“How do you approach something like the proposal scene, which could so easily be the cheesiest thing ever? Do you try to underplay it?
I really tried to keep the actors in the moment and not be premeditated about things. We had a policy of not changing lines unless specific issues came up, in which case we’d discuss it well in advance. I also had a one-on-one actor rehearsal policy, where I would meet every actor individually to discuss scenes and talk about their characters so that by the time we got to the full rehearsal with all the actors, we had just the content of the scene [to concentrate on]. We’d answered all the questions, so we could deal with the meat and potatoes of getting the scene right. I think the actors appreciated that time we spent with them. When it came down to it, one of my goals was to make things realistic and believable without leaning on the fantastical elements at all, but trying actually to be antithetical to that. I wanted the fantastic elements to be as believable as possible.
I know Kristen Stewart knocks herself out to be believable in her performances.
One of the things she said to me early on was, “If I don’t believe in it, I can’t do it. I’m a terrible liar, and if I don’t believe the words I say, then I can’t go through with saying them.” Sometimes it was tricky, massaging some of the line readings, but it was always in the process of getting it down. Kristen can be an exceptionally naturalistic actress in that way, but that’s really what I was looking for. We knew that this was the most mature of the books in how the story was told. It’s the conclusion of the love triangle, and a lot of the the themes in the first two books conclude in this book. We knew it would be a more adult and cinematic film, and we wanted to treat the drama as drama. There’s comedy, but the comedy is intentional.”