m coordinating all of their efforts. So no it doesn’t bother me at all. I actually really enjoy it. I have a standard to stick to that’s already there. Whereas if I write something just on my own, I never really believe my own creations. They sound like made up characters to me. Whereas Bella, Edward and Jacob are already there and we just try to get those things right with the actors. So I don’t have a problem with that at all.

Q: How is the transition from your version to Catherine Hardwicke’s film? Sometimes when directors change there is a big change. You can tell from the style. What kind of style do you bring to this film?

Chris:
I think the biggest change would be that I am a bit of an old fogy. I’m old-fashioned and I think Catherine is very “fashion forward” and conscious of a pop sensibility. I am more tied to the old-fashioned romantic films. So that would be, if you were a film nerd, you would notice the palate of the film, the camera work. I am a lot less likely to use hand-held cameras than Catherine Hardwicke is. Things like that, they are more stylistic differences than my kind of “taking it and throwing it away.”
Obviously I owe her a lot, because she cast this great cast [so] I kind of inherited this cool “toolbox” and this extraordinary fan base.

Q: Was there anything from the first film that you felt you had to change?

Chris:
No, I don’t. I think the key things that worked with the first movie are the relationships and the feelings of the main characters are the [same] things will work about this. Everything else is just bells and whistles. I mean, there are a lot more special effects in this film so the fact that I had a lot of experience in that area kind of helps. But it shouldn’t feel so different. It shouldn’t suddenly as though you are in an action movie or a visual effects movie. It is wrong if it feels that way. It is only right if the visual effects convey the feeling that is in the books in the first place. The world of the book expands naturally, like with the Volturi. Obviously, they weren’t in the first movie at all but that has been an organic development.


Q:
Do you have a favorite scene that you are anxious to see?

Chris: I am excited about scenes with Taylor and Kristen. I am excited about the final showdown with Taylor, Kristen and Rob because I feel that the chemistry is just fantastic. Their relationships are just fantastic. They work the way they are supposed to. That you can understand exactly what they are supposed to. You can understand exactly why Bella would be tempted to, I guess, “settle” would be a better word for Jacob, or to take that option that there really is a love triangle. That is really getting established there. That feels really good. We shot a lot of that stuff already. We haven’t shot the Volturi stuff yet, but I think it will be pretty extraordinary. I have seen the set taking shape and it is just amazing.

Comments

  1. He should give more deets on new -moon & ii hope he’s doin eclipse

    • Um, they are filming Eclipse now, they picked the director for it, like almost when the were still shooting new moon. So David Slade is the Eclipse director. But Chris Weitz should totally do Breaking Dawn.

      • Totally agree! I think Chris would do an amazing job with Breaking Dawn.

        • I also think Chris would be wonderful to direct Breaking Dawn. The actors seem to really enjoy working with him. Breaking Dawn will be a complicated movie but has to be good, like beyond good, like the best, so yeah, I think Chris would definitely be the guy. Let’s hope Summit didn’t tap Ms. Howard’s father (Ron Howard) to direct Breaking Dawn. Who knows, Summit might want a BIG name director on that one & maybe they made a deal since they dumped Rachelle like yesterday’s garbage for his daughter. I know this is kinda coming from left field but it’s just a thought. Hmmmmm……..

      • i agree with all of you. chris would do a wonderful job with breaking dawn. he’s doing an awesome job with new moon, loving the trailers.

    • YES. THANK YOU. This is exactly the director the the twilight series needed from the get go. Twilight is the classic romance type story, vampires or not. Catherine is just such a weirdo. This is exactly what we as fans needed, just getting back to the romance. Plus New Moon just looks so much better, no more blue filter, no more shakey cam. So far I have no complaints from what I have seen. But of course the movie isn’t out yet. Though at least there is a clear difference between humans and vamps this time, rather than every one being pale.

      • I completely agree. The shaky-cam was extremely distracting. It’s the romance we need to focus on (but I would hate to see Twilight become the stereotypical romance/drama blockbuster – this is no ordinary romance, and each movie needs to reflect the individuality of this story).

        Though Catherine Hardwike isn’t my favorite director in the world, I’m glad she directed Twilight because she was the one to do the casting. I think we needed just a tad bit of her wackiness to bring in the amazing and dynamic crew that they have – from Robert Pattinson to Anna Kendrick.

  2. September 24th hasn’t happened.

    He is fantastic. I hope he gets Breaking Dawn. I feel that he truly feels this movie and this story.

  3. Maybe you should wait to see ‘New Moon’ before you decide how good a job he’s done with it. It seemed like Catherine was doing a great job with ‘Twilight’ until I actually saw the movie. It was poorly done. Don’t get me wrong, i love it, but only because i love the book. If i hadn’t read the book first, i would think it’s the cheesiest movie EVER!

    • I agree. I thought Twilight would have been much better by watching the trailers, but it was poorly done, and I wouldn’t have liked it at all if I hadn’t read the books. But I feel more confident about New Moon because he just said that he wouldn’t be doing that “new-aged stuff” like hand held cameras that Catherine did. That was my biggest problem with Twilight: It felt like a documentary.

      • this is coming from a person that had not even heard of the books until the movie came out. I liked the film, which in turn caused me to run out the following day and buy all the books. And read them all within the next three days. Sure, some of the angles were a little weird and it didn’t live up to the book.What film does? But it was truly a good film. Besides I like the slow progression of Edward becoming more of natural person than the cold mythical creature that he appeared to be. I just want the movie franchise to be great like the books. The golden compass wasn’t the best movie just to mention. don’t throw catherine under the bus. everyone has their strong suits.

  4. I agree with tids1981. When I first saw the movie it doesn’t impress me at all. Then I read the books, fall in love with the story and the movie started to make sense for me. I mean it’s obviously made with limited amount of money but it still helps to visualize the story. Which I wait from “New Moon” is definitely different level, as they already know how big is their impatient audience.

  5. I’m glad his loyalty is to the readers and not the first movie’s fan base. I am also glad that he recognizes the need for Stephenie’s input. I think this movie will be SOOOO much better than Twilight – and thank God for that!

  6. Amen, tids1981! I sometimes wonder what some fans base their opinions of the actors and directors upon. We’ve only seen a few short clips of New Moon – and while they look TOTALLY AWESOME so far, it might be a tad early to start pushing for Weitz to helm Breaking Dawn.

    The reaction to the Rachelle Leferve replacement was similar. I know she was super cool to fans at conventions, but until now, all we’ve seen her say on-screen is “What do you want” and “I’m the one with the wicked curve ball.” That’s not a lot of acting performance to base a petition-signing protest upon.

    Before Rachelle fans start freaking on me, understand – I do think she totally looked the part. To a T! And it might be odd to switch actors mid-series. I’m not knocking Rachelle.

    Only cautioning people to be patient and see how things come together before making recommendations. Giant fan groups like Twilight’s can have power. And you know the ole Spider Man mantra … with great power comes great responsiblity. ;)

    • U r so right… even in the Rachelle thing.

    • you do know that there was this time when movies were silent and there were no lines for the actors to “prove their value” and you could still distinguish between good and bad acting. that being said, i apologize, i don’t mean to insult you, i even agree with you to a point.

      as for CH’s direction, as someone who only read the books after seeing the movie (oh the heresy :)), i liked it as light entertainment but felt that sometimes i was supposed to know more of the story than i knew.
      But the casting was cool and I prefer some of CH’s views of how the characters dress and act (that was a major disagreement between me and my “imaginary” conversations with Stephenie Meyer while reading – satin high heels on a timid self conscious teenager? what! tight silk dress on a newborn? really?). and the blue filter worked for me, gave it a mystic feel.

      Chris Weitz’s also looks nice. this being my favorite book I’m excited to see his vision, (and more Edward time, i admit my crush on RP), but not worried because the books are what matter to me, the movies are just a plus.

  7. I’m somewhat glad that people aren’t getting ahead of themselves when it comes to New Moon like we did with Twilight. But there are some differences. Don’t get me wrong, Catherine was great, but it’s quite obvious that Chris is a more competent director. Catherine has a more sporadic, spur of the moment type of attitude, whereas Chris is very calm and thinks things through.
    As well as the clips we HAVE seen. With Twilight, you have to admit that even the clips weren’t that great. The dialogue was strange and the film/sFX quality was under par. However, New Moon feels more natural.
    Going on with picture/sFX quality, New Moon has utilized its bigger budget well. In Twilight, the scenes were foggy and oddly shot with hand held cameras, not to mention that the entire movie has a strange blue hue. In New Moon, the colors are sharper and more vibrant, the shooting looks professional and clean, and the sFX are actually quite good. Some people have had negative comments about the wolf. But if you see the trailer in HD, you can really see how natural it actually looks.
    I think that with a director like Chris Weitz, the awareness of the fanbase, and all the other positive factors, the film *should* be several times better than Twilight. But we will all wait and see if that is the case indeed. ;)

    • I fully agre jessica. Cathy is a great director in her own right but yes, chris was better suited for the story it self. At this or for a while now I have totally confidence that he has brought the series to where it should been from the beginning. If the good Lord wills it Chris will finish off the film. I mean I have no doubt that New Moon will be everything and more. Unlike twilight with Cathy….I ended up sitting scratching my head looking at my friend like wtf?

  8. First of all Twilight had the blue tint to it because it had that feel of mystery and dreamlike state of falling in love and living among vampires. It has that mystical type feel. Second, the dialouge is still going to be kinda stillted and strange and wooden cause Of that rosenburg chick writing the screenplay. So dnt expect the talking to be too different unfortunatly. Le sigh

    • I agree. A director can only do so much with the material he/she has to work with, in this case the script. Unfortunately we have the same writer. bleh. Fortunately Weitz has obviously got his head in the right place, namely, the books, rather than the previous film for his base to work from. And personally I really liked the blue hue of the first film. Gave it a dreamy, other-worldly quality I enjoyed. I think New Moon will see a different palette. More earthy, for Jacob’s environment.

    • I agree. I think that blue tint does give it the mysterious type feeling. The sharper and warmer hues correspond with Jacob being more like the sun and healthier, less addictive to Bella.

  9. I absolutely love Chris. Of course we can’t say yet whether New Moon is going to be great, but I just have faith in him. I love everything he said about the feel of the movie, that one shoudn’t be afraid of making Bella’s depression and the dark aspects of the book a major theme in the film, because that’s what the book is about. New Moon is my favourite book just because I could relate to Bella’s emotions so well and I want the same experience with the movie. I don’t care about the details so much but I need to feel the loss and the longing and then the overwhelming happiness of the reunion.

  10. I understand what people are saying about it being too soon to be calling for Chris to return, but the movies are being made back to back, so the director might be cast by the time we see New Moon. (It’s possible. The director always seems like the first one on board.)

    It would be nice to have the same director for two of the movies. I am worried that because all three directors have been so vastly different, when you sit down to watch all the movies together, they are not going to flow at all. So I guess I was just thinking that given the choice of Catherine, Chris or David I would rather have Chris return for Breaking Dawn.

  11. Chris Weitz seems to be such a nice person. I also want him to direct Breaking Dawn. He’s always so calm and thoughtful. I really think New Moon will be great. I hope the movie will bring tears into my eyes like the book. Thanks for the interview, Lexicon!

  12. I love Chris! Obviously I haven’t seen New Moon yet, but I just have this feeling it’s going to be amazing. I’m really hoping all the fans, including myself, will be surprised and pleased. I’m rooting for him!

    I saw him at the Comic Con panel (along with the two clips, which were so much better in person than on YouTube). Afterward, my sister and I just looked at each other and said, “I LOVE Chris!” It’s hard to explain, but he’s just such a calm, cool guy, and he really gets the series. Plus, I love his filming style; Rob said it feels like a “dance” with the camera, and he’s right. You really notice it in full clips, rather than the trailers; the movie looks so fluid and beautiful.

    So, no, I haven’t seen New Moon yet. But if I had to make an early guess? Chris Weitz has done an awesome job. ;)

  13. From the interviews, Chris’ point of view sounds so awesome! Can’t wait to see what he’s done with New Moon!

    For me, the blue tint of Twilight is one of the coolest aspects of the movie. Just the fact that Twilight is called “Twilight” and it really looks like that moody time of day/color all through the movie, I thought that was ingenious.
    I think it’s a great contrast, between what Twilight looked like and what New Moon looks like so far in the trailers… Each story is really different and it’s really cool if each has it’s own “look,” in my opinion.

  14. I have liked Chris’s attitude in every interview I’ve read/heard. And he was the first to say that he wanted the fans to see New Moon before they started calling for him to do Breaking Dawn – he wanted to make sure they were happy with the product before pushing for him to continue with the series. And right there, I knew he was the right person for the job. The cast and crew liked him, and supposedly Summit did too, so I’m really hoping he gets to do Breaking Dawn. He also seemed confident in a previous interview that he could pull off the character of Renesmee. So, GO CHRIS!

    • Oh yeah … I forgot about Renesmee. Well that just cements it for me. Chris is more than capable of handling the CGI.

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